Richard K.

Goodbye Solidworks, Hello OnShape

Discussion created by Richard K. on Jul 31, 2016
Latest reply on Sep 20, 2017 by Paul Salvador

I've been getting increasingly frustrated with bugs in Solidworks that go for months without any developer love.  Here's one example that's causing me a lot of pain, and it's had an SPR open since the 2015 versions.  I'm not the only one who feels the software has been getting buggier with each release.


Meanwhile Dassault has been hard at work on arguably-misguided initiatives like painting new lipstick on the UI.  Sure, it looks great, but I don't think it's something users actually asked for (and enough of them hated it that they had to go back and re-implement the old look and feel).


Don't get me wrong.  Solidworks has empowered me to accomplish some pretty amazing things, and I really love its general premise.  I just feel it could (in fact, SHOULD) be so much more polished.  I'm not as long-time a user as other folks here, but I come from a background in software development.  Having used it over a few major versions, I get the impression it was once a state-of-the-art gem, but has been bogged down over the years with patched-on enhancements (sometimes resulting in multiple approaches to achieve the same task, when a little more design thought could have yielded a less awkward and more consistent result) and cases of developers fixing something over here while unwittingly breaking something else over there (I have no doubt they're well-intentioned and working hard, but perhaps just haven't been on the team long enough to fully understand the impact of their code changes, or are stuck trying to sort out a "spaghetti mess" of code).  Too much QA is left to users, who are probably getting tired of the phrase "talk to your VAR, open an SPR".


I feel like the team needs to devote a full (year-long) development cycle SOLELY on bug fixing, refactoring for stability and optimizing performance.


Since I'm only a casual user, I'm willing to accept that some of my frustration might be due to not knowing the "right" way to use the software (although sometimes my intuition has been spot on).  I suspect folks who use it day in and day out have simply learned to work around the annoyances and focus on getting their job done.  I've also tried some of the other major competitors and always found myself coming back to Solidworks.  But over the course of my exposure to it, I gradually developed a "gut feeling" that the original folks who conceived the software and made it amazing had moved on to other things, leaving a vacuum of vision in their absence.


That gut feeling was vindicated when I recently discovered OnShape, and learned a lot of the original Solidworks "A-Team" had in fact jumped ship to it.  I haven't used it much yet, but my first impressions: It's Solidworks, but simpler and without the bugs!


I'll be giving it a whirl for my next project, and we'll see how it goes.  I'm wondering, has anyone else tried it out lately and have any feedback to share in comparison to Solidworks?


I'm sorry if I come across as harsh on the current Solidworks team.  I really hope this acts as a wake up call and they find a way to make it live up to its full potential again.  I do feel it has SO much potential, and I massively prefer traditional software over web-based SaaS stuff.