We are currently using Workgroup PDM at our company. Our workflow includes the use of the Workgroup API, which integrates our inventory system and manufacturing activities with design data from our vault.
Some of the functionality we have created using Workgroup API includes:
Locate drawing and solid file in vault by part number
Identify and catalog file revisions
Copy latest revision solid files to local folders for CAM programming
Copy PDF prints from vault to local folders for manufacturing jobs
Edit file properties (i.e. description) externally from 3rd-party application
After discussing with our VAR, it appears that in order to add PDM Pro licenses and viewers for SW 2018 and not lose API functionality (as well as PDF drawing copies, potentially), the bill will be over $15K. Oh, and our annual Solidworks sub fee will go up by 50%. We don't see this as an attractive option. Unless we pay $15K+ and go through a tricky migration process, we are facing a serious feature regression. Feels like we're being quietly squeezed to pay "protection" money in order to carry on our use of these software tools as we have in the past.
Dealing with a migration we can handle. I understand that moving to the SQL platform is ultimately positive. Honestly, that's what we use already for our other applications and databases. But, if we are essentially forced upwards into EPDM in order to do what we've done in the past with Workgroup, we get to choose between playing by DS's arbitrary new rules, or taking our ball and going home. All that happens for us if we upgrade to SW2018 is a loss of functionality. Great job DS, it looks like you may have taken away our incentive to stay on subscription!
Q: Who do you think is unhappy when you take away PDM API from our Pro and Premium SW licenses?
A: A rather specific group of power users, admins, and SolidWorks advocates that tend to be close to the decision making process related to software spending.
We still want to reasonably explore what options may be left. As a last attempt to see if we could make our system work with PDM Standard, I have some questions:
1. Is it possible to install SolidWorks PDM Standard on a standard SQL server? We already have this in place. We are not interested in running a separate installation of SQL Lite.
2. How difficult is it to drill into the SQL tables manually and skip the API altogether? We want to be able to perform the functions I detailed above.
3. Is there any way to create PDF copies of drawing revisions as they are checked into the vault? We need this ability so we can pull drawings for use in our own software.