Yesterday Autodesk announced the availability of AutoCAD 2017, code-named “Nautilus”. We use consecutive letters in the alphabet for AutoCAD code names, and as 2016 was “Maestro” it’s natural that 2017 would begin with an N.
For those of you who’re wondering, the code name is indeed a reference to the graphics used for the AutoCAD R12 product. Here’s my R12 AutoLISP reference, where you can see the inspiration…
To find out what’s new in AutoCAD 2017 from a product perspective, head on over to Heidi Hewett’s post on the AutoCAD blog or visit autodesk.com. You can also watch Mike Mizuno’s 3-minute video overview:
So what’s new for developers?
The big ticket changes in the 2017 release are really on the product side of things – I suspect the 2D and 3D graphics performance improvements are likely to benefit the largest subset of our customers and developers, for instance – so there isn’t a great deal to say regarding new APIs in this release. That said, there are changes that are important to talk about, whether they’ll require migration effort or help improve developer productivity.
AutoCAD 2017 was built with Visual Studio 2015, which will mean a compiler change for ObjectARX developers and an increment of the major build number to V21.0 for people deploying via the Autoloader.
There’s also been a change to the icon format needed to support transparency: where previously we allowed BMPs – taking RGB 192,192,192 as “transparent” – icons requiring transparency should now be converted to PNG and use actual transparency. These icons will work back to AutoCAD 2015, but this is the first release where BMPs with “fake” transparency are no longer supported. The ADN team has posted a code snippet that can be used to convert such images, in case.
Application security has also been increased in the 2017 release. Whereas previously it was possible to place add-ins beneath %AppData% and %ProgramData% and have them trusted automatically, this is no longer the case: you will need to place them beneath %ProgramFiles% (which is still trusted), add the location of your module to TRUSTEDPATHS, or digitally sign your modules to avoid the unsigned/untrusted warning.
One significant, productivity-enhancing change for developers is a documentation feature Lee Ambrosius has been working on in recent months. Thanks to Lee’s efforts we now have XML documentation files for the 2017 .NET API. When you install the AutoCAD .NET 2017 modules via NuGet – once the 21.0.0 version is live on NuGet.org – this will “just work”. For now you can extract the XML files into the same location as the *Mgd.dlls referenced in your .NET project and you’ll immediately start to see the benefits in Visual Studio.
To find out what else has been delivered in the AutoCAD 2017 from a documentation perspective, be sure to check out the exhaustive list over on Lee’s blog. He’s certainly been busy!
I’m heading away for an extended Easter break in a couple of days – more on that in tomorrow’s post – so I’ll follow up on any questions you might have regarding the 2017 release when I get back.