Ian, Thankyou for your recap of DXP history.  I have had exactly those
questions.

One item I would like to know if they improved was the ERC for parts with
multiple pins of the same pin number.  This could be a module with 4
mounting holes that all get ground nets and you do not want to put them all
on the schematic symbol.  Or the classic TO-220 with the tab hole and pin 2
connected to the same net. P99SE seems to have a hard time with the two "pin
2" pads, both from connectivity and ERC.

I recently built a dual component dip footprint for through hole or SMT lead
form optocouplers.  There was a SMT pad touching the usual through hole dip
pad.  Each pad pair had the same number.  Both received the net name from
the netlist import but sporadic DRC errors showed up, mostly clearance, on
random pins.  I still have not been able to come up with a rule set that
clears the errors.

Does DXP handle those items better?

Charlie Jenkins

-----Original Message-----
From: Ian Wilson [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002 6:11 PM
To: Protel EDA Forum
Subject: Re: [PEDA] 10 best options I want


On 10:58 AM 1/12/2002 -0500, Mike Reagan said:
>Hello All,
>
>Several months ago, We have all took our shots at blasting Altium for DXP .
>I would like to hear some positive feedback on the progress on DXP
>schematic.
>  I am not sure how good the schematic tools are,  or if there was a big
>improvement from 99SE to DXP.     I would like to hear from some of the
>experienced designers out there about any  real advantages to switching to
>DXP for schematic.  I work with a few engineers that are eager to upgrade
if
>the tools  have an advantage.    Any inputs?  (positive only)

Here is my summary, very incomplete, very personal and in no particular
order:

General:
1) Bi-Di blowing and sucking from P99SE seems OK (with some provisos on the 
use of names for parameters etc, and some new rules can't convert of course)

2) Speed on my old PIII-450 256MB is marginally acceptable (I did not 
really expect this). There is a significant speed hit compared to P99SE, 
though.

(Note: It only currently works under Win2k and XP, not NT or 9x.)

3) Integrated libraries offer a better level of control in some 
circumstances - library contains sch symbols, footprints, sim models etc.

4) Stability generally seems good to me.  I have had a number of AV's but 
only once lost any data, and that was doing a non-core operation (copying 
and pasting from a sim chart into a word processor - I am not sure what 
others would say about stability but I do not see a lot of complaints on 
the DXP forum.

Sch and Sim:
1) The new query engine is great.  It is more complex and possibly does 
help if you have some experience with software development and 
booleans.  It is much more powerful than the old global operations stuff. 
The applies to Sch and PCB.

2) The ability to use version control properly is a big plus.

3) Right-click and drag panning in Sch.

4) Freely addable parameters at both the library and Sch level.  (Pins and 
projects can also have parameters.)

5) Better control of footprint source.

6) *Much* better ERC - including the important ability to check for 
unplaced parts of a component (power supply sections, preventing floating 
inputs...)

7) The initial problems with the loss of selected vs focussed are now 
watered down by provision of a number of tricks, and the provision of a 
selection memory, such that this is no longer an issue for me - this was 
one of my *major* reasons that I could not go with DXP seriously.  I am not 
sure the new system is as good as the old, but it is certainly no longer a 
critical issue at all, for me at least.

8) Database linking is much improved I believe (including to Access and 
SQL-based including MySQL etc).

9) <comment on feature removed due to current SP2 Beta>(I forgot the 
feature I wrote about here originally was affected by the latest SP 
Beta.  Take it as read that this is a very nice and powerful feature that 
extends greatly P99SE abilities. Couldn't be bothered re-ordering all the 
list numbers.)

10) Sch Part field can be locked to reduce the chance of accidental changes 
- useful for those that work with a "one-symbol per company part number" - 
a 4k7 resistor will not have its value entered instead of replacing the 
part from the library.

11) Filtering and masking features - stuff can be masked off (greyed out) 
and then not subject to edits. You would have to see it to understand 
it.  Linked to the query system.

12) Dropping a two pin component onto a wire will (optionally) break the
wire.

13) Co-linear wire segments are (optionally) joined - so removing stray 
autojunction hotspots.

14) Much better dual monitor support.

15) Support for multi-channel designs, including some user suggested 
options for naming components in the channels.

16) Better support for build variants - though I have not tested this in an 
serious fashion.  Design variants is something we do heaps of.

17) *Much* better simulation viewing.

18) Easier mechanism to integrate sim (and other) models into a 
component.  Though there are still some quirks here, nothing like as 
convoluted as P99SE though.

19) Having our user suggestions (if presented well with a clear 
justification) implemented a few weeks later - get involved and your worthy 
ideas get implemented.  It is great to see in a program that many will not 
easily be able to change from - the pain level in changing a CAE pkg is 
high.  I take the view that it is much cheaper for me to get involved and 
see my ideas appear than it is to move CAE vendors - at least up to some 
bug/misfeature level anyway.

20) Control over hidden pin connectivity on a per pin basis.



PCB
1) Much more powerful rule system.

2) Board shape stuff is OK.  If it helps split plane checking, then I can 
live with it.  It may even prove to be a winner.  It certainly means that 
you can have mechanical details and sheet templates etc and still get 
reasonable reports from board info.

3) Auto-pan issues fixed - hopefully forever but I certainly can't tell for 
sure on my old clunker.

4) Intelligent (?) dimensions that can stay associated (and rescale) with 
entities.

5) A much wider array of dimensioning tools (radius, angle, baseline etc).

6) Net ties - should be able to do away with most of those kludges like 
wiring on unused layers and the "Lomax Vitual Short"

7) Flipping selections works correctly - no need for multiple pass 
operations as required under P99SE.

8) Much better rules for checking component (and object in general) 
locations (InRegionAbsolute, InRegionRelative, TouchesRoom, WithinRoom 
queries).

9) Polygon rooms.

10) Ability to copy room formats (multi-channel design)

Dislikes:
1) The autorouter still needs more work, it is not yet the breakthrough 
many had hoped.  There is lots of work going on on this at the moment I 
gather.  This would be my biggest disappointment.

2) The UI is different and a number of the dialogs are harder to read than 
previously.  They may be useful for new users but one rapidly looses this 
benefit as you become familiar.  This would not be a go/no-go factor in a 
buy decision but it is an issue that is coming up in discussions at times.

3) As mentioned the loss of selected vs focussed was originally a *major* 
factor.  Huge leaps and bounds have been made to overcome the loss of 
functionality.  This would only be a minor issue for me now as I can 
certainly work effectively with the updated editing mechanisms and tools.

4) Forced upgrade to Win2k/WinXP.  I was already using Win2k so it is not a 
big issue for me, but I hate to see programs encouraging users to pay MS 
more money.

5) Slower than P99SE - but what is surprising about this.  My main beef 
here would be that some (much?) of the speed loss is possibly due to eye 
candy rather than features.  Still, as has been discussed before, for most 
engineers a 1 to 3 year lifetime for a computer system is not atypical.  I 
just hate it when caught by the out-of-sync upgrade cycles (like I am now).

6) There are still bugs, of course.  There are also some improvements that 
users are wishing that have not (yet?) been implemented.  But I, and 
others, are very impressed with the speed of progress and as I said it is 
great to be able to influence the product.  Those that are not involved 
will have to stay with P99SE, move to something else, or "suffer" what 
about a dozen other users convince Altium is worthwhile.



Question: Would I use DXP for real work?  Yes, I would.

Gotta do some real work now,
Ian Wilson


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