Abd-ul Rahman,
        see my comments below.


Brad Velander
Lead PCB Design
Norsat International Inc.
#100 - 4401 Still Creek Dr.,
Burnaby, B.C., Canada.
voice: (604) 292-9089 (direct line)
fax:    (604) 292-9010
www: www.norsat.com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Abd ul-Rahman Lomax [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2001 11:12 PM
> To: Protel EDA Forum
> Subject: Re: [PEDA] Use Pad Stack
> I can't do *anything* about either of these factors. But I *can* do 
> something about how I use a program and what I expect of it. 
> If I am doing 
> something which pushes the envelope, it behooves me to very 
> carefully check 
> my output. What I have said is that a surface pad with a hole 
> is pushing 
> the envelope. It's a rare beast and thus has seen little testing.

        Abd-ul Rahman how can you define a single layer pad with a hole as
pushing the envelope? I have used this type of design in at least three CAD
packages over the years and extensively in P98, all successfully. So where
is it defined that this is pushing any envelope? With each and every CAD
package there are operations which are not clearly and defined as do-able or
not do-able. We all know there are 101+ things to do with a dead cat. So we
try them, if they work they are do-able, if they don't work they are not
do-able. P98 it was do-able, P99SE it is not do-able, but it also generates
flaky output data so it is a P99SE bug.

> How then, was the bug created? Mr. Wilson, does any one of us 
> think that a 
> Protel software engineer *wanted* to make the program behave 
> as he has 
> described? If he did, and if it were discovered that he did, 
> I assume that 
> he would be out of a job. No, I think that no one even 
> dreamed that this 
> bug would be introduced. And we did not discover it in beta test, I 
> suspect, though I'm not certain about that.

        I don't think that this bug was introduced intentionally, not at
all. However the response that I got, supposedly forwarded from a
development team member, was ludicrous. It simply stated that this was not a
bug because single-layer pads should not have a drill or else they are not
single layer pads. If the use of a through hole in a surface mount pad is to
not be allowed from P99 forward then there is still a bug because the output
data does not synch.
        There are so many bugs (or if you like, programming oversights) in
Protel that you can drive a semi-trailer through. And the type of response
that I got demonstrates why these bugs exist. The development team members
do not take responsibility for their code and Protel does not take full
earnest responsibility for their product.

        For example: Why does Protel allow component footprint names which
exceed their stated name length or contain illegal characters. Then when you
use a name with illegal or excessive characters the program fails during
some mundane operation. Not only that but they do not inform you of these
illegal characters and only state the name limitation on one page of the
documentation in a very obscure area, no where near the library editing or
part creation areas.

        I have been around long enough and have even lead product
development teams for a few years, one of the first rules in software
development is that if you have specified limitations on input then you code
these limitations in your program code, no exceptions. This will eliminate
countless other bugs and operational quirks down the road that can take 10
times as much effort to isolate and fix then simply limiting input during
the input process.

        For example: I am a new user trying to create a new footprint. I try
to use an illegal character ("space" for this example), the program will not
accept this character. Even if I have never read the manual (which didn't
state anything anyways) what do I do? I either assume it won't accept that
character or a quick call to Protel confirms the illegal character. As it
stands now, I get no initial error and carry on my merry way possibly for
days or weeks. Then at some juncture I need to modify and update that
footprint from the library, it doesn't update properly to the PCB. What are
the various complexities involved to now discover the root of my problem?
Repeat this scenario for all the possible illegal characters (I don't think
that anybody knows which are all the illegal characters) and then throw in
as well names that exceed the specified 12 character limit (is this even
valid any longer? Has this been increased recently without changing the
manual?). All of these possible problem scenarios just because some
programmer didn't properly limit their input options for one field of user
entry. Pretty sad.

> Abdulrahman Lomax
> P.O. Box 690
> El Verano, CA 95433

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