It would have been nice to be able to just "select" a single via, as it appears that you can do with pads.
There are at least four ways, one of which you noted. As you mentioned, one can create a via different in diameter or hole size (better the former), and then use via specification scope. One can use the net to affect all vias on that particular net. (But one should probably have all vias set for direct connect anyway. That ought to be the Protel default. A situation would be rare where the best solution is to thermal-relieve a via.) One can use a free pad instead of a via; that way one can name the little beastie, and one can create as many varieties as you like. And one can define a region which is tight around the via.
Back to the Area question, the "Region" seems to be the answer. "Footprint" won't
work with a BGA, since most vias related to a BGA are actually free vias, which are
part of the fanout, and not the "Footprint".
If the fanout is part of the library part, they should be affected by Footprint scope. If not, there might be some combination scope (i.e., Footprint = X and Via Specification). But, really, one ought to direct-connect all vias, I can't think of a reason not to do it.
Now the only question is can I do this in DXP?
I'd be astonished if it couldn't be. But it is not clear to me how to do it. The question really should be asked on the DXP list, but I think Mr. Smith, if I recall correctly, may have burned his bridges there....
For me, the matter of interest is that it is not easy to figure out how to do it in DXP. Maybe I should read the manual, a cursory scan did not pick up the needed information.
I'm pretty sure that the procedure would be to define a Query that selects the objects in question. That I can do with Vias generically, which would solve the present problem. However, some of the possible scopes in 99SE seem to be missing in DXP, in the Query Builder (under Edit). There may well be some way to manually create them, but, again, this is already a fair amount of work compared to the few keystrokes required in 99SE.
But the query in the Rule Wizard (Advanced/Start with a blank Query) has even fewer scope options than the already reduced set in Query Builder.
I've suggested in the past that there be a user panel to provide suggestions and guidance to Protel as they chart the future of the software, and I know the matter was under consideration. The Query technique is a great idea, conceptually. But I don't think it was necessary to kill the old functionality in order to implement the idea, and a user panel would almost certainly have recommended keeping it, at least as an option, or would have otherwise ensured that (1) full functionality and efficiency was maintained, and (2) retraining was made relatively painless.
The situation *should* have been as the salesperson claimed, and I see no reason why that could not have been done. It could still be done, not all the horses have left the barn.
The user panel should be chosen by users; its function would be advisory; Protel would necessarily retain, however, veto power over nominations to the panel, though I doubt that users would recommend members for the panel who would necessitate vetos. (Veto would properly be exercised where there was a concern regarding non-disclosure; being a hard critic of Protel would not necessarily disqualify one, and, in fact, listening to the hardest critics can be very useful. But if a critic was so angry that non-disclosure or advisory process were threatened, yes, exclusion would be appropriate.)
I do have ideas as to how users could *all* be represented on the panel if they so choose.... Imagine what it would be like if the company could communicate with its users as if they were a single customer. There are those who think this would be hard on the company, but, personally, I prefer to have intelligent customers who know what they want and who are also amenable to suggestions. They are much easier to please than a faceless crowd.
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