The Future of Collaboration in Fusion 360

by secorw 6 years ago 3 min read

A couple weeks ago Kevin posted on what the Fusion 360 team is working on for the next few releases. There’s a lot to be excited about! In this post I’ll go into more detail on the future of how you work with your data and collaborate with others in Fusion 360 (as promised earlier). And expect that future to arrive soon, because we release frequently.


Project Management, Libraries, Activity, and People


We are cleaning up the list of projects and adding a smoother project creation workflow inside of Fusion. Libraries will be available alongside your list of projects. We are starting off with some standard hardware (nuts, bolts, etc) and will expand from there, moving toward more content and the ability to author your own libraries. Inside of projects you will be able to view project activity and an improved view of your project members.




Distributed Designs and In-Use-By UI Update


AKA X-refs and better display of what you and your teammates are currently working on. Soon you’ll be able to externalize parts and subassemblies of your overall design. A huge benefit of working this way in Fusion 360 is that references are automatically tracked and maintained, so renaming or moving components won’t ever result in broken links. And now different people can more easily work on different parts of the design. This, combined with an improved view of who is doing what, will make working with your team that much easier. Look for both of these around February of next year.




Concurrent Design with Branching and Merging


Our team is super excited about this one because it solves so many common design problems that we’ve heard from the community, both in Fusion 360 and other programs, and improves workflows for both teams and single designers. Branching and merging lets you easily:


  1. Work in parallel with other members of your team.
  2. Explore changes or alternatives to a project and keep changes that make sense while leaving behind changes that don’t.
  3. Understand how your project evolved over time and what decisions were made (and why).
  4. Restore or reuse any design(s) in your project from any point in your project.
  5. Use any point in your project as a starting point for a different project.

As an example of #1, take two designers working together on a mountain bike. After agreeing on a rough layout one works on the frame design and one works on the suspension in parallel, each without worrying about who has which files open (or “checked out”), and without having to play games with copying designs and changing names or folder structure. They just move to a branch and start working.




As the pair reaches points where they are happy with the frame and suspension their progress is seamlessly integrated into the main version of the bike (as illustrated below). And if there is ever a conflict, such as changes to the same part made in parallel, Fusion 360 lets them compare alternatives and pick a winner.





What’s cool is when this is released you’ll be able to continue working with Fusion 360 in the same way as today, and these powerful new workflows will be a click away when you need them.


We would love to get your feedback as all of this is actively being designed and developed. Also a lot of the team is at Autodesk University (AU), Las Vegas this year, if you are joining us at AU, we’d love to hear from you in-person.



Will Secor

User Experience Designer

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