If what archers do is called archery, why isn't what Forge developers do called Forgery?
So what is Forge and what do Forge developers do? Jim Quanci is a Senior Director for the Autodesk Developer Network. Stephen Preston is a Senior Manager of Business Development for Autodesk Forge. Chuck Mies is a Sales Development Education Executive. Through my Forge interactions with them, I came across a presentation that this trinity had assembled. With their permission, I am sharing some of the slides with It's Alive in the Lab readers.
The Era of Connection is upon us.
As a company, Autodesk was founded as the CAD industry embraced the Era of Documentation. From this, Autodesk acted as a disruptor in the industry's move to the Era of Optimization by being a low-cost, OPEN platform. AutoLISP and the other extensible APIs of AutoCAD were part of that disruption. As we enter the Era of Connection, Forge is part of a similar disruption today.
An interface is a point where two systems, subjects, organizations, etc. meet and interact.
Humans use a computer program through a User Interface (UI). Similarly, one computer program talks to another program through an Application Program Interface (API).
Forge APIs are like LEGO bricks, but your feet don't hurt when you step on them.
Software developers use building blocks to connect their programs to Autodesk web services to build their customized solutions.
Forge is more than just APIs.
In addition to being a collection of APIs, Forge includes documentation and sample code. Also, there is a community of developers involved in productive discussions of how to exercise the APIs properly.
Forge is an ecosystem.
Forge is where we, Autodesk, want to help connect people, processes, and information across a single common data environment. Forge is our end-to-end solution. Our Forge cloud platform (built on Autodesk Foundational technology and services) sets the foundation for this common data environment and helps support workflows across the entire project lifecycle. Forge gets the right data to stakeholders, when and where they need it, so they can make the daily project decisions that drive quality and efficiency.
It's about developers, developers, developers.
Forge is used by Autodesk developers to develop our own web services, but Forge is also intended for:
- APP DEV Partners who develop software apps to fill in Architecture Engineering & Construction or Product Design & Manufacturing workflows or build with Forge to create new apps for the market.
- System Integrators who provide software development services and consulting (e.g., installation, training, support) to help companies accelerate software development and business productivity.
- Customers who want to improve their workflows or create new ones that both drive internal digital innovation and improvements.
There’s also the Next Generation (students, academia, schools, accelerators) who are adopting Forge.
Autodesk developers and non-Autodesk developers use the same APIs.
Built initially for internal use, we decided to share our web services with other developers. It's just like our decision to add APIs to AutoCAD, but for web services instead. For a software development manager-level description of the APIs, check out my other blog post.
Customization is commonplace.
Everyone's workflow is slightly different. Rather than having customers with design data bend their operations to meet off-the-shelf solutions, Forge allows them to customize solutions to match their operations.
Forge is an industrial strength solution.
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., energy, raw materials, timeframes, waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). Autodesk Forge is part of our automation plans for our services as well as customized workflows for our customers.