Geofumadas: 30 years of AutoCAD and Microstation

After almost 30 years of these two programs, which by the way seem to be among the few surviving so long of evolutionary history, I have taken the time to consider the topic to show some of the most important milestones in the process, which we Allow us to remember what has happened and what we can assume in the short term.

In general, both programs are on a similar timeline but with different marketing and development strategies. The two started as programs for assisted design, then they were venturing into vertical lines, in the current state, AutoDesk became popular as well as to take over a large part of the market in regard to Architecture and Engineering, making much inroads into the multimedia world and Manufacturing. . While Bentley was left with a smaller sector, with its orientation towards large companies in Engineering, architecture and industrial plants. For that, I include some relevant aspects of the market where programs such as CATIA, Pro / IGENEER and UniGraphics have a great participation, although it is not very visible for our environment.

Year AutoCAD Microstation
I The Beginnings


During 4 years AutoCAD took a significant advantage by being oriented for personal computer users. On Bentley's side, nothing existed, other than His predecessor Intergraph with high technology to operate on Main Frames or mini computers connected to a terminal for graphics.

In 1979 the IGES standard is created.

1980 AutoCAD Version 1.0
It was born from the program MicroCAD, then it was called INTERACT (1978), developed by Mike Riddle in SPL that was the first to run in mainstream running on the computer called Marinchimp 9900 (others only did it in main frames or microcomputers). The 16 Co-founders of AutoDesk buy it and rewrite it in the C and PL / 1 language with the intention of promoting a CAD software for PC that will cost around US $ 1,000.
It was one of the first CAD programs to run on PC.
CATIA survived from the last decade, which emerged in 1977 and Unigraphics from 1971 which to date remain as leaders in specialized mechanical design.
Intergraph IGDS Editor
Although Intergraph was a company that developed high technology from 1969, Even its system was a low-cost editor for Interactive Graphics Design System (IGDS) on VAX superminicomputers. Prior to 1980 a CAD system cost US $ 125,000, with 512 Kb memory and less than 300 MB disk.

With the arrival of PCs, an IBM with 64k of RAM cost US $ 5,000.

1981 AutoCAD Version 1.2
An additional plus was included for dimensioning, with extra payment.
1982 AutoCAD Version 1.3
This year AutoCAD is presented in the COMDEX as the first CAD program that runs on a PC, that's why it was called AutoCAD 80 and AutoCAD 86, in reference to the PCs called 8086, although it is available for sale until 1983. Supports more than 40 items, the cursor appears for the first time, basic parameters are created for printing on plotters. The numbers are standardized to colors.

This year, CADPlan was born and later called CADVANCE. CATIA I is also launched this year.

II DOS TimingsAutocad history AutoCAD in the following 4 years creates internationalization strategies, reaches 50,000 users and comes to be termed the best CAD program.

Meanwhile, Microstation did not exist as such, but it was Pseudostation that became an IGDS format editor from a PC without the need to use the Intergraph programs.

1983 AutoCAD Version 1.4
Until this year the versions of AutoCAD 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 are released
First version of AutoCAD in German language. It cost $ 1,400, the competition was VersaCAD that existed from 1980.
More features to commands like Zoom, arc, array. The states arise Ortho grid snap. New blocks and commands appear as Axis, units, hatch, break, fillet.
This year the Standard for the Exchange of Product Data Model STEP appears.
1984 AutoCAD Version 2.0
This year sees the first AutoDesk Training Center.
New Commands: Mirror, osnap, named viewsAnd isometric capabilities.For this year, CATIA was a leader in aeronautical engineering.
An emulator is developed of what could be a system to only read IGDS formats on Personal Computers without using the Intergraph software. This year Keith Bentley founds Bentley Systems.
1985 AutoCAD Version 2.1
AutoDesk promotes the first CADCamp, sales this year reach US $ 27 million. Appear the first 3D capabilities.
New commands: Chamfer.

This year comes MiniCAD, a program of great diffusion in the Mac medium.

