5 Reasons I’m a Fan of Browser-based Design Apps
Is your desktop or phone overloaded with apps? I use many services for social media, like Facebook and Twitter, and business services like Amazon, for example, but if you look at my cellphone, it is not cluttered with apps. I’m using what’s called progressive web apps (PWAs), which enables you to access multiple services from just one app, which I access from a browser.
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform embraces that same concept, so you have access to all your software applications and data in one, secure place, and always have one source of truth. Plus, since it’s browser-based, you can access your data and applications from anywhere, anytime and on any device with an internet connection.
Coming from a millennial who’s living in a TikTok world, it might not be surprising that I’m a huge fan of browser-based design solutions. But I’ve also used many commercial desktop solutions, such as CATIA and SOLIDWORKS, since studying mechanical engineering and using them in the field. I shifted my focus from designing physical things to working with design solutions after an internship I had at Dassault Systèmes where I got to compare multiple solutions and learned various tips and tricks that piqued my interest in building the solutions. As a SOLIDWORKS product portfolio manager, my goal is to drive the next generation of engineers and introduce them to leading technology and show them how they can get the most out of the solutions they are working with.
Most recently, I’ve got to test drive the SOLIDWORKS browser-based design solutions, which run on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, and I must say I am impressed. These include the 3D Creator, 3D SheetMetal Creator, and 3D Sculptor roles, along with others in the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Offer that are made up of many apps and have purpose-built functionality, in addition to collaboration and data management capabilities.
For those on the fence about using the “cloud,” I thought it would be great to share my first impressions of the browser-based roles, which I cover below.
Here’s five reasons I’m a fan and why you should take them for a spin yourself:
- No install and zero maintenance
To access the browser-based roles all you need is to set up your log-in. There’s no expensive hardware to buy or install. You don’t have to worry about graphics cards for high-end processing and memory for storage because the 3DEXPERIENCE platform handles the processing and data storage on the cloud.
I use the platform on a default browser on my laptop, so it’s almost like an out-of-box design solution for me. All you need to do is fire up the 3DEXPERIENCE platform from your browser, and you have access to all your roles in one convenient space on the platform.
License management is also easy for IT administration as they can easily assign or revoke access to a role with the click of a button.
- Automatic updates
With each release you get access to the latest functionality immediately. Your colleagues and collaborators who are using the same roles will also have the same release so there are no data translation issues. In addition, there are no time-consuming data migration processes so you can start taking advantage of the latest enhancements right away.
- Easy learning curve
Personally, I thought the browser-based roles were easy to navigate through and understand. Especially if you’re familiar with SOLIDWORKS as the features and concepts for workflows are similar. Although the graphical user interface (GUI) is different than SOLIDWORKS, the icons and dialogue boxes in the browser-based roles are straightforward. If you hover over an icon, you’ll see the name of the tool so that is helpful.
Some of the roles, such as 3D Creator also include the Welcome App, which offers quick video tutorials to help you get started, in addition to giving you access to the EDU Space learning platform, which features more in-depth tutorials. Plus, you can also access online communities, such as the SOLIDWORKS User Forum from the Welcome app to ask a quick question or share a design.
- Seamless transition between multi-domain workflows
The browser-based design roles work seamlessly together, providing a unified workflow. You can easily use and take advantage of each role’s unique features. For example, if you are using 3D Creator for parametric modeling, you could conveniently switch to using 3D Sculptor right from 3D Creator using the Switch App functionality to use 3D Sculptor’s freeform Sub-D modeling features on your model.
When you use the Switch App functionality, your model will stay intact exactly where it’s at and you’ll just have a new toolbar of features. You don’t lose any context of your models when you work on it in the various roles either. For example, if you want to share your 3D Creator model with someone who is using 3D SheetMetal Creator, you don’t have to export it. If it’s saved on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and you give them access rights or other permissions, such as view, edit, etc., they can easily work with the model. All the browser-based design roles have the same geometry kernel so there are no data translation errors.
You can also take your 3D Creator model into 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS. Or if someone on your team needs to work on it and is more comfortable with SOLIDWORKS Desktop, then they could take the 3D Creator model into 3DEXPEREINCE SOLIDWORKS to further add design features to it and complete the design process and vice versa.
- Flexibility to work on the fly
Easily access the browser-based roles from any browser, on any device, such as a tablet or cell phone, that has internet connectivity. You may think the need for internet is a limitation, but with the availability of high-speed internet, I don’t think it’s an issue. I mean, it’s literally available in the clouds these days, as we have internet access on airplanes. Plus, with the emergence of “5G” (fifth generation mobile networks), internet connectivity is only going to advance further and reach more places.
Even if you lose internet access, you won’t lose any work since the platform automatically saves everything you do and it can recover almost everything as soon as you get back online.
I also want to point out that in some of our cloud-connected roles, such as 3DEXPERIENCE SOLIDWORKS, there is an offline mode option so you can work remotely in places without internet connectivity. However, you do have to turn it on in advance. When you know you won’t have connectivity or will have limited connectivity, it can come in handy.
Are you ready to connect to the cloud?
I haven’t even touched on the data management and collaboration features included with the browser-based and cloud-connected roles. That is a bonus and another reason to “get connected” to the platform.
Also, I’ve got some tips and tricks I’d like to share with you to further make my case about the benefits of the cloud, so stay tuned here on the blog to learn about my favorite features coming soon!
In the meantime, contact your local reseller for a demo and check out the resources below.
To learn more about the browser-based roles visit: https://www.solidworks.com/how-to-buy/solidworks-cloud-offer.
For those of you who want to take their SOLIDWORKS data to the next level and connect your data to the cloud check out: https://www.solidworks.com/lp/3dexperience-solidworks-offersfor options.
For more resources, check out these blogs:
Less Clicks and More Tips and Tricks in SOLIDWORKS Browser-based Roles
Expand Your Toolset and Reduce Time to Market – Discover Design in the Cloud
Smooth Like That— New Switch App
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