This morning at Day 2 of Visio Conference 2008, we announced that the next version of Visio will add support for AutoCAD 2007 DWG and DXF file formats. As mentioned in previous blog posts, this was a major request from Visio customers and partners.
General Manager Richard Wolf explained in his keynote address how Visio prioritizes feature investments that improve the entire Visio platform over changes that enhance just a single vertical market. CAD integration is valuable to a broad set of customers spanning the Engineering, Facilities Management and Information Technology markets. Richard then demonstrated an example of inserting an AutoCAD 2007 floorplan of a data center, overlaying Visio server shapes, adding Data Graphics to show cabinet temperatures and then publishing the diagram to Visio Services for display in a web dashboard. Thus, while CAD integration does not fall under the three investment areas described on Day 1, it was high on the team's priority list for Visio "vNext" given the applicability to data visualization scenarios across several diagram types.
Day 2 also featured demonstrations of new capabilities for developers and shape designers:
Visio "vNext" adds support for RibbonX, the API for the Office Fluent user interface. Existing Visio solutions with custom UI will work unmodified in the Ribbon, but solutions can use RibbonX for a much richer integration into the Ribbon.
Visio "vNext" allows solution developers to work with Visio diagrams at a logical level instead of at the physical level. Visio exposes relationships between shapes that can be discovered and traversed to simplify the understanding of the diagram structure. Three common relationships are defined: connectivity, containment and callouts.
Visio Services API
The feedback received over the last two days at the Visio Conference has been tremendous. We're happy to see people so enthusiastic about our Visio "vNext" plans. There is still much work to be done, and we hope that the Visio community will continue providing feedback as we disclose more over time.