1986 AutoCAD Version 2.5
This version made it very popular, more editing commands appear: Divide, Explode, Extend, Measure, Offset, Rotate, Scale, Stretch, Trim.
AutoLisp arrives with more property. AutoDesk achieves 50,000 licenses sold worldwide. From this year on, and for 10 years AutoCAD wins as the best CAD program in PC World Magazine.
This year in the world Mac emerges Deneba that with MacLightning would become Canvas.
Microstation 1.0
This is the first version of Microstation that could operate on Personal Computers, now it edited the IGDS format. They were times of the IBM 80286 PC.
III Incursion of the 32 bits

History of autocad microstation

In this time, AutoDesk reaches the million users buying GenericCADD users. He also buys SoftDesk and with this Drafix he gets to launch as AutoSketch. Microstation matures and gets to have 100,000 users.

Both AutoCAD and Microstation existed in multiplatform versions.

1987 AutoCAD Version 2.6
Improved print and 3D, this was the latest version that worked without a Math co-processor. AutoDesk makes the first alliances with vertical applications (SoftDesk).AutoCAD Release 9.0
Many called it AutoCAD 3, the 3D faces appear. Buttons, dialog boxes, menu bar.

Competition: MiniCAD and Architron (Mac)
CADVANCE becomes the first CAD program for Windows.

Microstation 2.0
This is the first version that can read and edit the dgn format which consisted of an IGDS version with extensions of Bentley Stystems.
1988 AutoCAD Release 10.0
AutoCAD had 290,000 users and purchased GenericCADD that had 850,000 users. With this he was able to launch his campaign "We have more than 1 million users"
Microstation 3.0
1989 This year a new version of the STEP standard emerges, handled by Unigraphics, which was geared towards supporting open source platforms.Also this year, AceCAD was born, the first CAD software for structural design. Also T-Flex, later called ACIS, first program to conceptualize the parametric design and the first version of Pro / ENGINEER arrives.

This year comes GraphiSoft, which would later support ArchiCAD.

MicroCADAM emerged, which would become the most widely used CAD program in Japan.

AutoDesk buys AutoSketch from SoftDesk.

Microstation Mac 3.5
First version of Microstation for Mac.
1990 AutoCAD Release 11.0
AutoCAD for PC and AutoCAD for Mac, Paper space and the concept of layouts appear. Improve the 3D with ACIS, but with extra payment. The icons are introduced, in appearance of buttons, always in DOS.
AutoCAD could run on a server.
At this time AutoDesk tries to penetrate the middle of the animation with AutoDesk Animator Studio.
For this year, Intergraph is the second largest supplier of CAD / CAM / CAE software in the United States and the second largest in the world.
AutoDesk was the leader with 500,000 copies of AutoCAD; 300,000 of Generic CADD and 200,000 of AutoSketch.
From this year and during 8 following, AutoCAD won the merit of best CAD program by Byte magazine.
Microstation 3.5 for UNIX

Microstation v4

1991 AutoDesk first attempt to enter the architecture environment with ArcCAD. Also the first initiative of AutoCAD for SUN platforms. This year Microsoft developed OpenGL, which became a standard in the 3D data deployment.

In Mac media, Canvas is popularized with Apple's System 7 support.

Microstation V4 (4.0)
Microstation implements many features that particularize it: fences, references, clipping references, level names, dwg translator. It included associative sizing, shared cells, surfaces and rendering. A version called Nexus included dwg translator and ability to run on Windows 3.1.
First version with CDM language.
Bentley announces that users of Microstation have reached 100,00.
IV Windows Appropriation

Microstation 95Autocad_r13_initial

The following 4 years marked the boom of Windows, AutoDesk concentrates on PC and leaves Linux in 1994.

AutoDesk enters the market of Manufacturing and Architecture.

Microstation achieves 200,000 users and detaches itself from Intergraph. AutoCAD achieves the 3 millions of users.

1992 AutoCAD Release 12.0
Come the External references,the icons are increased, the rendering appears and an extension to connect with SQL bases. AutoDesk launches 3D Studio 2 for DOS. This is the Latest stable version for mac.
Comdex launches Canvas for Windows.
1993 AutoCAD Release 13.0
In DOS and Windows 3.1 versions, 3D ACIS Modeller integrated.This was the Latest version for UNIX.

AutoDesk acquires MicroEngineering Solutions creator of AutoSurf.

This year SolidWorks Inc. is founded.

16 companies promote the Simple Vector Format (SVF) intended as an Internet format.

Microstation V5 (5.0)
Microstation integrates handling rasters in binary format, custom line styles, constraint and centroid calculation. Realistic photo rendering is introduced on the fly. It ran natively on Windows NT.

