Autodesk Forge “Viewer”  (formerly known as View and Data API)

Our team at ProtoTech has been working on Autodesk technologies (SDKs and customisation) over a decade now. We have worked on various web based CAD platforms as well.
Autodesk Forge Viewer is a WebGL-based, JavaScript library for 3D and 2D model rendering. 3D and 2D model data may come from a wide array of applications, such as AutoCAD, Fusion 360, Revit, and many more.

Since Viewer uses cloud platform, the user can upload the model in the Autodesk cloud storage and view it in a modern browser. It offers significant advantage from business as well as development perspective as it does not limit itself to Autodesk products and you can load files from ProE, Catia, UG etc.

By introducing Forge Platform Autodesk has brought different applications including Data Management, Design Automation, Web based Viewer, etc.

Project developed using Autodesk Forge “Viewer” toolkit :-

ProtoTech developed a collaborative platform for engineers using Autodesk Forge Viewer technology for a UK based company. The client and our team started with the idea of empowering distributed design teams to work together like they’re in the same building.

We started our discussion with different web technologies and evaluated them based on our experience. View and Data API was a new technology. At first we were unsure about the capabilities, but as we dove deeper, we found out that it is a very effective API. No other toolkit supports such wide range of formats. As said earlier, it does not limit itself to Autodesk products. You can load files from Solidworks, ProE, Catia, UG, etc. This has a significant advantage from both business and development perspective. Business wise, it saves you license cost for data translation utility, development wise, it takes away the overhead of implementing the data translation on our servers.

Forge Viewer renders models with high fidelity and it is very stable. This energized the team to push the boundaries even further. Playing around with source code of viewer we could build complex functionalities such as “Synchronized viewing”. Imagine all the benefits of sharing your screen at very low network bandwidth. Imagine multiple users interacting with the model all at the same time from the same angle. This gives lot of flexibility to designers while collaborating around the complex design.

Autodesk Forge Viewer is quick to start and far more capable. The decision for us was very easy. It has support for so many file formats, it takes care of file storage, it is easy to customize, the viewer is very stable.

We faced difficulty in Loading models one after the other in the same page and it took a little long to analyse the problem as the problem was intermittent. But once we dig deeper in the code of view and data API, we could figure out the fix and it could load models easily.

We faced problems in loading assembly models where files have xrefs. But after interacting with support team, we could load even a complex models.

Autodesk Forge Viewer has a huge potential and our team is very excited to work with it! Perhaps integration with Design Automation API (formerly known as AutoCad IO) will be our first step in that direction.