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Mar 16 2022
by Adam Pez
Thought leadership content in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industries proclaims cloud-first to be a crucial part of the future. Moving to digital workflows allows project owners, designers, and contractors to get on the same page wherever they are to make projects more efficient, shorten timelines, and lower risks. And in the wake of the pandemic, organizations everywhere now realize the benefits of replacing paper with remote-friendly digital processes. This transformation not only cuts costs (time and trees) – it ensures essential business continuity in today’s work-from-home environment.
For those curious to discover more about how to build complete digital workflows for AEC – then this guide is for you. We’ll share how our AEC customers such as Bentley, Autodesk, Trimble, Aconex, and more leverage our technology to provide remote access to content anywhere, streamline collaboration on any platform, and enable efficient digital reviews.
TL;DR: PDFTron gives you the ability to integrate seamless and fully customizable viewing, markups, and collaboration on a complete variety of project documents on the web. In this blog, we’ll show you how.
Through design, planning, construction, and handover to operations, every project depends on drawings. These showcase architectural details of what a building or structure should look like and design details of how it was constructed. More than that, they contain essential information teams will use to plan and estimate the labor, materials, and anything else needed to get projects off the ground. Drawings also include the information vital to maintaining a structure long term.
However, there’s too often trouble accessing the information you need in its digital representation. Large CAD files created in powerful CAD tools and other formats need to be plotted as “portable” PDF renditions for lightweight collaboration across devices, geographies, and between various stakeholders. Conversion errors can interrupt smooth viewing, especially in a browser, as teams try to work on content that doesn’t look as it should or that loads very slowly and sometimes, not at all.
That’s where the PDFTron SDK comes in. It renders documents quickly and precisely and has been specifically calibrated to handle the real-world challenges of CAD to PDF. It accurately translates CAD concepts to PDF – such as
Drill into design details as deeply as you need with powerful client-side rendering
In addition, the top performance of the PDFTron SDK enables you to implement smooth interaction on PDF-based designs, no matter how large and complex they may be. Teams can zoom in to examine the smallest detail in a key plan on the web. With PDFTron’s high-fidelity rendering, details stay sharp so that you can enable fast, detailed reviews, precise measurements, and accurate estimates.
Project documents that need to be collaborated on come in many shapes and sizes:
An AEC toolkit needs to process all these file types and more to successfully bring the pieces of project workflows together. At PDFTron, we support
Next, our web SDK comes with fast, client-side image and Office file conversion. No servers or MS office software are required thanks to a built-in Office engine supporting docx, pptx, xlsx, and legacy Office formats. This serverless support for popular formats simplifies integration into your web or native app while at the same time, ensuring a smooth end-user experience.
Benefits of client-side conversion include:
Building a complete collaboration experience can take developers months – precious time in any fast-paced enterprise environment. With PDFTron, we provide you
In addition, collaboration modules come with customizable review states (i.e.,
Collaboration modules will also hook into
Centralizing workflows in a single, easy-to-use and easy-to-maintain viewer helps with version control and immensely in keeping users on the same page. But to keep users in app, and off paper, a digital workflow still needs to be complete with the tools to get the job done – in a UI free of productivity-killing clutter.
Therefore, we’ve built and refined a complete kit of features tailor-made for AEC workflows, available inside a UI fully customizable to your user experience requirements.
This complete kit includes our
For added precision, users can
Precise measurement lets you set scale and perform accurate calculations based on it
Coming Soon: Intuitive object snap indicators (endpoint, midpoint, intersection and point on line) like those found in familiar CAD tools.
Snap indicators such as this “square” appear beneath your cursor on snap-to geometry
The first review of any new drawing needs a rigorous inspection to follow quality management guidelines in any design process. However, once design details are approved, subsequent reviews need to be more efficient and focused on the precise changes made, so relevant parties quickly address previous comments and ensure no new issues get overlooked.
Features used to juxtapose drawings visually help achieve this focused view of changes. But for these comparisons to be meaningful, they require precise alignment.
At PDFTron, we provide two options supported in our web SDK:
Overlay lets you quickly focus your view on changes in another color (e.g., red)
Meanwhile, with comparisons, design concepts can be
Two versions, before on the left and after on the right, with a merged view in the middle
In either case, PDFTron comparison functionality will work with any PDF file, including PDFs with images, text and other graphics -- and not just vector elements or rasterized images. We even provide APIs to
In addition, PDFTron supports
Drawing layers let you focus your view on what matters most
Lastly, PDFTron’s cross-platform SDK is fully flexible, with a developer-friendly UI you can quickly tailor to your user experience requirements or product’s design language by leveraging one of a few integration pathways:
To learn even more about your options, check out our
At PDFTron, we have thousands of partners worldwide including leaders in the AEC industries who today, leverage PDFTron’s leading rendering and rich functionality that we have continuously developed over the past 24 years. And we will continue to work on enhancing our AEC toolset and rendering to make the experience even better, and integrations even easier.
If you’re as excited as we are about the features covered in this blog, or if you have a
WebViewer 8.9 introduces two new, powerful view modes for intuitive viewing and comparisons in any web application for PDFs, MS Office files, and images.
New workflow improvements in the WebViewer SDK make signing documents even easier.