The SOLIDWORKS open API provides a robust means for developing add-ins to expand the capabilities of SOLIDWORKS. A vibrant partner network capitalized on this flexibility over the last 20 years and created a rich assortment of applications that serve a wide range of markets. Visit the Partner Pavilion at the annual SOLIDWORKS World Conference and see what this partner network has accomplished.
Add-ins have the benefit (over macros) of enabling a deeper integration into the SOLIDWORKS user interface. This in turn, enhances the SOLIDWORKS user experience, by allowing users to access to the features they need, where and when they need them. These add-ins can also be enabled and disabled from the Tools menu to help users manage their workstation resources. Integration into the Task Pane also provides for direct HTML coding for easy access to web resources, like tutorials, forums, videos, VAR web resources, and news feeds.
For much of our 20 year history the HawkWare team has been developing a SOLIDWORKS add-in called HawkWare Tools. This application has taken many forms over the years, with a multitude of features added and removed. The most recent iterations use an approach very similar to an App Store you might use on your mobile phone. We recognized that you should have the power to enable and disable the features and functions you need. If one of them needs an update to resolve an issue or improve performance we can now roll out an update to that feature, without requiring you to reinstall the entire add-in.
One of our recent additions to the HawkWare Tools suite is called “User Macros.” If you have ever written macros for Microsoft Word or Excel, you may know that their macro API allows for triggering these macros on events like Open, Close or Save. This capability wasn’t available to the SOLIDWORKS community writing their own macros. So we created a feature that allows you assign any macro you have to a Task Pane button, and optionally to an event. If you need to run your macro against hundreds or thousands of legacy documents you can now do that by leveraging the SOLIDWORKS Task Scheduler. Using the “Update” task will open and save the documents. If your macro is assigned to the Open or Save event, you just saved yourself a great deal of time.
HawkWare Tools is free of charge, as it has been from the beginning. We use it as a technology showcase to inspire you with your own ideas for useful tools inside SOLIDWORKS. Feel free to download it and let us know what you think. If you have an idea for an add-in that would enhance your company’s investment in the SOLIDWORKS products don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to discuss your ideas in detail, and see if we can develop a solution for you.