Project Butterfly Gets an Update

The online work-in-progress seeks to make AutoCAD technology available in a cloud-based application.

Autodesk’s Project Butterfly is flapping its wings. Project Butterfly is Autodesk’s work on extending AutoCAD the cloud. The company is also working on Project Dragonfly, a 2D and 2.5D project for interior designers, and there is the much higher profile Project Twitch work that puts Inventor, Revit, and Maya in the Cloud for customers. Project Twitch is so named because it takes advantage of OnLive’s streaming game technology.  The idea behind Project Twitch is to put the hard work of processing up in the Cloud and to send only what has changed down to the client. So it’s conceivable that you can run any software on just about any client — Inventor on a netbook, Maya on an iPad.

Project Butterfly does not use the same technology and it is not trying to accomplish the same thing as Project Twitch. Rather, the idea is to access AutoCAD and your content in the cloud where you can collaborate and update drawings, but it’s not a heavy duty CAD tool. It works more like Google Docs. Autodesk announced a new update to Project Butterfly that improves stability, security, and its compatibility with AutoCAD drawings. Autodesk has also made improvements to the interface.

Update for Butterfly Interface
The interface for Project Butterfly as been updated in an effort to make it more familiar to AutoCAD users (Source: Autodesk)

In addition, Autodesk has added support for more custom objects and specialized object types from AutoCAD verticals including AutoCAD Architecture, Mechanical, etc. Autodesk has improved its support for Asian languages and has added more flexibility for fonts so that if a required font isn’t found it can display a default font with support for Unicode.

Addressing a major hesitation for customers investigating the usefulness of the cloud, Autodesk has standardized on SSL encryption. The company notes that the use of SSL will ensure security even when users are using a public wireless network.

Project Butterfly is the result of an Autodesk’s acquisition of PlanPlatform, an Israeli company that developed a web based DWG viewing and editing tool called VisualTao. Autodesk acquired the company in 2009 for a reported $20-30 million.

If you need to catch up. Martyn Day has written a good overview of VisualTao and Autodesk’s work in the Cloud at AEC Magazine.