In it's effort to allow users to focus more time on their work, as opposed to focusing on software interaction, Solidworks has added functionality to it's sketching interface to achieve that. Mouse movements on the screen can take up time, and multiple tool bars can take up valuable screen space. Also if you have your tool bars laid out in a certain manner, and go to a different users station, how hard does it become to then use their tool layout?
In 2008, many of the common sketching tools used now appear by simply clicking on a line, or in the case of relations, they appear by clicking on multiple lines.
In thins picture I simply control clicked two lines, and this new menu popped up. As you can see I'm hovering over the collinear selection. Also available to me are horizontal, vertical, parallel, equal, and fixed. In 2007 I'm forced to control click, then move my mouse over to the feature tree area to add a relation, or use the right click method and search for the relation I want in the huge pop-up menu that appears. They have taken that method, and refined it down to do what you want it too for the most part.
Are rectangles always horizontal or vertical? Of course not. So why have we been forced to only be able to sketch them that way for so long? Well relief is on the way in 2008:
In 2008 you will find a new option for sketching rectangles. Currently there are 5 available, and if new ones are suggested, hopefully they will get implemented. My favorite is the center rectangle. So much easier and quicker than sketching it the old way. Again, allowing me to spend more time on my work as opposed to the cad interface.
So these are a couple of the many sketch interface enhancements available. Many more are included, and are sure to be featured here, or on the other blogs.
On a side note, the Beta for 2008 is winding down. The contest for prizes officially ended a few weeks back. I was awarded a whopping 6 points total for my bug submissions! I obviously don't participate for the reason of discovering bugs. I mainly do it just to monkey around with the new features. Beta 4 is now available but it has an expiration date of July 13th during activation, which leads me to believe the fun with 2008 is just about over. As far as pre-release being available? No word on that yet. So far the only unconfirmed dates I have heard from anyone at Solidworks is a late Sept or early Oct beginning for the VAR roll outs! Hopefully that moves up a tad earlier! If I hear anything different, I will be sure to post it here.
If there is an area of 2008 you may have seen on a webcast or other blog, and you want to see a more detailed explanation of it, submit a comment, and I will try to get something posted about it with in the guidelines available to me!