March 1992

Graphisoft readies TopCAD version for NeXT

by Dan Lavin

Budapest, Hungary: It took a Mac company coming from as far away as Eastern Europe to do it, but the NeXT finally has a firm promise for shrinkwrapped CAD (computer-aided design) software.

Graphisoft has announced the shipment of Visa, a DXF-to-NeXT file-format converter, as a first step towards the port of its TopCAD product by early next year.

Since the NeXT first shipped, observers have pegged it as the ideal platform for CAD applications. Unfortunately, until now no significant third-party software developer has taken up the challenge. This has precluded NeXT's entry into one of the most lucrative segments of the workstation market.

Graphisoft, a Hungarian company with 80 employees, has two products on the Mac platform: ArchiCAD is a high-end package for architects that has had good success in the United States, and TopCAD is a full-feature 2-D CAD package.

Although Graphisoft's packages on the Mac sell far more than the average NeXT product, its customers fit right in with NeXT reliance on large direct sales. Graphisoft brings with it important blue-chip accounts such as Air France and Renault of France and Alfa Romeo of Italy, as well as Lockheed and Disney in the United States.

"We consider TopCAD to be a natural for the NeXT market," said Chris MacAskill, manager of developer relations at NeXT. "Many of our customers have been asking for this kind of solution." He described the product as a "souped-up ClarisCAD."

Visa is a utility to import DXF-format files into native Adobe Illustrator, TIFF, or PostScript file formats. DXF is the format produced by the market-leading Autocad package on the Mac and PC. Visa costs $95. Graphisoft can be reached at 800/344-3468.

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