DWFx: The Emperor’s New Clothes?

I pointed out in a previous post that while the press release headlines pronounced that Vista will support DWF natively, the fine print says otherwise. What Vista does support natively is Microsoft’s new XPS (XML Paper Specification) format. Autodesk has since clarified that they are working on a new DWF format called DWFx that is, essentially, a DWF in XPS format.

A quick test verified my suspicions that XPS files produced by the Microsoft XPS Document Writer are much larger than comparable DWF files. The jury is still out on DWFx file sizes, but a recent post on Scott Sheppard’s blog (http://dwf.blogs.com:80/beyond_the_paper/2007/02/autocad_2008_dw.html) has buried within it a telling comparison point between DWF and DWFx.

The chart uses a neat gambit by comparing both DWF and DWFx file sizes to the completely different DWG format, but the math cognoscenti among you will notice that “typically 1/20 the size of the DWG” for DWF and “typically 1/10 the size of the DWG” for DWFx translates into “DWFx files are twice as large as DWF”. There is no information on file generation times, another metric worth monitoring.

Autodesk has been pretty generous lately, first giving away Design Review, now perhaps gearing up for an exclusive two-for-the-price-of-one deal on DWFx. I haven’t heard too many customers requesting larger file sizes, though.

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