After reading the many comments concerning DXP since it has come out it appears that the general consensus is that after a few more years of improvements they'll have hopefully recreated Protel 99SE. I know that many of the engineers I work with have tried DXP and given up in disgust, or at least have kept 99SE around for when they get in a jam with DXP. I haven't had the guts to try it yet since 99SE still does what I need.

At 01:21 PM 3/10/2004 +0000, you wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Wilson [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 10, 2004 1:49 AM
> To: Protel EDA Forum
> Subject: Re: [PEDA] 2004 DXP Looks Great,
> On 12:16 PM 10/03/2004, DUTTON Phil said:
> >Bill,
> >
> >My DXP is still in
> >the box.
> <..snip..>
> <snipped>

> Some people are using DXP and P2004.  Do they have a
> competitive advantage or not? What about those using other
> CAE programs?  I don't know the answer to this.
> I have still not see a detailed comparison, done by real
> knowledgeable users, of a wide range of CAE programs.  The
> closest I have seen is the comments by John Ross (thanks,
> John). I do know what I prefer to use, but I don't know if I
> am more or less productive than all the other options out
> there.  How does one know?


If I try to be objective I still have issues with DXP, and not just
because I was in transition to DXP from 99SE, but also the changes
required in work practices. But I keep trying anyway.

I found the change in working practice very difficult, I spent a lot of
time at work setting up quite rigid procedures to eliminate as much as I
could, the possibilities for error, from selecting a part to service
procedures & notices in the field.

The 'DXP way' does not lend itself towards this easily.

In a single user or workstation environment where the whole design is
driven/managed by one person, it is workable and very flexible, an
improvement, but start expanding it to other users, then the project
system without CVS is 'over flexible' and in some cases to risky.

I saw this, once I spent the time to understand what it does, after
trying to document the project management system within DXP, for our own
internal procedures manual & quality documents, in this respect I guess
I got over confident with the 99SE ddb system because of the single
container method it used. DXP is very counter productive in this

For such a project based system within DXP to work, without CVS, it
really needs a more rigid project, folder based structure.
I already posted some suggestion on the DXP list.
In that post I described the DXP project system (without CVS) as 'over
flexible'. Without CVS, DXP project integrity is at risk, especially in
a multi user environment, compared against 99SE where the ddb structure
allowed permissions to be set within a single data container.

>From a GUI view I found the excessive use of panels in DXP for the same
or similar tasks a risk, some things could be done & not applied, some
could be undone. The panel organisation was not always logical causing
additional (unnecessary work & thought) I think some issues were logged
for this and it also appears on the DXP/99SE comparison list on your
home page.

This is a very common fault in most software as these feature types &
GUI are usually decided by Developers, rather than users, developers are
normally too close to realise they are over-engineering or
misinterpreted the users suggestions (Cannot see the wood for the

Hence DXP has the feel of a software IDE, rather than a SCH=>PCB
platform, which will not sit well with anyone not used to software IDE's
or trying it for the first time, first impressions tend to 'taint' the
users objectiveness towards any benefits they find after that and also
restrict the amount of effort they will invest in it due to the
perceived pain it will cause.
It is a harder sell, even to oneself, that time spent on DXP will be a
benefit when one is already happy with 99SE.

I do use multiple tools, my tool of choice for design entry is Protel, I
measure their respective worth\benefits to me in a few ways, some of
which may only be a benefit to me, as they are keyed to the way I work,
how many clicks to get everyday tasks done, process time to avoid error
for common tasks, how much time I need to spend learning new tricks to
get it to work, investment in retraining vs. frequency of use of new
features and so on.
I also look at what the software does for me automatically (constrained
of course) and if I have to keep thinking 'what next'.
If I have to keep thinking about the next step I need to take, after 3-6
months of using the software, I call it 'clunky' or at least it deserves
the title non-intuitive, if it does not become a 'natural' conditioned
response in my working time it is not as productive as it should, or
could be. DXP fits in that category. I expect the software to work for
me, no me work harder for the software.
I really do feel a facelift would give productivity benefits in DXP.

I gave up with the router in 98/99/DXP almost from the start and decided
to waste no more time on it, I use another layout/router package for
boards that need it. Works better for me that way, although I have had
some boards, using Protel router, pass my desk, that look pretty good to
me, but how much time it took to get that way who knows.

The above is just some thoughts of mine, Ill skip the temptation to rant
about the query system, as my issues with this system is mostly due to
my own failings in understanding\attaining the disciplines needed to
drive the beast efficiently.


Ray Mitchell
Engineer, Code 2732
SPAWAR Systems Center
San Diego, CA. 92152

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