This was the last version in which Microstation appeared under the brand and equipment manufactured by Intergraph.

1994 AutoCAD R13c42b
For Windows 95 and DOS, with an interface similar to the other programs running on Windows. Autodesk decides not to release versions for Mac.
AutoDesk starts processes to acquire AutoArchitect and Softdesk running on an AutoCAD clone.
AutoCAD achieves the million users as software alone, followed by Cadkey with 180,000 and Bentley 155,000.
Canvas receives the Win100 Award from Windows Magazine.
Bentley had 155,000 users.
1995 AutoDesk, through AutoSurf includes conversion for IGES standard. It also includes parametric modeling in AutoDesk Designer.
Buy Automated Methods, to enter the world GIS.AutoDesk announces having three million copies sold and becomes the fifth largest software company in the world.

This year comes Medusa, for DOS and UNIX by ComputerVision.
Pro / ENGENEER is the first CAD program with parametric modeling capability and high resolution 3D compatible with Windows NT and this year is recognized as 1 number in the mechanical design.

Microstation 95 (5.5)
Microstation launches its 5.5 version, working for the first time in 32 bits in the windows95 era, introducing Accudraw tools (snaps), dialog windows, drop-down tools, key-in browser, multiple file execution, smartlines, independent views , Generation of animations (movies).
Basic programming is included, support for ODBC and first version of Microstation Modeler for Architecture based on ACIS.
Bentley announces 200,000 users.
V Vertical Lines

Engineering cad

During 3 years AutoDesk and Bentley seek to maintain their priority in vertical lines beyond the simple CAD still with the format of 32 bits. AutoCAD ceases to be named the best CAD program, maintains stable lines in Architecture, Engineering and Mechanics.

Bentley enters to compete in Architecture and Plants, 1997 leaves Mac and UNIX.


AutoDesk Launches Mechanical Desktop 1.1.

Canvas and TurboCAD exist for Mac and Windows.

This year comes DataCAD, FelixCAD is compatible with AutoCAD.

Pro / E launches VRML format for Internet.

Bentley enters the medium of Architecture and Industrial Plants. It is identified in the Geoengineering line and launches for the first time the SELECT subscription system that existed from 1990 as CSP.
1997 AutoCAD Release 14.0
For Windows NT and 95. AutoDesk proposes the DWF format for Internet use.
To this date 14 different versions had been produced, one each year.
The DOS versions disappear.
GenericCAD was discontinued and they were suggested AutoCAD LT which cost $ 500 that could be purchased at any computer store while full version only with AutoDesk dealers.
DataCAD and MiniCAD, a full version cost $ 4,000. Pro / I cost 26,000 with all its 26 modules and UniGraphics 17,000 for 30 modules.
With the purchase of SoftDesk AutoDesk starts the launch of vertical versions for Engineering.
This year, the MarComp initiative to democratize the dwg format begins. The initiative ends when Microsoft acquires the Visio program that was a clone of AutoCAD.
Canvas is the most used software for animation in the cinema. This year ends up being part of the company that launched SolidWorks.
Microstation SE (5.7)
Microstation launches its 5.7 version known as Special Edition, with color button icons and Office2007-style border appearance, power selector, engeneering links, OLE links and some Work on the internet.
Bentley starts working with Model Server. Daratech lists among the fastest growing companies in the CAD / CAM / CAE industry. This was the Latest version compatible with Mac and Linux.
1998 This year the OpenDWG Alliance is born out of the bookstores left by MarComp. AutoDesk launches Arquitectural Desktop based on AutoCAD 14.

This year the first version of IntelliCAD comes out, from the effort of Visio.

VI 64 bits arrive


During the following 9 years, AutoDesk and Bentley keep increasing their specialized users and improving their functionalities through the purchase of new technologies. AutoDesk starts to maintain a dwg format for more than a year, some of its partners like Eagle Point exceeded it in the AEC market. Microstation launches V8 and seeks to attract dwg users by reading the format without conversion.
1999 AutoCAD 2000 (R15)
For Windows 95, NT, 2000. The paperspace becomes more intuitive with the introduction of the Multiple layouts, And improves productivity with the use of right button, looking to decrease the keyboard.
The dwg 2000 format persisted for the first time over a year, during AutoCAD 2000i and AutoCAD 2002.AutoCAD 200LT, without 3D or Autolisp.

