Data translation requirements:
An apparent indication that CAD data translation is now an accepted part of the complex mechanical design world is the emerging trend towards building translators into other environments and other applications. The dependability and stability of explicit translators now means that there is considerable benefit to be gained by initiating not just batch translations from other applications, but also from managing the pre- and post-processed data in product life-cycle management (PLM) systems. The result is a requirement for an automated job manager to schedule the translations, initiate the translations, perhaps share resources across a network and deliver a variety of different file types to a PLM system.
Another major change is the way in which translators are now being developed. Whereas once it was necessary to reverse engineer a translator, that is to in fact de-code the source and target CAD file formats, this is no longer essential. The PLM vendors now provide API's (application programming interfaces) that enable authors of translators to create new translators very quickly and to have a high degree of success even with early releases. This move away from dependence on reverse engineered code also reduces the risk of translators becoming redundant through a change in the data format of a CAD system.
So, the question "are we nearly there yet?" doesn't help. It is more useful to ask the question "Where are we going?" or possibly "What do I desire to do with the translated geometry?" User, who asks these questions & carefully believes the answers, has the highest likelihood of getting the right solution for his own data translation requirements.