There are actually two Freewheels in the world.
Project Freewheel still exists on Autodesk Labs as a technology preview. This is where Freewheel got its start. The URL is: http://freewheel.labs.autodesk.com.
Autodesk Freewheel is the production version of Freewheel. It was created when companies told us that they liked Freewheel but did not want to base their business “on somebody’s science project.” The URL is http://freewheel.autodesk.com/.
Browser capabilities vary – particularly on mobile devices. For example many can only handle 2D instead of 3D. Though it is possible to experience Freewheel in a browser on Windows, a mobile phone, or Macintosh, Mac users wanted a more native user experience – Austin Silver Software to the rescue.
In 1995 when Brian Mathews invented DWF, I was his software development manager. We were working on WHIP! – a Netscape Navigator plugin. Our marketing manager was Jason Pratt. Jason Pratt is actually the brains behind Austin Silver Software. Austin Silver makes an application called McDwiff which is a native Macintosh application (look and feel) but relies on Freewheel to render the DWF file. In other words, it communicates with the Freewheel server that creates the images of the DWF file and returns them. Recently Austin Silver Software has expanded its offering to include a version of McDwiff for the iPad. Jason would love your feedback at [email protected].
Sharing two ways to view design content without a CAD application is alive in the lab.