According to its latest news release, UK extranet vendor Cadweb has, "after 2 years of research and development," announced the release of the latest version of Cadweb.net (version 7). Following a "major database and functionality rewrite", the solution is claimed to be more secure, more customisable and faster.
Things clearly move slowly in Cadweb. While other collaboration vendors/ASPs launch major new releases annually, with intermediate releases every few months, Cadweb.net 7 succeeds version 6, written in 2000. Planning and design for Cadweb 7 apparently started in 2004. Construction of the system was complete by last winter (in November 2005, Cadweb said version 7 would be released in January 2006 – see my post), but system testing and debugging clearly took far longer than forecast – with the new product subject to a six-month delay. However, the finished product is, Cadweb claims "on average, 4 times faster than the current version", and version 7 is expected to support developments through to the end of the decade, it seems.
What do Cadweb claim as their differentiators? First, "the new platform can now be dynamically adapted to suit all the changing information flow conditions that a project will undergo throughout it’s [sic] lifecycle." Second, to guarantee a file’s transfer across the internet, "Version 7 incorporated all the latest ‘network Intelligent’ Internet file transfer technology. This technology is similar to that used by the file sharing and music/film downloading sites such as Napster, Kazaa and BitTorrent." (I am not sure I would be reassured by repeated references to peer-to-peer technologies, particularly some which have been subject to legal challenges for copyright violation; moreover, is Cadweb’s users’ information being stored across multiple users’ hard-disk drives?).
The Cadweb boys certainly sound bullish about their new solution. On the file transfer guarantee, Cadweb’s head of projects and operations, Christopher de Carlo is quoted:
"we are setting the standard that clearly separates the wheat from the chaff. Cadweb.net version 7 shows that all project extranets are not the same. Just imagine! Having certainty that what you send is what is received. If you are using a system that cannot offer such a straight forward guarantee, you might as well save your money and continue using email.”
In a similar vein, Cadweb CEO Chris Newman says:
“We are confident that this is world beating technology, it knocks the spots off anything else I’ve seen out there.”
(Shame the news release is riddled with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes, eg: repeated misuse of "it’s" instead of the possessive "its"; "lightening" (fast as a cake ingredient, perhaps?) instead of "lightning", etc).
According to its website, Cadweb is currently being used on 186 projects.