hmm… yeah, i think i see what you’re getting at and in the situations you’re describing, i don’t think collada will be best or even close to best (mid-design exchange, in/outs from other engineering programs, manufacture, etc)
i’m looking at it from the point of view of the .3dm being THE design… it’s the accurate one, or the engineered one, and the version to be constructed, etc… in other words, i’m not looking for a way to get rhino data into solidworks or proE or even autocad and the likes.
collada is for the visual side of things-- at least with my personal intent… the archviz aspects. accuracy isn’t important at that stage and it’s more about how things look and/or can be communicated to someone without modeling or cad experience.
look at lumion for instance:
that’s collada imports… sketchup is another app which, while it’s not necessarily limited to archviz only, is a lot more beneficial (to me at least) if i use it for archviz only instead of the convoluted and sometimes impossible methods necessary to create accurate working drawings of designs containing anything other than straight lines/flat surfaces… but sketchup developers have openly said collada is their main focus as far as import/export goes… they do support some other formats-- import .dwg or .3ds… there are ruby based plugins which allow import of OBJ or STL but they’re horribly slow (as in- 3hrs slow)… the transfer to sketchup with .dwg is hit or miss and often solids will lose their solidness… stray geometry all over the place etc… .3ds is ok except it’s limited to 60k or so polys so i’m sometimes left dividing up rhino models just to get them into sketchup… reassemble them… then back out as collada from there.
and re-mentioning that osx itself supports .dae and it’s the only format (that i’m aware of) which you can natively open on mac and explore/navigate in 3D… (collada is controlled by the khronos group… the same people managing openCL & openGL… .dae is an open standard 3D exchange format which is why, i think, a lot of the bigger companies are pushing for it to take hold)
there are of course other solutions but they all involve different developers doing different things… apple already supports collada and that would be the biggest hurdle… the sketchup developers aren’t making an OBJ importer which would solve a lot for me personally… but i’ve tried and tried and it’s not happening… they’re pretty firm about .dae being the future for this type of file exchange (and they’re also not-too-cool about giving 3rd party devs easy or any access to updated .skp sdk(?) so 3rd parties could make proper .skp exporters… lumion- i’m not even sure what they could do other than directly support .3dm… (fwiw, i don’t use lumion-- just using it as an example of what collada is good for)
with rhino already exporting collada, i figured my best (and maybe only viable) bet was to see if it could go into the mac version as well.
anyway-- this is what i meant by ‘personally looking for a .3ds alternative’ and ‘best bet, all things considered’