I am currently in Boulder, CO attending my first ever Basecamp conference. We just finished the first day of the conference, and I wanted to give a run down on what happened at today’s events, and share some of the announcements made at today’s session.
Trimble remains committed to the Sketchup community
Ever since the acquisition of Sketchup by Trimble, there has been a ton of speculation over what their intentions were in taking over the software. Today, we got to hear from Sketchup Product Management Director John Bacus and Trimble Vice President Bryn Fosburgh about the acquisition and their plans for Sketchup.
One thing is very clear. Trimble remains committed to the Sketchup community and plans to continue offering a free version of Sketchup. However, there were some hints that in the future there may be greater differences in the functionality of the free version when compared to the Pro version. But don’t expect any major changes any time soon.
Trimble plans on continuing to develop Sketchup as a leading 3D modeling program, with more attention given to the architectural community. But at the same time, they want to expand upon their existing support platform enabling third party developers to create specialized plugins and extensions. They also plan on using Sketchup as a platform for their existing specialized 3D modeling software packages, as well as allowing Trimble to expand into additional markets with other specialized 3D modeling software.
Highlights and announcements
- Sketchup will now be transitioning to an annual update format. So instead of seeing “Sketchup 9.0″, the next version of Sketchup will be “Sketchup 2013″.
- Trimble is currently working on a completely new 3D warehouse from the ground up. Release date was not announced.
- New testing environment for developers called TestUp (included in the developer toolkit linked above.) This is based on the internal testing environment used to develop Sketchup and work on bugs and fixes. Now available for developers.
- New STL import/export feature for Sketchup. This announcement was enthusiastically received by Bre Pettis, founder of MakerBot and today’s keynote speaker.
There were a number of presentations today from companies who’ve created third party applications for Sketchup. We had a lightning round of 5 minute presentations from different rendering companies, including:
We were also introduced to a few extensions for Sketchup:
Overall, it was a great day. I met a ton of fantastic “Sketchuppers”, and learned a lot about the different rendering software out there. We wrapped up with a keynote presentation by Bre Pettis, founder of MakerBot, and featured on this month’s edition of Wired magazine. He showed us some fantastic examples of 3D printing and talked about their newest 3D printer, the Replicator 2. His vision is to put a 3D printer in every house.
I look forward to tomorrows presentations and meeting more amazing Sketchup fanatics.