When we first developed WHIP!, we had a plug-in for Netscape Navigator. People used DWF files like JPEG files. Embedding a DWF in an HTML page worked like a charm. Everyone was happy.
Then along came a new browser - Microsoft Internet Explorer. To interface with it, we had to extend our DWF architecture to include a Microsoft ActiveX Control in addition to our Netscape Navigator Plug-in. We did this. Embedding a DWF file in an HTML page worked like a charm with either browser: Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Everyone was happy.
Though we had only advertised that our Microsoft ActiveX Control would allow a DWF file to be embedded in an HTML page for Internet Explorer, because we had an ActiveX Control, people assumed it could be used for other purposes. They began trying to use it with Visual Basic, scripting, and embedding into other applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. At Autodesk we had not designed nor built our WHIP! ActiveX Control with this is mind. We certainly had not tested using the control in these scenarios. As a result, things were not great. Everyone was not happy.
Such is the case with Autodesk DWG TrueView. Autodesk designs, tests, and markets Autodesk DWG TrueView as a stand-alone viewer for DWG files. Because it has an ActiveX Control component to it, people assume it can be used for other purposes. They are trying to use it with Visual Basic, scripting, and embedding into HTML and other applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. At Autodesk we have not designed nor built our DWG ActiveX Control with this is mind. We certainly had not tested using the control in these scenarios. As a result, things are reasonable but not great. Some people are not happy - particularly the Volo View users.
In a previous blog article, I documented why Volo View was obitted in favor of Autodesk DWG TrueView. In addition, I also documented why sharing DWF files is preferable to sharing DWG files. With these factors in mind, Autodesk is recommending DWF and the free Autodesk DWF Viewer for sharing design information in situations where an ActiveX Control is beneficial. Autodesk is even extending the sharing concept to other platforms, where an ActiveX Control will not operate, with projects like the Autodesk Project Freewheel Viewer. So the solution is to embrace DWF. Applications like Autodesk Vault remove the hassle of maintaining design data into two places - one in DWG, and again in DWF. So adopt DWF. Don't worry. Be happy.
The WHIP! story had a happy ending in that eventually WHIP! R4 had a fully fleshed out API. Over the course of upcoming releases, Autodesk will be adding to the API of the Autodesk DWF Viewer and Autodesk Design Review. It is uncertain if a similar strategy will be applied to Autodesk DWG TrueView.