> The SDK will be of some use as you can map values seen in the ASCII file
> ranges for the various types (whose values are not given in the SDK
> documentation but can be found either by browsing the SDK files or by a
> process of experimentation.
> Rant on
> Note that the SDK is covered by an NDA that prevents public
> discussion.  The NDA has a one year limit.  Those that have downloaded the
> SDK more than a year ago are free to discuss it (as I see things
> anyway).  Those who have downloaded it more recently are restricted in
> the can legally say.  Since you are not a user you may not care but people
> who use Protel for their bread and butter are likely to be more wary.  The
> situation is complicated a little by the fact that as well as the original
> SDK files there was an update (two actually) and these are presumably
> covered by the same NDA - so the one year time out may be reset to the
> latest of the dates one downloaded an update or maybe just the changes in
> the run-time update are restricted for the longer period.  Also, I have
> asked, on a number of occasions, that Protel release the users from the
> to allow user-based help (as Protel Support do not officially support the
> SDK), but was recently informed this would not happen.  Protel closed the
> moderated pre-release discussion forum which closed the only option we
> (legally) have for discussing the SDK, though on two occasions I have been
> referred (by Protel) to the PDEV mailing list and told I can discuss issue
> on the SDK there - in contravention of the SDK, unless the 1 year limit
> elapsed and was not reset by the download of the SP6 run time
> update.  Confused?  I am?  I have lots to discuss on the SDK but nowhere
> do it?  This is one major aspect of Protel that I am really p***ed off
> Rant off,
> Ian Wilson

It has now been more than a year since I downloaded the second update for
the SDK files (and in any event neither that update nor the previous update
provided any updates to the *documentation* provided with the original
release of SDK files; both updates incorporated just files of a compiled
nature). As such, I consider that discussion of the SDK files should now be
kosher, or at least for those who, like myself, downloaded the second update
more than one year ago.

I know that you are aware that I consider that the SDK files incorporate
code of a broken/incomplete/misdocumented/undocumented nature; the handling
of layer pairs and layer stackup specifications, for starters. I would have
liked to have seen our PCB Inverting server develop through to a functioning
product, but those aspects have been problematic...

Last year, I took a look at the trial version of PCAD 2001, and that
provides a similar capability for users to create their own "addon"
software, using (Altium provided) DBX files, which can be used with either
MS VB or MS VC++ (or even with Delphi, after porting the source code
originally provided for use with MS VC++ (which has actually been done by
one of PCAD 2001's "power" users)).

These DBX files are provided by default (even with the trial version), and
there is no associated NDA that users have to be a signatory to (for either
the purchased or trial versions). As such, I am at a loss as to why Protel
99 SE users wanting to use the SDK files are expected to be a signatory to a
NDA (and there was no such NDA for using the CSDK files released for use
with Protel 3 or Protel 98).

As the boss depicted in the local TV advt for Yellow Pages says, "Not happy,

Geoff Harland.
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