Originally written January 2012.
After spending a couple of months with DraftSight - thought I'd offer my review to the community. Let me know if anyone out there has additional feedback or would like more detailed information.
5 Stars: Awesome free program.
Fast, Lightweight both in terms of footprint and system resources. Clean interface, easy to use and understand- especially for those with past CAD experience. Full 2D feature set. Customizable interface and ability to run simple script macros (such as one-button print). Dassault continues to improve the product with each new release.
Minor inconveniences persist uncorrected- for example, setting the Library Files Location setting in Tools > Options has no impact on the default directory location when browsing to insert block files, and faulty fast-right-click behavior when using keyboard command shortcuts.
Summary-given that this is a free program and allows virtually any one to read and write all versions of .dwg files, a great program. This has become the viewing / markup utility of choice for our company.
2-1/2 Stars: Not-Quite-Ready-for-Prime-Time
Ability to run LISP, VBA, VB.net, C++, C# add-in applications. Price per seat $250
Required to buy 5 seats minimum = $1250
For those with history and existing API functions in AutoCAD and/or Bricscad, beware that there is a great deal of missing functionality and a number of bugs that are yet to be corrected. For example, in LISP, none of the “VL-“ functions are available, and there are no workarounds at all for many of them (the VL-BB functions for example). A known bug with the extmin and extmax (DS’s getxyurfit and getxyllfit) system variables remains uncorrected thru the last release V1R1.4 - so if any of your existing programs rely on these they will fail.
Support calls for main program issues are handled fairly quickly – even if it’s simply to say that they hope to correct the issue in the next release. API support tends to be more sluggish, with responses that can be vague or even off the mark at times. But, if you have the tenacity to continue to press your question or issue, eventually you will have an answer- even if it’s not the one you were hoping for.
Our company is dropping its pursuit of DS as an AutoCAD alternative for now. Although it shows good promise, there are simply too many missing pieces to make it a viable alternative. We will re-evaluate this software in 2 years after it’s had more time to mature. Bricscad remains our cost-effective AutoCAD replacement of choice.
Update 6/7/12: New release of DS, V1R2 just out. Disappointing - they still have not corrected the glitch with extmax and extmin, makes you wonder how serious they are about continued development and becoming an AutoCAD replacement at the pro level.
Message was edited by: Bill Tybring 6/7/12
Update 8/24/12: New release of DS, V1R2.1 Interesting- they have now corrected the errors with extmax and extmin, but they confused the names... chuckle ... xtmin which should indicate the lower left of the drawing extents actually indicates the upper right - and vice-versa. This means the variables can now be used but if you have existing code using either it will have to be reversed. Also of note - somewhere during the last update or two I've lost the ability to run scripts from a custom toolbar button- a shame, that was a real plus for the free version. Progress continues... I think... albeit slowly.
Message was edited by: Bill Tybring
Update 10/12/12: Correction DraftSight (free version) does have the ability to run scripts- not sure why it failed during my first couple of attempts, but trying it again a couple of weeks later succeeded. Very useful- I gave the function for a one-button print option to several of our users- Nice! V1R3 has just been released- haven't tried it out yet but looks like they are continuing to add valuable functionality.
Message was edited by: Bill Tybring
Update 12/1/14: Just installed DS 2015 x64 to check it out, wanted to test out Graeberts PDF Import plug in- works great, nice functionality. Previously if I wanted to bring in geom from a PDF I had to go thru Adobe Illustrator and save it out as a .dwg. This is much simpler! See PDF Import for DraftSight.
BTW, Draftsight still has the extim and extmax variables reversed, and it's now 2 years since the problem was reported. Makes ya wonder.... at least the price for the pro version is improving.