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All-in-one CAx Interview: CAD Pockets, Mobile CAD at Your Hand

What exactly is ZWSOFT’s all-in-one CAx? What does it mean to every one of you? There won’t be an answer until you break it down and delve deeper into the product lines that cover 2D (mobile) CAD, 3D CAD/CAM and CAE. Unveiling the logics and little-known stories behind them, this series of interviews will let you know why and how they can satisfy your needs.

To begin with, we talked with the leaders of the CAD Pockets team, Daniel Huang and Janet Du. Let’s hear them out!

To complement the video above, the following article will give you a more detailed account of CAD Pockets.

The Heroes behind CAD Pockets

Hi, Daniel and Janet. What a pleasure to have you here! Please tell us something about yourselves.

Click to view their answers!
D: Hi, I am Daniel. I’ve been the product manager of CAD Pockets since 2012. My job involves collecting feedback from the market, grasping user needs and compiling PRDs (product requirement documents).

J: Hello, I am Janet. I started testing ZWCAD in 2007. And from 2012 on, I’ve been taking charge of the quality management and R&D of CAD Pockets. My job is not so abstract as Daniel’s. I mainly distribute and retrieve development tasks, while controlling the quality risks and time to market.

The teams led by you two have been working very closely. Would you say a few words about each other’s team?

Click to view their answers!
D: Well, they never threaten me, if that counts as a merit. All jokes aside, I’d say that it’s because they’re willing to listen to what the market and my team have to say. And they devote themselves to satisfying user needs.

When it comes to Janet herself, she used to be a tester. Actually, she seldom codes. But now, she’s gradually involved in making PRDs and product plans. In this regard, she is a developer who knows the product well. As for myself, I sometimes write codes. And that makes me a product manager who knows how R&D works. That’s why we can collaborate with and understand each other so well. We speak each other’s language. That’s a very important premise of good teamwork.

The course of the R&D management of CAD Pockets has seen our collaboration for 6 or 7 years. Our sole and shared value is making a useful mobile CAD application for our fellow engineers, architects and designers to view and edit drawings in the field. Based on this value, we have developed profound trust. Naturally, we’ve become comrade-in-arms in work and close friends in life. We often chat about some hot topics and parenting as well.

J: Daniel has already conveyed what I want to say. The boss is always right. In fact, product management is the bellwether of R&D. So, Daniel must give precise instructions. In my opinion, Daniel speaks and works with a logical mind. Hence, we can get his orders right away. Plus, he’s never arbitrary. He’d explain the meanings behind the tasks to us after every assignment, ensuring a common understanding.

Plus, I think like men. So, I don’t have much trouble communicating with our programmers who are mostly male. It could be an advantage. But it’ll soon turn into a disadvantage in the face of tough questions. I remember in particular when developing CAD Pockets V4.0, we were always arguing. Luckily, my teammates never hold grudges. They say that gentlemen keep harmony in diversity. I guess that’s the consensus of our team.

Janet and her teammates

Could you share with us something interesting or memorable that happened during these 6 or 7 years of cooperation?

Click to view their answers!
J: Allow me to tell you a bit about that time when we were developing a new function called Annotating Tools. At first, it was designed to be always appearing in the drawing area. Users could not hide it. When Daniel brought this idea up, I vetoed it because I believed that it would cover some parts of the drawings and confuse our users. After we released this function, we did get complaints about it. So, we modified it to an optionally closing one. Users can expand or close it as they like. The iteration of this function proves that the function itself could bring convenience for our users and that our close cooperation can deliver better user experiences.

About CAD Pockets

Why did you name this mobile CAD app CAD Pockets?

Click to view their answers!
D: Actually, it was first called ZWCAD Touch. At that time, mobile phones with touchscreens just started to gain popularity. WeChat® and Alipay® have not yet become so popular. A lot of mobile apps had the word, touch to their names so as to help people better understand them. That’s why we chose to name our app ZWCAD Touch.

