NanoCAD double star: free 3.7 and paid 4.0

Summer 2012 ... The nanoCAD project developed by our company has undergone significant changes: a paid version has emerged from the free nanoCAD. We can say that we have passed the first stage of Star (T) Up - nanoCAD is growing and developing. Next, a journey through the vast expanses of CAD-space will be carried out by two (equally important for us) versions of nanoCAD.

About the reasons for the separation, the differences and our plans for the future - in the article below.

Mini introduction for those not in the know

We launched the nanoCAD project back in 2008, which was already distant for us. It was then that we announced the development of a domestic computer-aided design (CAD) system - a platform for specialized solutions. It was announced that the base platform will be free, and specialized applications based on it will be paid. And this scheme worked for almost four years (you can read more about our idea in our previous posts on Habr: “ Subscription for software - to be or not to be? ” And “ Fill nanoCAD subscriptions with buns - or is it possible to earn money for free? ”). Now this idea is undergoing changes ...

4 years of development - what have we achieved?

In our opinion, they have achieved a lot: for example, the licensed user base of only the free nanoCAD base platform has reached more than 155 thousand jobs. At the beginning of the year, we released the English version of nanoCAD, which is also successfully and free of charge distributed in the English part of the Internet. We have created several unique applications based on nanoCAD: for example, nanoCAD OPS (program for designing fire and security alarms) and nanoCAD Construction site (solution for designing sites for construction). Previously existing solutions based on nanoCAD received a powerful incentive for development: for example, nanoCAD Electro has significantly expanded its functionality over the past three years, turning into a unique tool for Russia to design indoor electric lighting for industrial and civil buildings. And now the solution is used not only in electrics - the experience of using nanoCAD Electro for lightning protection calculation is interesting. Attendance at is growing steadily and now amounts to 2-2.5 thousand unique visitors per day ...

Fig. The nanoCAD 4 working window is a classic interface of the automated drawing system.

We initially tried to make nanoCAD a universal system, without focusing on any target group. As a result, analyzing the user base now, we see that the software product is used in various design areas - engineering, architecture, construction, engineering, land management ... We have a large number of users who use nanoCAD and privately at home - to reconstruct summer residences , garages, floor plans, car repairs, creating patterns of clothes, etc.

In general, we are very pleased with the speed of development and the results achieved: nanoCAD turns into a serious competitive solution and a useful tool for the designer, although four years ago no one knew about us!

But after the popularity of the solution, complication also comes - massiveness leads to increased complexity of both the software product and the development of the solution. Different user groups express different wishes, you have to prioritize and build a tight development schedule. And now nanoCAD is developing in three areas:
  • Improving and optimizing existing functionality;
  • Building new functionality that allows nanoCAD to reach new user groups;
  • Development of an open (accessible to everyone) API that allows you to develop your own applications and transfer applications from alternative CAD platforms.

All three areas are undoubtedly equivalent and require active support and attention from the developers. So, the specialized site discusses issues related to the development of the API: consultations for novice developers, provides assistance in porting developments to the nanoCAD platform, and develops development priorities for the platform API functions necessary for developing new solutions. If you have an application that you want to bring to Russian-speaking users all over the world in the near future, then welcome to our club - we will help you take the first steps in the world of development for nanoCAD.

To collect wishes and to understand the needs of users, the official forum of Nanosoft CJSC has been organized - . This is a unique place where developers and users meet at one virtual discussion table. And we see how, day after day, the forum turns into a very friendly community, which discusses not only issues related to the functionality of nanoCAD, but also exchanges near-project knowledge - to the point that users began to share their best practices and experiences. A lot of corrections and convenience of working with nanoCAD were born precisely from messages on the forum, and we invite you to this community - this is the most convenient way to consult on nanoCAD and solutions based on it.

And, of course, we actively interact with designers offline - only in 2012, employees of Nanosoft CJSC traveled to 11 cities of Russia and Ukraine as part of the Tour de CAD program. The seminars were attended by over 800 people who showed great interest in our solutions - questions and answers, a live demonstration of programs and, of course, feedback, which gave us an additional incentive to develop the new version.

Why did we come up with the idea of ​​paid nanoCAD?

The answer is simple: most users still draw. This shows both personal communication with users (both ordinary designers and their managers), and the number of licenses issued for our software products. Now nanoCAD platform accounts for more than 60% of all issued / sold licenses!

Why is this happening - there are many answers: and a habit that few want to change; and unwillingness to learn; and the severity of specialized solutions that do not forgive even the slightest deviation from technology; and the need for the most accurate study of the project in specialized solutions even at the very early stages ... Be that as it may, the fact remains: many designers simply draw.

In addition, the design world is wide enough - narrow specialization often leads to the fact that even existing specialized solutions do not completely cover the needs of designers, forcing them to “fall into” the usual drawing. And here is a huge field for activity - now in the CAD market there is clearly a need for new solutions tailored to design specialties. For example, in the near future we plan to release another 3-4 applications. But this is a drop in the bucket ... That's why we open the API for nanoCAD - developers, ay! where are you? We invite you to collaborate! ..

And the third reason is the development of the platform. Initially, we created a system with minimal tools for automating drawing. We created the basic scriber, which we distributed for free. Which could be expanded with additional functionality (automating a routine) and selling a product that was already sharpened by a designer.

But most designers want a universal Swiss knife - with which you can make the first, second, and dessert. Requests for the implementation of functions very far from simple drawing began to appear - the conductor of drawings, the base of blocks, the parameterization of drawings, the creation of dynamic blocks, etc. Many of these functions can be developed by yourself, but many are better to buy from third-party developers, and these are direct costs: for example, printing in PDF format - high-quality plug-ins require royalties to the developer. It is clear that developing such a functionality by yourself is an honorable, but somewhat costly affair (primarily in time).

All this led us to the idea of ​​a dual software product: paid and free versions of nanoCAD.

Paid nanoCAD and free - how to split?

Of course, the free and paid nanoCAD do not have clear boundaries - we will adhere to the following principle: if the function is massive, useful and necessary for basic drawing, then it will appear in the free version. For example, dynamic input, sheet management, support for new versions of DWG - these are all basic functions necessary for any user of the design system. The court also includes error correction and implementation of optimizing functions (for example, a more convenient block editor).

But the functions that automate the drawing, designed for professional use of CAD - we will include in the paid version of nanoCAD. For example, functions for working with raster images - vectorization, binding to raster objects, elimination of "garbage", distortions and more. This is clearly a toolbox that increases the speed and quality of the designer. This functionality can be included in paid versions.

The criteria "does the function relate to mass use or professional?" мы будем определять самостоятельно и через общение на форуме – не зря же мы собираем сообщество пользователей на .

Now we have divided the free and paid versions both by version (nanoCAD 4.0 - paid; nanoCAD 3.7 - free), and by functionality (see NanoCAD version comparison table ). On the site, software products are divorced by name: nanoCAD - these are paid versions of the product; nanoCAD free - free. And for the target audience: it is clear that nanoCAD free is designed for the mass user who does not have high requirements for the drawing system, and nanoCAD is for the professional user who needs automation of drawing, but specialized solutions for one reason or another are not suitable.

Plans for the future

We continue our course on creating an affordable computer-aided design system for domestic designers. This means that we will develop both a free version of nanoCAD and a paid one. And, of course, specialized solutions will develop - during the fall we plan to update all existing applications (will be based on the paid version of nanoCAD 4.0) and release new ones. Follow the news and stay with us :-)