The Open Design Alliance (ODA), formerly known as OpenDWG, represents a non-profit membership-based association of software companies, software developers and users that do provide the exchange of open industry-standard formats such as CAD data now as well as in the future. In addition to developing certain standards for so-called CAS data formats, the Open Design Alliance also concentrates on the development of software libraries of high and extraordinary quality. These software libraries do allow ODA members to develop important applications that are capable of both writing and reading the DWGdirect and DGNdirect CAD file formats. Furthermore it has to be stressed that the group of ODA members includes numerous competitors of Autodesk and famous names such as Bentley, PTC, Intergraph, and SolidWorks.

As already mentioned ODA members, whose workplace should be provided with a computer, plissee as well as an ergonomic chair, use two different ODA software libraries which enable them to support their efforts of developing full-functional CAD solutions. The ODA software libraries are the following ones:

  • DWGdirect™: DWGdirect is able to read and write DWG files. It is based on the so-called OpenDWG specification which was published by the Open Design Alliance. Strictly speaking the OpenDWG specification is based on the DWG format which is also used by many other CAD applications such as for example Autodesk’s AutoCAD. Furthermore the DWGdirect software libraries are compatible with all existing versions of DWG.
  • DGNdirect™: DGNdirect is capable of both reading and writing DGN files. It is based in the OpenDGN initiative developed by Bentley Systems which is known as a leading supplier of CAD software. Consequently DGNdirect provides compatibility with Bentley MicroStation V8.

Concluding it has to be said that the Open Design Alliance makes use of membership fees in order to fund the development of the ODA software libraries ‘DWGdirect’ and ‘DGNdirect’. Consequently ODA members have the possibility to direct their own efforts regarding the development of software solutions. The ODA software libraries do get provided free of charge to a variety of educational institutes, universities, and interested students. Hence institutes and people should be encouraged to show more interest in engineering software as well as to advance research in Computer Aided Design (CAD).