Easier to develop online configurators with TypeScript and DynaMaker

We are constantly working to improve the DynaMaker cloud service and lately we have been focusing extra hard on usability for developers.

Therefore we now have released a big update simplifying many of the development patterns that you encounter when building your online CAD-configurators. Most of the changes are in the actual structure of the TypeScript/JavaScript templates for the different stages of development.

Changes

The most important changes are listed in the docs under Changes 2020-10-20 and can be summarized as:

Upgrading old projects

Since old projects need the possibility to always carry on there is no automatic upgrade performed on your projects. You need to reach out to support@dynamaker.com if you want the latest features and we will assist you with the upgrade!

Industry gate configurator template

Are you working with doors, gates or other forms of openings in buildings? We have a nice template to get you started with DynaMaker!

When enabling parametric configuration on your homepage you can let the user do the measurements themselves. With rules restricting and validating the input, you can control what sizes and resolutions are allowed, limiting mistakes and errors.

You can allow direct download of a quotation drawing (PDF/DXF) that is auto-generated with the exact measurements and easily integrate your configurators with your e-commerce with the help of our plugins and integrations.

If this looks useful for you, please reach out to sales@dynamaker.com and let us show you how we can help guide your clients and automate your quotation process.

Develop a CAD configurator for the web

When working with an all-in-one cloud service like DynaMaker you can pretty much follow these 10-steps to develop your first CAD configurator for web, e-commerce or CPQ. All the technical aspects can be found on docs.dynamaker.com or by a discussion with our support team. The hardest part is usually doing things in the right order is usually the hardest part.

Development process in 10 steps

A.1 – Sign up for a free account on DynaMaker and go through our docs & tutorials docs.dynamaker.com
A.2 – Request template projects from the support team (see examples on youtube.skymaker.se or start page)
A.3 – Explore the template projects and get inspired to the best approach for your product
A.4 – Draft a first prototype of the user interface in DynaMaker to find out what parameters should be configurable
A.6 – Draft a first prototype of the main assembly of components with the major parts (both upload static CAD files and create some parametric CAD components in DynaMaker)
A.7 – Show your prototype to your internal team and discuss the solution
A.8 – Keep developing until you have a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) that can start solving some of the user cases (don’t wait too long or add too much stuff)
A.9 – Introduce the MVP to the intended users to get early feedback and adoption of using a new tool started (it takes time..)
A.10 – Keep adding new features in parallel with ensuring that more users/customer uses the visual product configurator

Requirements for an online CAD configurator

When you look at a configurator that runs in the cloud you need the following parts to work together. DynaMaker will handle all those three in a single platform. But the principles stated here apply no matter what platform you choose.

  1. A client-side module with support for CAD that the users interacts with
  2. A server-side module that hosts the application and provides additional functionality like authentication, saving and loading, etc.
  3. A set of rules and formulas for the product configuration

Part 1 – Client-side module

Unless you want the users visiting your homepage to download and install tools the old fashion way you need to ensure you have a client-side module in your application. This is something that runs in the browser when visiting a homepage and is normally composed of HTML & JavaScript.

The client-side mainly focuses on:

  • How the interface should look (placement of buttons, toolbars)
  • What the user can interact with (buttons, rotation of model)
  • What steps are needed to configure a product
  • Visualization in 2D or 3D
  • Presentation of relevant data to the user (dimensions, values)

Part 2 – Server-side module

To make things available on the web you need some kind of server to host the files and provide protected functionality like user handling, security, saving and loading a configuration, connections with other software, and much more. This is only exposed to the client-side through an API and can be composed of pretty much any programming language available.

Developing the server-side is hard and requires an experienced developer to ensure that it’s secure, can handle the load and is possible to maintain over time. The server-side is handled automatically in the DynaMaker cloud service.

Part 3 – Product rules and formulas

Last but not least you need a set of rules for your product configurator to work. Maybe you already have them written down in the product catalog? Or expressed in an excel sheet somewhere. These need to be translated to web-compatible formulas and code (client-side or server-side).

The rules and formulas can be distributed either to the server-side module (secret formulas) or the client-side module (compiled but available), or both, depending on how the product configuration is set up.

If you want code examples on how this can be set up on DynaMaker you can check out the tutorials under docs.dynamaker.com

Online product picker for solar panels

Building a online tool for just switching predetermined sizes is easy. Add a few 3D-models with some nice textures and suddenly you have very visual way for the customers to test different sizes.

But from that simple product picker you can then allow export of 2D-drawings with dimensions, open up for patterns of multiple panels, and allow different downloads for adding to your own 3D-projects. Endless possibilities!

Send us some links with your preferred sizes and we will set you right up with a solar panel online configurator from one of our templates.

Extruded profile configurator

DynaMaker has lots of templates and projects to start from when setting up a 3D configurator on your homepage. One template is for configuring profiles and creating BOM lists with customized cutting lengths. Let the customer select and add their profiles and automatically create packages of 3D files (STL, STEP) and BOM lists.

Sounds interesting? Send us a set of DXF files of the profiles you want to configure to sales@dynamaker.com and we will set up your own version of this configurator and show you how to integrate it with your current homepage!

A parametric sofa for the summer

Summer is closing in here in the north and what could be better than to plan for stimulating woodworking projects?

Of course, you first need an online tool to interact and explore the parametric possibilities and auto-generate all the material lists and drawings. Just hammering away won’t do it anymore.

A quick glance at a recent open project on the DynaMaker platform shows how you with a few properties and parametric patterns can generate furniture from a standard profile. From chair to sofa, to a flat surface with just a few parameters.

This is a good example of how to get started with building an interactive online customization tool, and how it can be made easy with the help of standardized tools. The time-consuming part is usually integrating a tool like this into the quotation/order process of a company. Luckily we are working on standardizing that as well, but for the happy enthusiast, it’s just to hammer away! Let us know if you want to explore this particular open project and perhaps use it for your own project.

Have a nice summer!