I was working on a group project in Engineering 2 years ago using SW2018 when my license expired near the end of the semester. Upon renewing my license, I updated SolidWorks, thinking: "It'll be backwards compatible... only janky companies that either don't care about their customers or don't know how to make robust software leave out backwards compatibility. As a professional company, D'Assault would certainly provide backwards compatibility for its software."
I couldn't have been more wrong about SW. I opened my group project (with a couple dozen files) and SolidWorks gave me some prompt about the files being in a previous format, which I dismissed, thinking "I'm not making any edits right now, so I won't need to save any changes." Then it proceeded to CONVERT THE ENTIRE PROJECT into SW2019 format. Now, this would have been fine except for four things:
1) I was the only member of my team with SW2019
2) SW2018 could not open the SW2019 files
3) I was working from Google FileStream, so I was modifying not only the original files, but the backups as well
4) There was no warning of backwards compatibility issues
D'Assault, when will you get with the program and realize your customers want, nay, NEED backwards compatibility.
At the very least, you could provide a very clear and brief warning when opening older project files, like: "WARNING: Proceeding will make your files INCOMPATIBLE with SW2018 or earlier!" and give users a chance to backup their project files beforehand! You could even make an AUTOMATIC BACKUP COPY of their project files before converting them - anything to prevent them from losing all of their hard work and making it impossible to collaborate.
I'm VERY distressed to see that this problem goes back to more than 11 years ago (based on forum posts) with absolutely no changes being made in your software.
One thing is for sure: this is absolute BS, and I will learn and recommend AutoDesk products to employers until your software is at least playing in the same ballpark as AutoDesk in the following areas:
1) They don't charge users wishing to learn the software (except, obviously, for certain premium functionality)
2) They don't update project files WITHOUT PERMISSION FROM THE USER
3) They are fully backwards compatible (yes, you can even SAVE projects in an older format)
4) They don't have the quirky bugs that persist for years at a time in SW. If you're charging hundreds or even thousands of dollars a seat for your software - you should have at least a *little* respect for what your customers want - EVEN IF you are the "budget" option!
I will use SolidWorks while I'm in school because it's required of me, but I will NEVER willingly purchase one of your products until you act like a business and start caring about your customers!