> From: JaMi Smith [mailto:jamismith@;sbcglobal.net]

> Unfortunately, my experience with the Protel / Altium is that 
> you only get
> one chance at one Helpdesk Potplant, and if that one Helpdesk Potplant
> doesn't know the answer, then you are SOL.
> 
well then the problem is with their support structure, not their potplants.

You can't expect someone with years of PCB design experience to sit around
at altium waiting for the phone to ring with someone who has a problem.
Especially when 90% of the time it'll be some silly printer driver related
bug or a lost serial number.....

> Yes, "someone" at Protel / Altium has in fact been writing 
> software for
> about that length of time, and yes there have actually been gradual
> improvements in the software, and yes it is a "generally 
> useable" tool for
> the engineering community.
> 
> But, speaking as someone who has used many of the EDA 
> Software packages out
> there and also as someone who owns his own Protel 99 SE / Protel DXP
> license, I can say that Protel is deficient in many many 
> areas when compared
> other system that are available out there.
> 
Obviously in a few areas it's ahead, though.

As an owner of multiple CAD programs though, you are obviously aware of
sillyness in the functionality of the other programs you own, yes?

> The real question here is first whether or not Protel / 
> Altium knows those
> standards and practices and to a certain extent follows them, 

The question should be "does protel allow you to design to specific
standards"
and I think that yes it does.

And I still think that programmers dont need how to design, but reading your
examples, maybe they need to spend a bit of time (and money) talking to some
engineers a bit more seriously.

> and secondly,
> and more directly concerning us here in this discussion, does Protel /
> Altium violate or fail to meet those standards and practices 
> by deleting a
> legitimate 4-way connection, eliminating De Morgan 
> equivalents in schematics
> and Logic diagrams, or by leaving out a "QTY" column on the BOM.
> 
Standards are one thing, Practices are a different issue.

the BOM thing is just silly, I agree. but its not that they have removed
that specific functionality. they removed the "protel bom" feature from the
software, right? and good on them for doing that... who wants a text file
BOM anyway? I've spent ages turning those text file messes into useful excel
documents when I tried using them before. In 98 and 99se Excel BOMs were
always the way to go. Now a qty field in the excel BOM would be nice, and
save everyone writing a script to do it, but that was never there, its not
like they deleted specific functionality here.

I'll come out and say now that I've never used DXP. I will one day - but
that time is some way off. I didn't start using 99se till mid to late 2000
for many of the same reasons. I dont know of any major software these days
that is stable and reliable on a first release. And I'm not prepared to pay
upgrade costs for the privilege of wasting my time doing unpaid beta
testing....



julian

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