Sweet Home 3D 5.3 was released on November 16, 2016 with a new file format, improvements and bugs described in version history.
Evolution of the SH3D file format
The SH3D file format has proven to work well during the past 10 years since it was scalable enough to support the various features additions that appeared in Sweet Home 3D. But this file format was usable only in programs written in Java, and had to evolve to improve the openness of SH3D files in other environments. Still based on the ZIP format, the new format includes an additional entry named Home.xml which describes the edited home at XML format respecting the DTD available in SweetHome3D.dtd. The entry named Home used for the same purpose until now is still present to ensure the compatibility of SH3D files with previous versions of Sweet Home 3D, but will be removed in a future version where SH3X files will contain a Home.xml entry rather than a Home entry.
In all cases, the future Java versions of Sweet Home 3D will always be able to read existing SH3D files, so don't worry for the files you designed in the past.
Sweet Home 3D revival under Linux
Sweet Home 3D had some hard times under Linux during the past months. A blocking bug made the program unusable with Java 7/8 when a texture was applied on room floors, and some users couldn't even run the program under recent versions of Ubuntu because of 3D issues. I finally found how to circumvent the aforementioned bug so the installer is now delivered with Java 8 to benefit of a better drag-and-drop support, and upgrading Java 3D to its latest version 1.6.0 fixed most 3D issues.
As using this new Java 3D version might slow down the program or still provoke some 3D issues for a few users, I also added to the Linux installers the
SweetHome3D-Java3D-1_5_2 script to run the program with the previous version of Java 3D. I hope that the feedback of more Linux users will help to make Sweet Home 3D work only with Java 3D 1.6.0 in a future version. To help users know the Java 3D version in use in the program, a line about it was added in the About dialog box.
I also checked that Sweet Home 3D works correctly under Mac OS X 10.12 (Sierra) where you'll still have to download Java 6 to run the installer version, or install Oracle Java version to launch the Java Web Start version. Under Windows, using the older Java version 8u51 resolved some issues encountered by a few users with Sweet Home 3D 5.1 and 5.2, that's the reason why a copy of the JRE 8u51 comes with the Windows installer rather than a more recent one.
This version brings also a few improvements and bug fixes:
- The Zoom in and Zoom out tools moves the visible part of the plan to display the current selected items when possible.
- When a background image is used, walls are painted with a half transparent pattern while drawing them or while placing doors and windows. This allows to view partly the walls and the windows shown in the background image when the walls drawn in Sweet Home 3D covers them.
- The detection zone of the indicators at the corners of the selected piece of furniture or the visitor doesn't include the surface of the piece or the visitor anymore, to make it easier to move objects and the visitor with mouse in the plan at small scales.
- The computation of the area of rooms drawn with a hole in their middle is now correct.