Patrick Hughes is the owner of Engineered Design Solutions, a machine design company located in Rockford, Illinois in the US. Patrick developed CadTempo – a suite of products that track and measure CAD utilization, user tasks and activities – as a part of his personal quest for improved CAD productivity. In his testing with BricsCAD, Patrick discovered some incredible BricsCAD performance numbers that he wants to share with our user community.

The three blog posts in this series are unedited by any of us at Bricsys. Patrick, thank you for your hard work and your willingness to share your findings!

A Tale of…Whoa!

by Patrick Hughes

If you know me (you probably don’t) as the developer behind CadTempo you might suspect I have an interest in performance. I’ve been reading lately about how efficient BricsCAD is in comparison to AutoCAD. Since CadTempo is designed to measure CAD performance I wanted to see for myself what the commotion was all about.

The first order of business was to ensure that CadTempo would reliably record and log editing time in BricsCAD, so I downloaded a copy and applied to become a BricsCAD developer. I found the Bricsys staff to be very helpful and was soon on my way to testing things out. Once installed I began the task of setting up the necessary options in BricsCAD to work with my existing lisp files and other customizations I use with AutoCAD®. This was easy enough to do with a little bit of internet searching and reading of the help file.

Making CadTempo work with BricsCAD

Next up was a little bit of code rewriting of CadTempo and updating the software for an update release. CadTempo is designed to work with a number of different CAD software along with other commonly used software in support of engineering work such as Microsoft Excel and Word, as well as Adobe PDF readers to name just a few.  It’s not uncommon to find cases when some tweaking is needed to improve the product and it wasn’t long until I was satisfied with the results. In fact the small changes needed were helpful in improving CadTempo overall.

CadTempo includes a small batch script maker that is intended to help CAD managers and operators that have the need to run their scripts across a number of .dwg files. In the earlier CadTempo versions the script maker was only available to AutoCAD® and AutoCAD® LT users. With the latest release the script maker now supports BricsCAD users.

The batch script maker was going to be key to my performance testing.

Measuring BricsCAD Performance

I’ve been working with CAD for over 25 years and during that time I’ve evolved my work methods, standards, equipment, etc. A project that I originally worked on in 1993 was recently and suddenly resurrected presenting me with a perfect test case. You see, it happens that one of the changes I’ve made over that 23 years was the standard coloration I use for various line work in my drawings. When I first started out on CAD the drawing background I settled on was a light gray color and my layer colors where established to be easily seen against gray. With improved monitors (anyone remember those monster 50 lb. 21” CRTs?) I moved to a white background (I know most of you love your black backgrounds) and my colors changed accordingly.

Since I hadn’t even looked at the drawing files from 25 years ago (archived in 2003) I copied the project folders from the CD over to my working computer and began to determine what needed to be done to bring them current. I settled on using a long ago written lisp program that modifies all objects, finds all block definitions to update the object colors, and replaces all insertions of the block. Oddly enough the lisp file is called: ColorUpd.lsp. I also thought it would be a good idea to add a couple of purges into the script.


In part two of this series, Patrick will walk us through CadTempo’s script maker utility, and how he created the setup for BricsCAD performance testing.