When you go to http://freewheel.labs.autodesk.com, this is what you see:
A sample design, in this case suspension.dwf, is displayed. Many people have misinterpreted this to think that Project Freewheel is a demo site where the suspension is the only available design. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the one hand, having a sample design such as suspension.dwf allows the unacquainted to immediately "play with the knobs" such as orbit, zoom, or pan. On the other hand, it detracts from their recognition that Project Freewheel is a living, breathing, free-to-use web service that provides three ready-to-use capabilities:
Interactive Design Viewer - Project Freewheel provides an interactive design viewer. You can load one of your own designs, in this case a DWF file, and use the user interface to:
- Open allows you to type in an URL to a publicly available design file on the web or upload a design from your computer or network.
- eMail allows you to email a link to your currently viewed design file. The recipient can view your design with Project Freewheel by simply clicking on the link.
- Print allows you to print the current view of your design.
- Zoom allows you to select a rectangular region to view. You can also zoom in, out, or fit the design to the current view.
- Pan allows you to reposition the current view to different portions the design.
- Orbit allows you to change the view of your 3D design via its x, y, or z axes.
- The Page selector allows you to select another page if your design file contains multiple pages. You can also move to previous and next pages.
You can even include the interactive viewer in your own company web site. The HTML to use the interactive viewer is very easy:
Try it with one of your own files!
Design Rendering Service - Project Freewheel provides the ability to render your design as an image. You can use some simple HTML to display thumbnail images of your designs. The thumbnails are generated dynamically from the designs. This allows you to update your designs and have the thumbnails on your web site update automatically. How cool is that? To include an image of your design in your company's web site, you would use HTML that looks like:
<img src="http://freewheel.labs.autodesk.com/dwfImage.aspx?cx=0.5&cy=0.5&scale=4&sec=1&width=200&height=200& path=http://www.acme.com/mydesign.dwf">
You would set the values for section, width, height, and source appropriate for your needs and your design.
SOAP-based Design Data Service - Project Freewheel provides a Web Service (via SOAP protocol) that returns information about a specified design. You can use SOAP calls on the service for:
- load - Accepts an URL to a design and returns the section names and section types.
- pageCount - Accepts an URL to a design and returns the number of pages.
- pdkVersion - Returns the version of the design rendering engine (Printer Development Kit) on the server.
- defaultCamera Accepts an URL to a design and returns the default camera position.
Additional SOAP calls will be supplied in future updates to the service.
So please feel free to take Project Freewheel for a spin. Some of you may be more comfortable using the production version of the service known as Autodesk Freewheel. It is available at http://freewheel.autodesk.com. At this point in time, Project Freewheel and Autodesk Freewheel offer the same capabilities. This will change in the near future as we are developing new capabilities where we want your feedback. We will deploy these to Project Freewheel to solicit your feedback. Rest assured, development on Project Freewheel is alive in the lab. It keeps us up at night.