As we kept upgrading and updating our product and became more familiar with concepts like mobile Internet and apps, we found that the connotation of touch outdated. Therefore, our whole team gathered together to brainstorm a new name that could last long and be widely applied. A big bunch of curious names came to our minds but were all rejected.

Until one day, one of our technical support engineers said, “Look, our intention is to make a tool for people to view CAD drawings anytime and anywhere, right? Just like reaching for anything you want in Doraemon’s pocket!” So, the concept of CAD in the Pocket came into being. And we decided to call it CAD Pockets.

Janet and Daniel

Could you describe CAD Pockets in 3 words?

Click to view their answers!
D: I see CAD Pockets as a tool that solves problems. Helping certain people address issues under certain conditions is its core value and position. By certain people, I mean those who are often working outdoors and need to view drawings anytime, anywhere. As for certain conditions, I’m referring to the circumstances outside the office, such as surveyors in the field, bridge engineers beside a bridge, and construction supervisors at the construction site.

In the past, they had to carry the printed drawings as they moved around, which was inconvenient. Now that smart devices are widely used, they would naturally search for solutions to this inconvenience. It would be much more effective and eco-friendlier. The collaboration module is now available in CAD Pockets V4.0. It means that we aim to help not only individuals boost their efficiency, but also team and corporate users design and discuss drawings more efficiently. With that said, I’d describe CAD Pockets as fast, powerful and collaborative.

J: I’d like to add 3 keywords from the perspective of R&D. They are viewing, annotating and editing. CAD Pockets allows users to examine drawings by zooming and panning, which is the basic function of a mobile CAD app. Apart from that, users can browse through different layers with Layer Walk. They can also observe solids dynamically in a 3D view. Comparatively speaking, CAD Pockets supports more CAD file formats, such as DXF, DWF and the newly added PDF.

When it comes to annotating, users can generate a series of annotation objects. Examples would be revision clouds, sketches, Smart Voice, and the efficient multi-image annotation. Moreover, we’ve invested heavily in the editing functions. In addition to creating general CAD entities, inserting blocks, etc., users can also edit the text attributes of attribute blocks.

Could you tell us more about the aforementioned CAD Pockets V4.0?

Click to view their answers!
D: We’ve positioned CAD Pockets as a tool for individual designs for a long time. It’s been downloaded tens of millions of times and serving millions of registered users. As CAD Pockets keeps gaining popularity, it draws the attention of more and more businesses. That’s when we realized that, although it can satisfy the needs of individuals, it can still be bettered to meet those of companies. On that account, we launched a product named CAD Chat in 2017. It helped companies and teams manage drawings, projects and members, as well as enabled communication and collaboration on designs online.

Later on, we integrated CAD Chat the web app and CAD Pockets the mobile one. That is to say, you can now use the functions of CAD Chat on the web to communicate and collaborate, while editing and modifying your drawings in CAD Pockets on your mobile devices. After this integration, the concept of CAD Pockets has evolved from a tool for individual design to a virtual office on the Cloud.

A virtual office on the Cloud, nice concept! I wonder if the cloud storage of CAD Pockets could meet the user needs?

Click to view their answers!
J: I believe it could. Including our CAD Pockets Cloud, we provide a total of 13 kinds of cloud storage. For users worldwide, there are Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, etc. Such free cloud storage should satisfy individual users. Besides, CAD Pockets supports WebDAV, which allows corporate users to create their own servers and control the size of storage.

D: Janet has given a clear explanation. Users can choose from the mainstream cloud storage. Also, to make teamwork easier, we offer you CAD Pockets Cloud. In the collaboration version of CAD Pockets, a free 1TB of cloud storage is available for a team of 100 members. I suppose that’s more than enough for most teams. Even if they require more storage, they can always buy low-cost additions.

CAD Pockets Interview Behind the Scenes

What about the safety of storing this large amount of data in the cloud?

