Where have all the developers gone?

Where have all the developers gone?

I noticed in Ralph Grabowski’s latest upFront.eZine that Autodesk has announced that 100 developers have 200 add-ons working with its 2009 series of software. I hope I’m not supposed to be impressed by those numbers. I remember when Autodesk boasted about having over 3500 third-party developers. What happened to the other 3400-odd? This is a serious question; if anybody knows where they all went, and why, I’d love to know.

Of those two hundred 2009-ready applications, how many of them take advantage of 2009’s Big New Feature, the Ribbon? My guess would be close to zero. Why? Because the AutoCAD 2009 CUI architecture is all wrong. Adding custom stuff to the Ribbon is simply a lot more trouble than it’s worth. Even Autodesk’s own vertical teams have shunned it.


  1. Well, we fall in the category of the other 3400 developers. At SYCODE, we are still struggling to release SolidWorks 2008 ready add-ins, and SolidWorks 2009 is supposed to just around the corner. We are almost done and will get to supporting AutoCAD 2009 thereafter.

    Another thing, plug-ins for AutoCAD 2007 and 2008 should be compatible with AutoCAD 2009. Note that I used the word “should”.

    This annual subscription model, although very profitable for CAD vendors, only adds to a lot of headache for everyone, including the CAD vendors and specially third party developers like us. One year is just too less time to fix bugs in previous versions and develop new features to justify the subscription fee.

    My guess is that the testing of these new features gets the least time which only adds to the bugs in the new version and the problem then compounds year after year.

  2. Right on there. No time to test thoroughly enough either for Autodesk or for the beta testers. Often it’s the latest beta version that is tested but then it’s too late to make any larger changes before RTM.

    I guess many of the developers don’t have had the time to fill out the details needed to have them listed on Autodesk’s site not to make sure it works with 2009 even though it probably does.

  3. Jimmy, regarding “to make sure it works with 2009 even though it probably does”.
    I do not think I’m breaking my NDA in telling that I got a call last week from the Autodesk office responsible for my listings on their web site. They offered to update my listings if I don’t have the time to do so, so your observation can be correct.
    In my case the reply however was that all of the applications listed are build using VisualLISP and therefore compatible with 2009 unless Autodesk breaks something – which I do not intend to test unless Autodesk or a client pays me for this.

  4. terry priest


    may be old news, but related, i think autodesk is making it harder and harder to install autocad groups, when users can change anything, but only thru the autocad interface, and they dont have to know any programming, in fact, they dont even know what file they are changing, or where its located, sheesh, how are you supposed to create a low maintenance group of 50 or so users, how many ways can people get themselves into trouble and go their own way. how do developers deal with that? i think autodesk is creating a market for an easier to manage workgroup version. it would probably solve the problem of locating user customizable files, like your main menu, in hidden variable named locations.

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