The all new HighDesign 2015 is here! I am excited to write about this release, because after more than three years of hard work, we can say we are very satisfied with the final result.
First, what catches the eye is the new User Interface. We at Ilexsoft have always been UI geeks, and even though the old interface in HighDesign 1.8 was good, we thought there was room for improvement. So we added a couple of touches here and there. Well, maybe more than just a couple. In HighDesign 2015 you now find support for multiple documents and multiple displays, the Input bar, the Side bar with the new Layers pane, the dark and light themes, and retina support. All the changes have been designed to maximise the use of space on the current display and keep the user’s focus on the project rather than the toolbars.
The radial menu is also designed to avoid distractions and I think it will become a central item of the workflow in HighDesign.
The new tools are another big feature: Polylines, Ordinate dimensions, splines, tangent arcs, and smart annotations are just a few. The Bézier Path tool has also been redesigned and now features a smoother construction process and control points that can be mirrored, asymmetric or disconnected. Add to that the ability to fill any closed shape with colour fills and gradients and we have one of the most powerful tool sets in a CAD app.
If I were to summarise HighDesign 2015 in a few words, I’d use “Crossing Boundaries”: boundaries between technical drafting and illustration, and between traditional CAD and BIM.
BIM stands for Building Information Modeling, and while HighDesign is a CAD app, many of its objects are not simple geometric entities, but representations of physical items as they are in a BIM software: hatches, patterns and symbols can be linked to the current drawing scale, so that their size and parameters adjust to the different kind of drawings. Hatches and fills are no longer abstract, geometric patterns, but floors, walls, roofs. In the Pro edition, walls now have external/internal faces, and doors and windows automatically adjust their level of detail to the drawing scale. Inserting an opening in a wall is now bound to the actual, available space in the host wall and its geometric constraints.
However, as we like to say at Ilexsoft, when you’re satisfied with the results, it is time to raise the bar and set new goals. The biggest change is the internal structure that has been redesigned in a way that will make it easier to add new features and will allow us a much quicker release process. We plan to release one ore two major updates every year, with as many minor updates as needed.
Finally, a word on licencing. The licence now provides one year of free updates, with the option upon expiration to either keep using the same version without limitation, but with no access to new releases, or renew the licence for another year at the upgrade price, which is 50% the full price. So, for example, renewing HighDesign Pro would cost $249.00, which is less than 70 cents a day.
I hope you enjoy HighDesign 2015! If you haven’t already done so, download the trial and play with the new features.