On Mon, 29 Jul 2002 12:39:09 +0100, John A. Ross wrote:

>Just D/L it

So did I.   My impressions after 30 minutes....

1. Major Major cosmetic surgery.

2. It took me about 20 minutes to get the first application exception error
- not bad for a Protel 1.00 version (although it calls itself 7.0.xxx). 

3. Design databases appear to have vanished (although libraries still seem
to be held in access databases). I seem to remember the early bumph about
DX offering a choice of design storage - I assumed the two existing systems
and a less screwed up version of the existing file system database. 

All that you get is a (hopefully) less screwed up version of the existing
file system database.

... about 10 minutes playing later

Hmmm you get a crippled version of the existing file system database - It
seems that DXP projects can only hold Protel (or Tasking or whoever that
HLD place they bought out is) files and .TXT files. Add a .PDF file to the
project and it opens with the PCB editor - personally I think this is a
huge step backwards. The idea of 99SE as a design explorer - a container
for and interface to all files associated with a design was great, a great
idea with crap OLE and Access database implementation. Now Protel has
thrown the baby out with the bath water. 

DXP looks like an overly complicated IDE (Integrated Development
Environment) for the set of more or less unrelated Altium tools. Who the
hell wants to write a C or C++ embedded application in the same IDE you (or
more likely someone else) draws schematics and lays out PCBS?  The scope
for integration of these tools is limited and Protel's track record for
integrating such things is lousy. 

I notice all the PLD stuff is present (apart from the missing bits which
are probably still missing) complete with a 6 year old DOS executable. Do
you think it will work in DXP - like only 4-5 years after becoming

The previous simulator got scrapped before Protel ever got it working. 

4. Version control - a big cop out. Says it supports Microsoft SCC version
control interface specification (which means it will probably work with
Microsoft Visual Source Safe and nothing else). They scrapped the Access
database which lets you use a file based version control system and put in
few trivial hooks to call it.  A useful version control system needs diff,
and you can't diff Protel file formats with a 3rd party tool. DXP has some
kind of new compare engine but I didn't see anything to suggest this would
help manage versions in a VCS. 

5. It looks like there is lots of new (and probably welcome) stuff in the
core tools (PCB, and SCH) but I didn't look at them much yet - got too hung
up trying to convert a file system based project.  

So far so bad - I hope the improvements in the core tools are good enough
to carry the rest of the crap that comes with them and I assume it would be
smart not to use it till SP1 anyway, and then is it worth the upgrade
price? So far I am dubious about upgrading even if it were free. 

Cheers, Terry.

* Tracking #: 05D05B0D3DB9D241BE44EE98E34069D46FD1F2AC

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