At 06:10 PM 1/29/2004, Kerry Berland wrote:
We did a custom project last year in which we were asked to use Orcad Layout
in place of Protel. It was an ordeal. Lacked behind Protel in dozens of
ways. Error checking was poor, user interface difficult to learn, limited
undo, many other shortcomings. Our opinion--their schematic capture program
is decent, their layout program was truly awful.

That was my experience. Capture okay, Layout a terrible experience.

To be fair, however, Capture and Protel Schematic are similar in many ways; but Layout and Protel PCB are worlds apart in their approach. A trained Layout designer is likely to find Protel PCB frustrating.

(My standing joke used to be that this was because banging your head against the wall is an OrCAD Layout procedure, it doesn't work in Protel.... But it *is* a joke even though I had an awful time with Layout; I was a Tango designer at the time. Protel was much more congenial *to me*.)

Later on we did another custom project with some very talented engineers.
Got to talking about layout packages. One engineer said, well, out here in
Southern California, a lot of people use Orcad's schematic capture program,
but virtually nobody uses their layout package.

I did some market research before deciding to buy Protel. As I mentioned, I was a Tango (DOS) user, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to find new customers for what was becoming a pretty obsolete program. I could do the designs, that wasn't the problem, the problem was compatibility with potential client CAD systems. I found lots of Capture users and, yes, few Layout users. But the majority CAD system among my likely client population -- small engineering firms for the most part -- was Protel, which was surprising, since at the time Protel was not advertising in the U.S. and was considered somewhat of a joke by other CAD companies. Protel? Protel who?

Anyway, my advice to our adventuring wayfarer is to take some serious time to retrain with Layout. It has a ... different ... way of doing things. Don't expect it to be like Protel! And I'd suggest keeping a lab notebook, so once you learn how to do a thing, you don't forget. To me, the OrCAD Way was often not very intuitive, and I'd spend a day trying to figure out how to do something that would take me a minute in Protel, and then, next day, I'd have forgotten how to do it. Only part of this is age....

One thing I didn't do, back then, was to join an OrCAD user group....

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