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!

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

Have you seen our tutorials?

We have recently created several tutorials that you can follow and become a mass customization expert in no time!

If you follow My First App, My First Drawing and My First Assembly you will know how to create complex applications with dynamic drawings. If you continue with Presets, Test & Debug and User Interface you will learn how to create applications that handle button clicks, mouse clicks and keyboard events.

Documentation and tutorials are living documents and in order to make them as good as possible, we’ve added an edit button at the top right of each documentation page. If you have suggestions on how we can improve, press the button, log in to GitHub and make your change. You will be prompted to create a pull request with your changes, which is just a fancy way of letting us know that you’ve got some improvements.

Good luck on your mass customization path!

Learning DynaMaker

It does not matter if you’re an experienced programmer, a CAD professional or are just getting started creating Dynamic Products; sometimes we all get stuck and could use some help getting back on track. For guidance specific to DynaMaker, we’ve created the official DynaMaker Docs which consists of a getting started guide, tutorials, a FAQ and much more.

TypeScript

When creating with DynaMaker, you’re going to be using TypeScript, which starts from the same syntax and semantics that millions of JavaScript developers know today. You can learn more in the official TypeScript docs.

Debugging

Since DynaMaker is fully cloud-based, all development is done from the browser. We recommend Google Chrome, which has excellent development tools that can be used for stepping through your code line-by-line, to get a better understanding of what’s happening. Here’s a great guide on getting started with debugging using Chrome DevTools.

Help us help you!

The DynaMaker team is continuously working on improving the user experience and we need your feedback to create the best platform possible! What obstacles are you running into when working in DynaMaker? Do you have suggestions on things that should change or what new features should come next? We’d love to receive all your thoughts, so please send them in an email to support@dynamaker.com!

From left to right, team members Jaime, Olof and Axel

Cloud service for mass customization

We are now proud to announce that we have released our cloud service for mass customization! Our tools and knowledge that we have been using in the Swedish industry for the last couple of years are now available at the fingertips of everyone!

Building automated pipelines for custom production is hard and has historically been impossible to achieve at a reasonable price. But we have developed tools and methods to change that.

Our tools and our way of working enables affordable custom production and full utilization of the power that modern automated production machines bring to the industry. All bundled up in an accessible way in a modern cloud service built for the next industrial revolution.

DynaMaker is provided as Software as a Service (SaaS) and you can find our different types of accounts on the pricing page.

We still have lots of more useful features, integrations and examples that we are currently working on bringing to the cloud service. These will be continuously added to the service.

Product example from the editor when setting up an online configurator for a custom bracket

Do you need help to get started, training or perhaps use some of our engineers for a jumpstart on your mass customization project? Please contact us at sales@dynamaker.com and we will find the way forward suitable for you.