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From CAD to SVG

Computer Aided Design (CAD) software started trickling into architectural engineering offices in the early 1980s. By the mid '80s, the trickle had turned into a flood, and by the end of the decade, CAD had overwhelmed every engineering discipline. Out of that disruptive technology wave, one software company emerged to dominate the field, Autodesk. Autodesk's flagship product AutoCAD® has become a de facto standard in the industry. One reason AutoCAD became so popular was its early adoption of an open system that encouraged a community of third-party developers. From its very beginning, Autodesk published an open ASCII interchange format called DXF©. This allowed third-party developers, as well as end users, access to the graphic entities of their designs. DXF has been leveraged to provide many innovative design tools over the years, but because it is proprietary and limited, it never evolved much beyond a simple exchange format.

Because nearly all CAD software supports DXF, it is a good place to start in our move from CAD to SVG. Listing 24.1 shows a small section of a DXF ENTITIES section. AutoCAD DXF ENTITIES are roughly equivalent to XML elements and provide details for a variety of graphic objects.


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