What’s Coming in SOLIDWORKS 2022
It’s summertime, and that usually means things like the beach and barbeques. But to the SOLIDWORKS community, summer means Beta. The annual SOLIDWORKS release cycle has become as dependable and punctual as the Deutsch Bahn. You could set your clock to it, albeit a unique clock that only told you two times—“time for beta” and “time for the new version”
Now that SOLIDWORKS Beta 2022 is out and the new version is around the corner, what does that mean for you and your business? Without trying to sound overly dramatic, your business has been driven to a crossroads by the vehicle of the SOLIDWORKS release cycle. Should you upgrade, or should you stay put? A look at the beta version of the next release will help you decide.
Is the Beta for me?
Yes. Full stop. But that’s not the end of the story. We will explain below.
The Beta is much more than just your first chance to test out all the great new features. Sure, SOLIDWORKS Beta does offer you your first look at the latest and greatest features, but it is so much more than that. If your business depends on SOLIDWORKS, then you need to take a look at the SOLIDWORKS Beta Program.
What is the SOLIDWORKS Beta Program?
Let’s get to know SOLIDWORKS Beta and see what it’s all about.
The SOLIDWORKS Beta program is open for around three months and available to all subscription customers. If you have a license on subscription (network or standalone) then you also have access to the beta program. No matter your role at your business, there is a real benefit to being a part of the Beta program.
How can the Beta Program help my business?
The SOLIDWORKS Beta program gives you a head start on your big impending business decision coming this fall: “Do we upgrade SOLIDWORKS?” When you think about this, how do you feel? Are you excited about the incredible new features? Or do you get nervous and uneasy at the prospect of upgrading a tool that might or might not work 100 percent right out of the gate. Either is okay.
Honestly, a combination of both of these feelings is more common than you’d expect. Of course new features are exciting, but when it comes to SOLIDWORKS, they just have to work. Like coffee, lights and internet, your business cannot function without all of them.
There are two components to the Beta Program that can help your business:
- Test your system, workflow and models.
- Interact directly with the SOLIDWORKS R&D team.
Why can’t I wait?
You can wait, but you shouldn’t. The SOLIDWORKS Beta Program is your chance to interact directly with the SOLIDWORKS R&D team. This is an opportunity to collaborate with the team who directly writes the code that makes SOLIDWORKS.
Here’s how it works:
Imagine you are testing SOLIDWORKS Beta 2022, and you notice a problem with your workflow or with your assembly. You can immediately post your issue to the Beta forum and begin the process of getting it addressed. During this time, all eyes are on the Beta Program—so your issues or concerns, big or small, will get the attention of SOLIDWORKS R&D. This unique opportunity, available to this extent, exists only during the Beta Program.
I want to wait to upgrade.
We hear that a lot, and it is fine to wait to upgrade. But you should still get started today with the Beta Program, for the reasons discussed above. Now is your chance to really make an impact on the software.
Historically, SOLIDWORKS has been on a release cycle that has the initial major release available in the Fall, with a service pack or SP version released every subsequent three months until the final version of SP5. See the very unscientific table below showing the historical release dates for the various versions of SOLIDWORKS. Use this as a guide to mark your calendar if you want to wait for a particular SOLIDWORKS version.
What about stability & bugs?
From a corporate QA and testing perspective, the initial version (SP0.0) receives the most internal testing from SOLIDWORKS. But still, a lot of people say they want to wait for SP1 or SP2 to make sure there are no bugs. But let’s be honest for a minute—with a software product as mature as SOLIDWORKS, are bugs really an issue?
If we’re being honest, yes they are. Here’s a pro tip to let you see when critical bugs appeared in a SOLIDWORKS version. If you ever see an X.1 release, then that means there was a critical bug. These critical bugs have appeared, and there have been a few .1 releases over the years.
But you don’t take my word for it. Take a look at software available from SOLIDWORKS over the past four years:
Could those bugs have possibly affected you? Yes. Could those bugs have probably affected you? No. I know that where I live in Florida there are snakes, sharks and alligators all around me. Could they affect me? Possibly yes, but probably no. It is best to be mindful of risk, but do keep risk in perspective.
Is upgrading a risk?
Yes. But risk isn’t isolated to the initial release of SP0.0. Currently, SOLIDWORKS 2021 has a critical bug in SP4.0 that has been addressed with SP4.1.
What’s the best way to minimize the risk?
To minimize the risk, test your systems before you implement a company-wide upgrade; that’s nothing new. I challenge you to take your testing a step further and participate during the Beta Program. Figuratively speaking, all eyes at SOLIDWORKS are on the Beta Program. So, if you find an issue then you will have a direct part in getting it addressed.
How do I get started with SOLIDWORKS Beta?
You start by signing up for the beta program. Click the link here to get started. Once you are signed up, you then have access to two flavors of the Beta Software, online and on your computer. The online version is quick and easy to use, simply launch the virtual machine and you are off testing the newest tool. SOLIDWORKS Beta can also be installed locally on your system for more robust testing.
What do I need to watch out for?
The SOLIDWORKS Beta Program is meant for testing. This is your chance to test your workflows (PDM) and modeling practices. You will need to make sure your Beta testing environment is kept separate from your live production system.
This is easy: the online version works in a webpage, so it never touches your live system. What’s more is that the locally installed version is easy to keep separate too: it’s done automatically for you. The Beta version of SOLIDWORKS is installed in such a way that it does not mix with your live business system.
However, keep in mind that this is only for the installation and not the CAD files themselves. You do have to be diligent in making sure that you don’t use the Beta version with your production files, including your templates.
That is the SOLIDWORKS Beta Program.
Businesses today are no longer asking themselves, “When do we upgrade?”
More and more often, they are asking themselves, “Do we even upgrade at all?” To get the answer you’re looking for, you have to first be asking the right questions. The SOLIDWORKS Beta Program is your first chance to get the clarity you need so you can make that critical business decision.
Have I convinced you yet? Try SOLIDWORKS Beta today.