On Tue, 30 Jul 2002 12:41:05 +1000, Ian Wilson wrote:

>>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).

>Yep. How did you get it?

Trying to find out where schematic ERC had gone which I assume is now
somewhere in the process of 'compiling'. 

In the Navigator panel navigating schematic violations clicking on a
'Related object' gave an access violation. I just loaded that project again
to check on what things were called and it gave and access violation with
the first click in the Navigator panel. I haven't figured out quite how the
navigator is supposed to work but it seems pretty clunky. 

>>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.

>I think this is due to the problems of making the DDB (actually JET DB 
>files) work under version control. If the view is taken that version 
>control is of increasing importance, and the DDB can not be made to work 
>effectively within a VCS, then maybe the decision to dump the DDB is 
>understandable.  I guess I will miss it for a while at least, if I make the 
>move to DXP.

>I know many of us have been wanting good VCS integration and many others 
>did not like the DDB at all.  Maybe the union of these two groups is more 
>than 50% of users?  Dunno.

I always said the Access design database was a dumb idea. The design
explorer was a good idea, almost all my projects have non-Protel files in
the Design database. I was hoping DXP would make design explorer really
work like windows explorer (instead of just pretending) and get rid of the
OLE embedding (which was only there because 3rd party applications can't
open files inside an Access database). But that's history now and anyone
with OLE objects in their file system databases can look forward to tedious
manual conversion from OLE and having to browse their projects with Windows
explorer *and* design explorer. I don't actually know if the supplied
Access database conversion converts embedded OLE objects either.

>>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.
>
>It works with others.  I have Perforce going and DXP seems to access that 
>OK.  There are SCC add-ons for all the normal version control systems as well.

Well maybe my idea of version control differs from the norm - I use RCS for
software projects from the command line. I mostly keep real 'versions' in
the system - only versions which I may need to reproduce or be documented
because they were issued or released to someone for testing. Occasionally I
will check in if I get to a point I might want to revert to but I don't
check in and out every time I edit a file (producing a zillion minor
versions). Being able to check in and out from the editor I'm using isn't a
big deal for me because I just don't do it that often (I never bothered to
integrated RCS in my editor which is supposed to support it). 

I don't use VCS for non-text files, there isn't much benefit, you can't
diff them so just zip them with version in the file name and add comment. 

Protel ditched the Access database which was a good idea regardless of VCS
and hooking a 3rd party VCS into DXP is not much work and not that much
benefit. 

A while ago a place I used to work at were talking about a VCS on Mentor
systems. They were saying you could highlight a schematic or PCB diff on
screen and apply or remove it step by step with the cursor keys or mouse or
something. The engineer responsible for the design could come along and
check in a few minutes what the draughtsman had done in the last day or
two, then he could approve it by swiping his card through a reader on the
machine. More like ECO management, but then version A with ECO x,and y
becomes version B. A CAD VCS needs viewable diffs, and/or ECO management,
not just a storage system with enforced naming conventions and enforced
commenting. That is why I call what DXP has a cop out.  

>Me thinks there will be a deal more discussion on this line over the next 
>few weeks.

I'm sure - but it isn't going to change anything soon - the only question
for most of us is do we want DXP instead of 99SE and if so do we want it as
much as the upgrade price. 

I remember some of the promises about DXP that were on the Protel web site,
something about "new design database storage systems allowing designers to
manage their designs and work the way they want to work". DXP has one new
storage system and it is less flexible and less capable than the 99SE
system. The only advantage seems to be you can open a file without having
to put it in a database first - pretty much like Protel PCB could 15 years
ago. 


Cheers, Terry.

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