No. 340 . 27 June 2007 
ArchitectureWeek
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Bentley Conference

by Susan Smith

A software user conference isn't always just about demonstrating new products. It can also be about the underlying vision of the hosting company. That was the case with the Bentley BE User Conference, held in Los Angeles in May 2007. Company spokespeople explained their philosophical approach to their upcoming platform release, code-named "Athens," and bolstered their announcements with examples of progress in building information modeling (BIM), sustainable design, and future research.

In a keynote address, chief technical officer Keith Bentley stressed the importance of a software "platform," which he described as "a software development philosophy, where software is built in layers, and each layer solves a general purpose problem. Each layer above it extends the lower level. By the time you get to the top level, it leverages all the capabilities of the lower levels."

The platform structure expands the reach of the software company, and the scope of problems that can be solved with their software is much bigger because the general-purpose levels have already been created. One of the benefits of this approach is that as the platform grows, the old techniques continue to work and you can embrace new ideas without having to give up the old.   >>>

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