Architectural Ad-on competes as a clone from GenericCADD previously purchased by AutoDesk.

Microstation J (7.0)
Java is integrated into the development language, it is called JMDL, which is abandoned in the 8 version, support for QuickvisionGL. The Solid modeling. Concurrent licenses from the Model Server.

Microstation J (7.1)
Spell checker, Support for Windows 2000. Launches ProjectBank that later would become Project Wise.
This version of files called Dgn V7 was the last based on the IDGS, V8 was based on IEEE-754.
This year Upside Magazine names Bentley in its 1998 100 hot companies ranking. Bentley announces having 300,000 users and 200,000 in SELECT.
2000 AutoCAD 2000i (R15.1)
AutoDesk integrates features For Internet. For the first time you can buy AutoCAD online with a discount of up to 15% of the price in the store.
That year AutoCAD 2000i LT comes out to compete with IntelliCAD.
Eagle Point was a leader in AEC. Alibre enters with more collaborative strength. Graphisoft acquires DrawBase. TurboCAD reaches one million users.
2001 AutoCAD 2002 (R15.6)
Drag & drop, saved from groups of layers. Online help functions are integrated.
AutoCAD 2002i ($ 135) to compete with IntelliCAD.
Microstation V8 (8.0)
The new V8 format is introduced based on 64 bits, read and edit the dwg / dxf natively, historical file, acusnap. Restrictions are removed at levels (layers), undo and File size.
First Layout management When introducing the sheet models. Support for MrSID.
It integrates VBA programming and adapts interoperability with .NET.
Other improvements are taken out of the V8 format, such as the standardization of the working units, true scale.
2002 This year AutoDesk buys companies that developed Revit and Inventor technologies for BIM integration.
2003 AutoCAD 2004 (R16)
Express tools are integrated (previously they were in Softdesk), the property table is improved with a friendlier interface.
The AutoCAD 2004 DWG format persisted in AutoCAD 2005 and AutoCAD 2006.
Starting this year, AutoDesk releases all new versions of AutoCAD in the month of March.
Microstation V8.1
It includes digital signature, file protection and object association through named groups. This year the OpenDWG Alliance changes to the Open Design Alliance and makes an agreement with Bentley to support the OpenDGN and extend beyond the simple interpretation of CAD files.
2004 AutoCAD 2005 (R16.1)
CADstantard appears, the dwg become less weighed. Many commands pass from the command line to windows and further improve the handling of layouts.
Microstation V8 2004 Edition (8.5)
The support for the new DWG 2004-2006, CADstandard formats is updated and it implements multiple-snaps and creation of PDF files in 2 and 3D. The XFM is introduced as attributes based on model, this was the last version that supported Microstation Geographics that from XM was called Bentley Map based on XFM.In this version, it starts interoperability with U3D and ADT that later allows it to operate with AutoDesk and Adobe.
Bentley buys Haestad Methods and replaces all water systems of the new V8 line.
2005 AutoCAD 2006 (R 16.2)
Dynamic blocks and tables appear. Improves the tedious dimensioning and layer management without pop-up window. The management of property tabs is improved and the DWF supports revisions.
AutoDesk buys Maya and Sketchbook.
2006 AutoCAD 2007 (R17)
It takes a new face the 3D visualization, that implies to improve the textures, the rendering, the animated display and some of the interface.
The 3D design ceases to be from primitive objects and the concept of 3D models. The 2007 DWG format persisted in AutoCAD 2008 and AutoCAD 2009.
Microstation V8 XM Edition (8.9)
It is developed in .NET infrastructure. Integra external references PDF, Supports transparency, Element templates, Pantone and Ral color management.
It integrates the lateral navigator task.
XM was released as a provisional development, hoping only to rebuild what V8 already did with the advantages of the replacement of the graphics subsystem based on Direct-X. Support for Windows Vista and support for DWG 2007-2008.
2007 AutoCAD 2008 (R 17.1)
First version of AutoCAD compatible with 64 bits.
Improved integration with other programs "no cad", greater freshness in sizing and printing.
Bentley acquires RAM and STAAD to replace the structural design line for the launch of V8i.
VII Recent generations


