PDF, CAD rendering and HTML5

I’m spending this weekend in Israel these days. My visit is mostly personal because of Bar Mitzvah of my older son, Jonathan. At the same time, I had a chance to have a lunch and interesting conversation with David Levin, founder of LEDAS, the person behind PLM portalisicad.ru and the author of two popular blogs – DL (in Russian) and Not just Russian CAD/PLM. Because of few travel, I had during the last few weeks, the number of unread RSS messages in my reader grown a bit. I was screening them during the last evening. One of them in RWW blog caught my attention – Mozilla is woking on a code allowing native rendering of PDF files within HTML5.

Mozilla is working on technology that will allow PDF documents to be rendered within the browser, rather than utilizing a browser plug-in or an external app to open them. On his blog, Mozilla researcher Andreas Gal has described the project to build a PDF reader in HTML5 and JavaScript.

It made me think about few things: PDF rendering in PLM projects, 3D PDF, and CAD rendering in HTML5.

PDF and 3D PDF files rendering

PDF used by lots engineering and manufacturing companies as a de-facto standard for neutral format representation. Many applications developed in this space used PDF rendering for multiple purposes. How future broader usage ofHTML5 can change existing projects, plug-ins and other applications? This is an interesting question to ask, in my view. The topic of 3D PDF required some validation too. After Adobe lost their interest in PDF and moved this business to TechSoft, there still many companies thinking about 3D PDF rendering. What happens with them and how future HTML5 revolution can change them?

CAD Files Rendering in HTML5

This topic seems to even more interesting that PDF for a long run. How we will be able to render CAD drawings and models in the future in HTML file compliant browsers? Would it be possible to develop a better rendering and lightweight technology for rendering? What will be the dynamic and the opportunity to create HTML5 based rendering and viewing services?. Will changing interest to Flash (caused by the absence of Flash support in Apple tables) drive some additional interesting to HTML5 based rendering? What future technologies will hold in this space?

What is my conclusion? I think, some shakeup is going to happen within a browser based applications. New devices and standards going to drive some changes. Higher diversification of platforms and devices (especially tablet devices) creates additional opportunities here. I’d be interested to know more about new technologies and product developing coming this space.

Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

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3 Responses to PDF, CAD rendering and HTML5

  1. Charlie Stirk says:

    For HTML5 and CAD rendering, at http://www.pythonocc.org STEP CAD files input to OpenCascade then render in HTML5 in Chrome. The OpenCascade Community Edition (OCE) on Github, Google Groups, and wikidot is also making rapid progress, and the free and open source HeeksCAD can use it.

  2. Brian says:

    Check out the new Web Service from Autodesk “Nitrous” – There is a 2D / 3D viewer that doesn’t use flash or a plug in. I don’t know the exact technology behind it but it’s pretty cool!

  3. Brian, thanks for the comment and link. It seems to me similar to n!Fuze from SolidWorks… Is it correct comparison? Best, Oleg

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