Click to view their answers!
J: First and foremost, not disclosing any user information is required by not only laws, but also professional ethics. Second, every file stored in CAD Pockets Cloud is encrypted. The server we adopt is the secure and reliable Alibaba® Cloud Object Storage Service. Lastly, we back up the data regularly to prevent accidents.

D: The safety of cloud storage on CAD Pockets is guaranteed by the technical precautions Janet mentioned, and verified by millions of users from assorted industries worldwide. We’ve even customized private cloud servers for some of the customers who work closely with us. And the safety of cloud storage becomes much less of a concern for them.

Daniel has mentioned that CAD Pockets users are from assorted industries. Can all their needs be satisfied?

Click to view their answers!
D: In fact, every product is aimed at certain niche markets. We can’t and daren’t say that we’ve covered all the markets and fields. Nevertheless, the viewing and editing functions of CAD Pockets have been widely used. If your job is concerned with DWG files, CAD Pockets could be at your disposal.

As for the collaboration module, it is mainly intended for AEC (architectural, engineering and construction) practitioners, such as constructors, surveyors and civil engineers. They often need to communicate long distance, cooperate with diverse professions, co-design, and go through the essential inspections. That’s when CAD Pockets comes into play. Therefore, we will not only keep strengthening CAD Pockets, but also provide customized services for regular customers. For example, we tailor-made a whole mobile CAD solution for a Korean corporate customer, EXCAD to streamline their road and bridge monitoring workflow.

J: As Daniel just said, the brand-new CAD Pockets is meant for a common workflow. We’ve sampled numerous companies to get this basic team model. In a team, there can be various projects in which project members can manage technical files and drawings that are exclusive to them. They can also annotate and discuss the same drawing as well as assign tasks to one another. They will be notified of all the statuses of the projects.

The Korean EXCAD project is a classic case. When their team members are surveying in the field, they can use CAD Pockets to locate the frames, make marks on the drawings, insert legends, fill in forms, attach photos of the scene and finally, export forms. Even better, they can perform this entire series of steps in one interface. Efficiency is hence boosted and the tedious follow-up data sorting avoided.

The Future of CAD Pockets

What role is the lightweight CAD Pockets playing in ZWSOFT’s all-in-one CAx blueprint?

Click to view their answers!
J: All-in-one CAx is all about the unified and related links in the design, production, manufacturing or building process. It would be best if the software used in these links are offered by one provider for that will guarantee a high degree of compatibility and interactivity.

As the mobile and online extension of ZWCAD, CAD Pockets shares its technologies, which ensures that the drawings produced via them are 100% compatible. Via CAD Pockets, users are able to access their drawings stored in the cloud and connect with their team members on their mobiles as well. One account can be used on multiple ends with the same data, workflow and functions.

To put it more plainly, the role CAD Pockets plays is to obtain the drawing data on PC and extend the capabilities of ZWCAD from PCs to mobile and web apps, from an office table to every corner in the world.

CAD Pockets Interview Behind the Scenes

Is there an ultimate ideal of CAD Pockets?

Click to view their answers!
D: Our original intention is to make a convenient tool for users to view and edit their drawings anytime and anywhere. We want to make it better, faster, stronger. Our mission is to form a complete all-in-one product chain that helps businesses design, communicate, collaborate and inspect together with all ZWSOFT solutions including CAD Pockets. We have no lofty ambitions, but to fulfill our mission step by step. In brief, the ultimate ideal of CAD Pockets is remaining true to our original aspiration and keeping our mission firmly in mind.

One lightweight mobile application like CAD Pockets can carry considerable weight in the all-in-one CAx prospect and help with your DWG-related work. I hope that this interview with the leaders of the CAD Pockets team has given you the low-down on this product and its story behind the scenes.

More ZWSights into our other product lines will be presented in the near future. Stay tuned!

Christine Yin

Christine Yin

ZWSOFT Content Specialist

View all posts

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