The Onshape app experience is changing for the better. Since the inception of the Onshape App Store in 2016, our apps have been constrained to separate tabs within Onshape Documents. While this may make sense for a wide range of applications and workflows, there are times that a tabbed experience fails to represent a cohesive environment. That is why we’re thrilled to announce the addition of application extensions. 

First, what are application extensions, and what do they mean for you? Well, that depends on who you are, but for the sake of this discussion we’ll assume you’re a modeler using Onshape. What this means to you, is that you’ll be able to interact with those apps in a wide variety of new and improved ways. These new methods add contextually sensitive awareness, let you see app data more closely integrated with your design data, and we’re only just beginning to reap the benefits.

Application extensions were technically released in V1.118, but until there were real examples to share, it just didn’t make sense to tout their benefits. However, now that we’ve seen a huge uptick of adoption among our app developers, users can start to enjoy the fruits of this change. 

To explore the impact of this new development, let’s look at four application examples and how they’ve put the app extensions to use.

OpenBOM

What it does: OpenBOM for Onshape brings the power of OpenBOM to the Onshape application extension flyout, putting your Bill of Materials in context of your Onshape assembly for easier and more accurate BOM management.

The OpenBOM for Onshape application extension gives you and your team – or extended enterprise – the tools to accurately create multi-level product structure BOMs (EBOM, MBOM, XBOM), manage parts and vendors, automatically calculate and itemize part sizes (X,Y,Z), roll up subassembly and top-level costs, assign and manage Part Numbers, classify your Onshape parts and assemblies into reusable and extendable global item catalogs, perform order and inventory planning, create POs, and connect Onshape to ERP and other systems in a single connected process.

The data you create in OpenBOM is available outside of Onshape and can be shared with anybody you need using OpenBOM’s Share command or using OpenBOM Team/Company access control and sharing settings.

Duro

What it does: Duro provides Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) – a centralized source of truth – for all of your company’s critical engineering and manufacturing data. Duro can be implemented in days (if not hours) to help reduce your overhead and accelerate your engineering output.

Kellan O’Connor, Co Founder and CCO of Duro Labs, explains the Duro app extension: 

“Having PLM information contained within a separate tab caused some disconnect between design operations and the management of product data in Duro PLM. Now that Onshape users can access Duro PLM within the Onshape design space, their efficiency will be enhanced significantly,” he says. 

3DfindIT by CADENAS* (coming soon)

What it does: 3DfindIT.com, the engineering search engine for 3D components from CADENAS, provides users with easy access to millions of CAD models from thousands of international manufacturers and a range of intuitive search methods. This new function helps to speed up the product development process and significantly shortens time-to-market.

Ordinary search engines are not designed to provide technical, engineering results, but 3DfindIT.com was developed to significantly reduce technical search times and to increase efficiency for mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering and construction.

With the 3DfindIT app extension, engineers gain intuitive search methods such as 3D Shape Search, Sketch Search, Color Search or Function Search – making it easier to find the exact part they are looking for. The search functions are tailored to suit the needs of CAD users to find parts faster and reduce design time.

OneIPM

What it does: OneIPM is an integrated project management solution for Onshape that produces rich visual design history, additional document exploration methods, and task management for design and non-design teams.

The OneIPM extension is a bit of an outlier here, as it's the first app to integrate extensions from the initial release. OneIPM uses the extensions to provide a more coherent organization of product hierarchical information and task management. In addition, its consistent use (and placement) of project management details and information makes for a great user experience and intuitive use. 

As you can see, these are four unique solutions, to four unique problems. With the addition of Onshape’s application extensions, our end users are the real winners, as they’ll find more access to partner products in more logical ways. If you already have these apps, make sure to explore these new options, and if not be sure to try them today

Note: If you’re a developer, you’ll want to see the documentation as well as watch this introductory video: