Web-based collaborative feature modeling

Rafael Bidarra, Eelco van den Berg, Willem F. Bronsvoort
Proceedings of Solid Modeling '01 - Sixth ACM Symposium on Solid Modeling and Applications, page 319--320 - jun 2001
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Collaborative modeling systems are distributed multiple-user systems that are both concurrent and synchronized, aimed at supporting engineering teams in coordinating their modeling activities. Instead of an iterative process, asynchronously sending product data back and forth among several team members, they turn design into an interactive process, in which several engineers are simultaneously involved to agree on design issues. So far, only a small number of tools have been developed that somehow support collaborative design activities. For example, tools for collaborative model annotation and visualization via Internet are now becoming available, providing concepts such as shared cameras and telepointers. However, such tools are primarily focused on inspection, e.g. using simple polygon mesh models, and do not support real modeling activities. In other words, they are valuable assistants for teamwork, but no real CAD systems. Some more recent research is focusing on the possibility of enhancing existing CAD systems with collaborative facilities [3, 6], with the goal of providing real modeling facilities to participants in a collaborative session. To the best of our knowledge, the only commercial system currently offering some collaborative modeling facilities is OneSpace [4]. However, its modeling capabilities are severely constrained by the modeler at the server, Solid-Designer, and by the format into which it converts shared models. An interesting research challenge consists of developing a collaborative modeling system that offers all facilities of advanced modeling systems to its users, while at the same time providing them with the necessary coordination mechanisms that guarantee an effective collaboration. Among these mechanisms, solutions have to be provided to the critical problems of concurrency and synchronization that characterize collaborative design environments. Concurrency involves management of different processes trying to simultaneously access and manipulate the same data. Synchronization involves propagating evolving data among users of a distributed application, in order to keep their data consistent. This paper introduces webSPIFF, a new web-based collaborative feature modeling system that is a major step in this direction. In particular, this system demonstrates that a good and consequent exploitation of the feature concept can be very helpful in solving these problems.

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BibTex references

@InProceedings { BVB01c,
  author       = "Bidarra, Rafael and Berg, Eelco van den and Bronsvoort, Willem F.",
  title        = "Web-based collaborative feature modeling",
  booktitle    = "Proceedings of Solid Modeling '01 - Sixth ACM Symposium on Solid Modeling and Applications",
  pages        = "319--320",
  month        = "jun",
  year         = "2001",
  editor       = "Anderson, DC and Lee, K",
  publisher    = "ACM Press, NY",
  address      = "Ann Arbor, MI",
  url          = "http://graphics.tudelft.nl/Publications-new/2001/BVB01c"

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» Rafael Bidarra
» Eelco van den Berg
» Willem F. Bronsvoort