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Locally brewed Data Manager


New member

Our organization has a fair sized IT department with very able
programmers. They have a lot of experience in using Pro/Toolkit and
have written some large sized applications to connect Pro/Engineer to

We are currently employing Intralink 3.3, but we'll need to move to Intralink 8.0 or PDMLink 8.0 in the future.

PDMLink is rather complicated to use, doesn't recognize all the
features of Pro/Engineer (it has problems with family tables,
inheritence features, external copy geometries etc.) and has a great
lot of PDM features that we don't actually need.

We have absolutely no intention to move our PDM system to Windchill, so
most of the PDMLink abilities will be lost on us and we are going to
pay very dearly for them (difficulty of usage, management, porting from
Intralink etc...)

The worst of it is that we do need to rewrite all our home brewed
programs to port information from Pro/Engineer to Metaphase. PDMLink
doesn't help us a bit with that

So we are toying with the idea of writing a CAD data manager of our own
that will have only the functionality we need, based on the already
existing home made programs of ours. We have all the knowledge
necessary to undertake such a project, but before we plunge into it,
I'd appreciate your ideas about it. We might have overlooked some

Thanks in advance for your remarks


New member
First of all I applaud your idea of keeping it home brewed. Many people are afraid of trying. When we had just autocad, we had an in house written PDM that is still the best PDM we have ever worked with. I'm talking speed wise and functionality wise. It could always be customized and modified to meet our changing needs. But we were sold to a corporation with other sister companies, and corporate wants everything to be the same. That something to look out for I guess. I don't know how you would figure out dependencies, plus things would change with every version of Pro.


New member
Thank you for the encouragement....

Actually, as I have written, we have a couple of very able Pro/Toolkit
programmers. They know how to recursively check a model tree, may it be
an assembly or another object with external references. I am more
worried about the correct techniques manage the data we find, so that
we can do the absolute bare minimum we need.

We need the functions of check out "as stored", check out "latest",
report "Where Used" and a couple of hooks to programs that we have
already written to connect our data to Metaphase.

I believe that we can do it, it is only a question of time and money,
though using PTC's solutions is extremely costly, difficult and
sometimes even unreliable.

Thanks again for your input


New member
Intralink 3.X will be supported for several more years and it can do the basic functions very well. Why switch to 8.0 unless you absolutley have to, or you believe there is a fantastic return on that investment?

I would milk 3.X as long as it's doing what you need and you don't see the 8.0 (9.0...etc) benefit. My advice would be to do everything possible to not develop your own custom PDM system. You will have to maintain it and upgrade...etc. You should continue with 3.X or find an out of the box product that meets your basic requirements and letsomeone elseworry about maintenance and upgrades so you guys can focus on developing whatever cool products you develop. You can have your Toolkit guys automate and integrate other processes that will improve your profitability, instead of having them develop an application that handles all the things that Intrlaink already does (ie checking out and checking latest...etc).

Even with talented Toolkit people this project could get scope creep fast and you could easily spend a year developing, testing, debugging, enhanciing...etc and next thing you know your application won't work with Wildfire 3, or something like that. It's like customizing an ERP system so much that you paint yourself into a corner and can never upgrade...the only way out is an extrodinarily expensive conversion.

Just my view.

Regards, Rick


New member
Hi Rick,

Thank you very much for your ideas.

Actually I have posted this question BECAUSE of the concerns you have raised, so you definitely understand my dillemas.

The problem is that within 3 years Intralink 3.X will be oficially
declared dead. The only upgrade PTC offers now is PDMLink8.0/Intralink
8.0 that are actually the same thing from our point of view.

I believe that developing a CAD manager will take more than a year,
therefore if we plunge into such a venture, we should start as soon as
we can. You definitely understand how nervous we are about this whole

Do you know of any commercially available CAD manager that we could
consider to replace Intralink 3.X? Something that could do the same
things we want to achieve and without the pain of writing the code for
it? I'll be very happy to consider any of these.

Thank you very much for your time


New member
I've seen postings about DDM by CSI out of the UK, but I have never seen it and don't have any customers using it.

Regards, Rick


New member

Check out DDM (www.designdatamanager.com) as a possible solutionfor an out of the box CAD Manager. We're users and selected it over Intralink/Windchill.

Here is a link to a white paper on in-house software development vs. off the shelf of time management applications. I think it sums up the same issues you will go through with going for internal development, unless software development is your core business, of course!
You can substitute "time management" with "CAD management" in this paper.