Autodesk is one of the worlds top 5 software companies with over 50 software products that are constantly changing, so there is always something to learn! For example, you know about the cloud, but do you know about all of the Autodesk products based in the cloud?

You know about plugins for AutoCAD and Revit, but do you know about all the free API & plugin blogs, forums and training that you can leverage? Until now, much of the Autodesk development information was limited only authorized Autodesk Development Network (ADN) partners like HingePoint.

But did you know that over the past few years Autodesk has made much of this information public? Read on to learn about the best development blogs, best training sites, and free plugins. Unleash the power and maximize your investment in Autodesk software. HingePoint has assembled several of the best free Autodesk development resources for you.


The Autodesk Developer Network Open

First up, the Autodesk Developer Network “Open”. The information within the network used to be available only to members of the Autodesk Development Network… but did you know that it is now open to everyone? That is why it is called Open!

The network is an open forum for interacting with other Autodesk professionals. From platform techniques and cloud management to manufacturing models and incorporating media, there is always something new to learn here.

It is a bit expansive (not expensive… just expansive ;-), so if you are looking for a very specific answer to a question, there are enough blogs on APIs, forums on every platform, and free training/tutorials to find an answer. It is a simply super, open resource provided by Autodesk.


Autodesk Community Forums

This site hosts ALL the Autodesk forums covering a bajillion topics. Here you can see trending topics that may be relevant to your software or company. The best feature may be the ability to post questions directly to the community of current users and experts. Official experts from Autodesk also participate and answer questions in real time.

If you are working out tough issues related to Autodesk APIs, web services or development, you can absolutely get your questions answered here. If you don’t get your question answered in the community forum, call us at Hingepoint as we have been Autodesk developers for over 20 years.


The Building Coder – Jeremy Tammik – Perhaps the Best Revit API Blog

This is probably the end all, be all, blog on Autodesk Revit API. It specializes in how to automate the design and building process in 3D. Expect it to be updated every few days by author Jeremy Tammik, leader of Revit development and a HingePoint favorite. Revit is the best 3D BIM modeling tool on the market. It features an open API that allows HingePoint to create powerful automation solutions for our clients. So… we are big fans of this blog.

Jeremy tends to provide screenshots and code snippets that help bring clarity and value to his tutorials. His posts extremely useful and user friendly. If you follow only one blog… follow this one.


The Autodesk Exchange Apps Site (APP Exchange)

One of the great features of AutoCAD, Revit, Civil3D and other Autodesk products is the ability to create & use your own plugins. By developing your own “plugins” for new features and functionality, you expand the power of already best in class software.

Did you know there is an App Store for Autodesk Plugins, similar to the App Store at Apple? Cool right?

The Autodesk App Exchange has 1000’s of plugins for AutoCAD and Revit ready to be downloaded, and installed in an instant. You can search by product (such as “Plant 3D”, “Fusion 360”, “Navisworks” or “AutoCAD”). Some Apps are even free and ALL offer a free 30-day trial to so you can “try before you buy”.

Fair Warning- these are not developed by Autodesk, but 3rd party developers. If you need a specific plugin not currently available, HingePoint also specializes in creating plugins to automate processes, drive efficiencies and deliver consistent results.


The Autodesk Education Site – Free Software for Students!

Everyone needs to start somewhere when learning Autodesk. Autodesk applications are a bit complex and require a great deal of training (note: Autodesk considers anyone with under 5 years experience an intermediate).

Trying to dive into the programming APIs with no experience is a recipe for disaster… so the official Autodesk website provides educational assistance to expedite the learning curve.

Announcement: students enrolled in an accepted college course, or university, have access to free software and discounts! Check it out on this site!

Current college students, who need the software, should look here first. The Education Master Suite and Entertainment Creation Suite provide helpful programming tools for different needs. Each suite is tailored toward different degree programs. Additionally, all students can order student versions of Revit or AutoCAD at no charge!


And As A Bonus, The “Mega” Resource:

The Autodesk University Conference

Well this one is not free, but it has to be mentioned with our list because of its extreme value. For the ultimate conference and education experience, attend Autodesk University held every year in Las Vegas, NV. The event is held the same week every year… the week after Thanksgiving break.

Expect powerful keynotes, classes, a huge trade show floor and our favorite… the Innovation Forum. As you tour the trade show you will see live panel discussion, 3D modeling solutions in action and 100’s of great seminars. HingePoint participates every year and is available to meet, grab a coffee and discuss recent trends and product launches. Contact us if you want to meet up at AU this year.

Visit Autodesk University for the latest information on Autodesk University including, how to register and the best hotels to stay in. We suggest you register early because the most convenient hotels fill up fast. Accordingly, the best courses and presentations have a tendency to fill quickly. You can plan your conference schedule online and sync it to a mobile app for an easy conference experience.

In closing, there are numerous helpful blogs and websites regarding Autodesk, you just need to know where to look. We have suggested a few key sites to explore and build your expertise. Why are these sites important?

The best clients are well educated and able to engage, challenge norms and the status quo. The AEC community is loaded with leaders willing to learn and grow. Stay up with them!