Exact Realty have partnered with Smidyo in a joint venture to provide Vector Express. Vector Express is a SaaS platform that addresses and simplifies many common tasks when working with vector files, providing conversion between a wide range of vector image formats as well as processing and analysis.
Vector Express is a unique offering because of the diversity of formats that it can handle, from AutoCAD DXF and DWG files to HP-GL to more common formats SVG and PDF and because of its flexibility: it can be used manually with the frontend at Vector Express or integrated with other systems with a flexible and well-documented API.
At Exact Realty, we view this project as a long-term parnership that will further our goal of offering infrastructure to our customers to automate and improve their business processes and are excited to be able to take a more active role in developing Vector Express.
Vector Express was born as an internal project in Smidyo to support Smidyo’s main offering, Smidyo’s Quotation Portal, a platform for quote automation. Vector Express played a vital role in the platform for businesses in the laser cutting sector, which require handling a large volume of vector images and where an accurate and reliable analysis of vector files is essential to providing accurate price estimates.
As the platform grew so did Vector Express and soon it was clear that it could be useful as a service in its own right. Exact Realty was involved in some of the design and development of Vector Express version 2, which introduced a new API and a more modular design for greater scalability.
At the time, Vector Express ran on a server with a graphical interface to run the different operations. The new version of Vector Express maintained and extended the existing functionality while eliminating the need for a graphical interface. It was also engineered with containers in mind so that it can be easily deployed in a way that is scalable and that its functionality can be extended for users requiring bespoke functionality.
Since Vector Express version 2 was released, it has grown in use and adoption, becoming an independent offering of Smidyo’s and it has been extended with new functionality, from being a conversion tool to becoming a tool that can also process images and run various analyses.
First and foremost, our priority is ensuring the continued operation of the Vector Express API with the reliability and accuracy that the service has become known for among its free and paid users. To attain this, we are migrating Vector Express to dedicated infrastructure to improve response time and processing capacity.
Once this first step is completed, we already have some features planned for improving the service. Although Vector Express has been designed with modularity in mind, it runs mostly synchronously and has a complex setup of interrelated dependencies. As we have gained experience from Vector Express and other projects, we believe quality of service can be improved by switching to an event-based and asynchronous model powered by microservices, which will not only improve response times but will also provide significantly enhanced horizontal scaling capabilities and isolation.
We also want to include svgcut as a processor, as well as improve the frontend to make it a standalone application that can be used for those that don’t require using an API and need more capabilities than the free plan offers.