I don’t want to talk much, but give a short overview about what will come in the future.
Interaction with Cura over Windows automation:
Using PyWin32 another approach working concept has been found to improve the interaction with Cura. With modifications on Cura a way has been found to make it act like a server for Windows Automation. This way you can call Cura, like a service in the background – just like we do with SolidWorks so far, but now the other way around. The concept works currently so far, that functions like changing the material or the layer height can be called. Also all variables around Cura and it’s underlying software objects are accessible. However, what can’t be done so far, because of issues with PyWin32, is to receive signals, also known as events, over the COM-interface. Therefore if you are changing the printer you would like to slice for, you do not get any notifications about changed availability of slicable layer sizes or whatever else changes during this switch.
Interaction with Cura from SolidWorks:
As a consequence the development of this cloned sidebar of Cura inside SolidWorks has been freezed until the issues around PyWin32 have been solved. The following screenshot should show how it could look like and how far the concept currently is. You will probably notice the UPDATE button in the bottom of the sidebar. This is a workaround to pull the changes manually from Cura, because of missing feature of getting events.