There are two versions of DGN:
- Up until 2000, all DGN files were based on the Intergraph Standard File Formats (ISFF) specification, published in the late 1980s by Intergraph. This is sometimes referred to as V7 DGN, or Intergraph DGN.
- In 2000, Bentley Systems created an updated version of DGN which includes a superset of DGN's capabilities, but which has a different internal data structure to the ISFF-based DGN. This version is properly referred to as V8 DGN.
In 2008 Autodesk and Bentley agreed on exchange of software libraries, including Autodesk RealDWG, to improve the ability to read and write the companies' respective DWG and DGN formats in mixed environments with greater fidelity. In addition, the two companies were to facilitate work process interoperability between their AEC applications through supporting the reciprocal use of available application programming interfaces (APIs).
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Many state and city governments officially made DGN the required file format for the submission and issuance of CAD Drawings. Subsequently, Bentley System's Microstation became the default application to be used in authoring DGN files. Governments were most likely swayed to adopt and specify DGN files due to their open sourced and non-proprietary nature, in contrast to the closed and royalty-ridden DWG format owned and maintained by Autodesk.
- ".DGN File Extension".
- "V8 DGN".
- "Autodesk and Bentley to Advance AEC Software Interoperability". 2008-07-08.
- OpenDGN - Bentley's OpenDGN initiative
- Microstation 95/ISFF Description (pdf) - Information on the ISFF/DGN file format as distributed with Microstation 95.
- ISFF Specification - Intergraph Standard File Formats (Element Structure)
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