Revamping STEP Converter Part 2

How we improved our STEP API. Step two.

Roman Lygin
Roman Lygin
2 min read

Previous part:

Revamping the STEP converter. Part 1

Getting Returns on Investments

During these 20 last months (and still counting) we managed to upgrade the STEP component that now offers the following benefits in performance, quality and support:

  • leading performance, thanks both to leveraging our patented methods which enable massive scalable parallelism on multi-core systems and implementing lightning-fast file parsing we received up to 10x speed up’s (with up to 3x regularly observed speed ups);
  • more compliant mapping of assembly and part structure, including multi-body parts;
  • compliant support of facetted_brep_representations and mapping to/from polygonal representations supported in other formats (JT, OBJ, VRML, STL, etc)
  • broader support of AP’s (Application Protocols) – AP203e2, AP214e3 and AP242, including PMI (partially still work in progress at the time of this writing).
  • support of user-defined properties;
  • various quality improvements to resolve limitations and issues of legacy implementation;
  • gradual import and conversion (comparing to previous blocking behavior) enabling much more responsive application and better user experience;
  • support of writing files assemblies with external references (both shattered and per-part modes);
  • more efficient memory management and reduced peak memory footprint while keeping working objects during the parsing and conversion phases;
  • reduced number of redistributable libraries (convenient for CAD Exchanger SDK customers);
  • faster responsiveness of technical support (addressing issues and enhancement requests).

STEP model
STEP model

Since initial releases in 2016 we received several endorsing users’ feedback reporting 10x+ speed up gains on large assemblies and various quality improvements. It was exciting to see external users recognizing these improvements, not just internal engineers who worked heads down on this.

We have been temporarily maintaining both implementations (the previous and the new one) calling the V1 and V2 respectively. V2 is now on by default both in SDK, CLI and in GUI:

Next steps

We are continuing full rewrite of the STEP component and will address the remaining part which is the new formatter. That should be rolled out in 2018.

V1 is planned to be dropped in the upcoming release in mid-year 2018, so hopefully this post will survive to give newcomers a sense of what it took to reach a new exciting implementation level which is now available.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned and make sure to check the CHANGES log to see other exciting features in CAD Exchanger.

Roman Lygin
Roman Lygin
Founder & CEO
Roman is a CAD industry veteran since 1997. After working at Open CASCADE and Intel companies, he founded CADEX in 2014. CAD Exchanger now empowers millions of end-user seats and helps professionals in 110+ countries to communicate in the multi-CAD world. Although Roman's time is now mainly spent on business and operations, he is still actively involved into product development and customer support.

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