The last 4 years have shown results of the interoperability agreement of AutoDesk with Bentley in the lines of Architecture, Engineering, and Animation. Both seek to standardize their tendencies with geospatial support and BIM modeling. Bentley based on XFM, dabbling only in Industrial Plants, AutoDesk with dynamic objects and venturing into the manufacture and animation for cinema.
2008 AutoCAD 2009
Redesign of the interface with the introduction of the Ribbon.
For the first time AutoCAD can import a dgn file, but not edit it.
Adding interaction features with data such as the ViewCube and Action Recorder.
This year AutoDesk is named the 25 number among the most innovative 50 companies worldwide.
AutoDesk acquires SoftImage.
Microstation V8i (8.11)
3D design tools, dynamic views, support for global coordinate systems (previously only Geographics), support for DWG 2009. Support for RealDWG, interoperability with GIS formats that only supported Bentley Map (shp, mif, mid, tab). Support to interact with pdf and reference shp (previously seen as raster). Ability to publish information in I-models.

It integrates capacity for interaction with GPS.
Dynamic views and auxiliary coordinates are integrated per view.
This year Bentley and AutoDesk sign the agreement to exchange libraries in dgn and dwg formats with greater interoperability.

2009 AutoCAD 2010
The 2010 DWG format persisted in AutoCAD 2011 and AutoCAD 2012.
It introduces the parameterized design, mesh modeling 3D, support for Windows 7 in 32 and 64 bits.
Support to export to PDF and call it reference with layer recognition.
3D printing.
This year AutoDesk acquires the creative company of what we now call AutoCAD WS to penetrate into mobile phones.
Microstation V8i Select Series 1 Support for point clouds. DWG 2010 and FBX.
Improvements are added to the interaction with other formats, support for Print 3D.
Bentley purchases gINT to create the line of geotecnia.En this year Bentley is included among the 500 companies with more active in infrastructures worldwide.
2010 AutoCAD 2011
Transparency of objects, Modeling and surface analysis.
Hide / isolate objects, operation with similar objects, support for Clouds of points.AutoCAD 2011 for Mac
AutoCAD returns to Mac after dropping it on 1994.
Microstation V8i Select Series 2
Bentley begins the presentation of the I-model as a proposal to standardize the BIM in the format dgn.
The point cloud.
La Open Design Alliance Launches Teigha SDK with more than 1000 members in 40 countries. These include Adobe, BricSys, Carlson, ESRI, GraphiSoft, IntelliCAD, Intergraph, VectorWorks, Oracle, Safe Software, SolidWorks,
2011 AutoCAD 2012
Greater associativity is introduced to the objects in the arrays and groupings. Design documentation, cleaning of duplicates.
Redesigned command line with suggested search.
Bentley intends to launch new developments in the mid-2011, in which the I-models persist as elements of interaction with all its products and outwards in lines of Architecture and Engineering of AutoDesk.

This graph has been improved following the post of Shaan Hurly summarizes the almost 26 milestones in the history of AutoCAD, in which significant steps stand out such as: Getting ahead to work for personal computers, buying GenericCAD users to reach the million, capacity to spread worldwide and smell to acquire potential technologies. Always takes the lead but not with fully integrated products, but innovative as Maya, WS and his foray into the Mac world.

History of autodesk autocad bentley

The other graph describes the 13 milestones that Bentley recognizes within a cycle that includes between 14 and 18 milestones described above. Among the actions that stand out as positive decisions, is the use of only 3 formats throughout its trajectory (although this appears to have lagged the use of 64 bits up to V8), its ability to natively edit the dwg / dxf and ingenuity format to standardize all its lines in formats that interact outward from Bentley. It is lagging behind in popularity, although with a portfolio of enviable clients, in a rhythm of high meditation for transcendental steps, especially with the change of stable long-term formats.

History of autocad microstation

Apparently, the challenge of the next two years of these companies is not in competing for market, both are clear about their position and are worthy examples of entrepreneurship based on opportunities. With the trends that mark the globalization of technological markets, their challenges are to achieve innovation to interact with foreign products under the BIM approach, in an environment convulsed by the incursion of gadgets, the dependence on the web, the rebound of emerging technologies like Apple and the noise caused by disparate markets and OpenSource.

3 Replies to "Geofumadas: 30 years of AutoCAD and Microstation"

  1. That good information, go ahead, we are always watching ..

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