Shout out to Robert McNeel & Associates

Let’s start the rebirth of this blog on a positive note. I’d like to express my gratitude to Robert McNeel & Associates for what must surely be the most outstanding example of long-term customer service in the CAD industry.

These days, McNeel is best known for the 3D modelling software Rhino. I have heard good things about this product, but have never used it. However, I am a long-term user of another McNeel product, DOSLib. This is an extensive set of functions that adds greatly to the functionality of AutoLISP. It all works very well and has saved me many hours of work that I would have spent reproducing that functionality. Of course, many LISP programmers could write functions to calculate a cube root, or read a text file, or display a date in whatever format you like, or copy files, or generate a GUID, or toggle the Caps Lock status, or display an HTML file, or return a list of OLE objects in the drawing, or display a multi-select file dialog, or return a list of Windows printers, or a hundred other handy things. The point is, they don’t have to because all that has been done for them and handed over for nothing.

The documentation is straightforward and accurate, and is provided in the form of a good old-fashioned local CHM file. This Help system may be unfashionable, but it remains infinitely superior to the still-awful system that paying AutoCAD customers have had to put up with for the last few years.

For those investigating alternatives to AutoCAD for whatever reason, the availability of DOSLib for Bricscad may help make that particular alternative a more attractive proposition.

Despite McNeel and Autodesk breaking ties many years ago, McNeel’s Dale Fugier has continued to provide, maintain and improve DOSLib. What’s more, DOSLib has remained totally free of charge and ad-free throughout its history, which dates back to 1992! Sometimes, there really is such a thing as a free lunch.

So here’s a big raised glass to Dale and Robert McNeel. Thank you for the many years of outstanding customer service in exchange for nothing but good feelings. Long may you prosper!

Disclaimer: I have no pecuniary relationship with McNeel; no money has ever changed hands in either direction. This post is totally unsolicited; I hope it comes as a pleasant surprise to McNeel.

4 Comments

  1. I miss RMA, they had great customer service, with excellent training, both lacking.

  2. OpenDCL is also available for BricsCAD. For LISP users there is actually a lot of extras available see the Lisp developers support package for details https://www.bricsys.com/applications/a/?lisp-developer-support-package-(ldsp)-a720-al1176

    Of note is the development of FastCom, VLE- functions, and ACET express tool functions (with documentation).

    Because BricsCAD is Windows/Linux/Mac you will also see that a number of DosLib functions have been included to provide cross platform support.

    • I have been very impressed with the efforts Bricsys have gone to for LISP developers to provide a high level of compatibility. It’s not all 100% perfectly compatible, but it’s an excellent effort. Bricsys appears to actually value its developer base as an asset, even those who use LISP. Those days are long gone at Autodesk, sadly.

      The cross-platform DCL and COM support means BricsCAD for Mac beats Autodesk’s AutoCAD for Mac hands down as a proper CAD solution rather than a “Yes, we support that platform” half-baked attempt.

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