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This is the first instalment of our "Featured Developers" series. We have a wonderful community of developers, hackers, and innovators around Speckle building great things with our open source software. We'd like to shine a spotlight on some of them and give them a chance to brag about the cool things they've been up to 😉

If you'd like to be featured, hit us up at [email protected]!


About The Development

A Speckle Connector for TopSolid is being developed by the Laboratory of Numeric Cultures for Architectural Projects (CNPA), part of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

In our lab, we work a lot with TopSolid, a CAD-CAM software well known in the Mechanical Engineering field and especially in the Wood industry. Its main capability is to integrate the whole process from Design to Manufacturing. It is also powerful for its integrated Product Data Management (PDM) and exact Geometry Modeling based on Parasolid.

Due to its high potential and interest for our research and teaching, as well as for the AEC industry, the CNPA Lab is developing two plugins for TopSolid to enhance interoperability with other AEC software: a Rhino.Inside plugin and a Speckle Connector. Hence, both are based on Open source initiatives. We chose to integrate the Speckle solution as we are very much in favour of Open Source software, as alternatives to inefficient file exports involving proprietary formats, with the aim of replacing them with modern and practical solutions.

Early results are promising and we believe these developments will help bridge the gap between the different professions in the AEC projects using different CAD-CAM tools related to their fields.

GitHub - ENAC-CNPA/Speckle.TopSolid
Contribute to ENAC-CNPA/Speckle.TopSolid development by creating an account on GitHub.

Ahmed Wael

Ahmed headshot

I am an architect and a holder of a Master's Degree in Digital Design from the School of Architecture of Nancy, France. Originally from Cairo, I moved a lot between Egypt, France and Spain for my studies and work, before joining the CNPA Lab at The EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland as a Scientific Assistant.

Currently, I am coordinating the development of two plugins for TopSolid, one of which is a Speckle Connector for TopSolid. Although I am not a software developer, technically speaking, my work involves a lot of code and development. I personally like to do it keeping an architect's mindset, thinking of specific use cases, linked to real life situations in the AEC industry. I originally started coding in C when I was a student, I also used Grasshopper’s Visual Programming and wrote Python scripts. Recently, I began using C# to work with TopSolid’s API, which is .NET based.

Working on the Speckle Connector was a challenge, as we are not part of the Speckle Team and had no knowledge of the development of previous connectors. However, open source projects are great for this, as we were able to check the source code of the existing connectors, which made it easier. Also, we reached out to the community many times and it was of great help. I think anyone who wants to develop their own connector for a new software can and should do it.

Finally, I would like to say that I really enjoy working on this. I love the spirit and the positive vibes of the Speckle Community and I always keep track of the latest features and releases.

You can find Ahmed on twitter @ahmedwael94 and on GitHub @AhWals

Thomas Hächler

Thomas headshot

I am a GIS expert (Geomatician), specialized in application development in the infrastructure and AEC industry. I am also a CAD trainer and a developer (Autodesk Developer Network).

Nevertheless, I am the founder of Platform5 as well as the project Mintello.app for project management. I joined the CNPA Lab at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland to participate in the development of the process of building permits, based on the BIM standards, with an application at the Geneva State administration.

Currently, I am developing applications for Revit and AutoCAD, and am also participating in Open Source projects in the AEC related to BIM (like Speckle, but also Bimaps.io). I like to find solutions to the challenges I face by capitalizing on my 20 years of experience in a variety of industry projects, and then share the results with the Open Source Community !

Contributing to the development of the TopSolid Speckle Connector is the most spectacular example of technology involved in collaborative methods.

Thanks to the Speckle Team support, we managed to get a first promising result for different business applications.

Working with a Team that is both fun and dynamic like the Speckle Community let’s know for sure that we are pushing ahead the limits of the impossible.

You can find Thomas on twitter @ThomasHachler and on GitHub @Tamu.