At 04:56 PM 3/17/2004, Ian Wilson wrote:
On 08:31 AM 18/03/2004, Protel Hell said:
productivity, productivity, productivity
those are the three things that need improvement in DXP

This is an interesting comment. I don't like going back to P99SE for this very reason. I use DXP by preference, even with all the eye candy, due to the (generally) small things that improve productivity.

I've become active on the DXP list, even though my DXP productivity is a sad sight.


Having said that, it is clear to me that DXP is full of productivity enhancers. There are many features that we, as 99SE users, were asking for. This gets even better with DXP 2004.

The problem is that DXP really was a radical program reorganization in many ways. An expert 99SE user, trying to use DXP, is likely to run into obstacle after obstacle, unless he goes through a serious retraining. How much time will it take for overall productivity to become equal and then to surpass 99SE? I'd ask Mr. Wilson, he's been through it.

If he says, "out of the box," though, I'm afraid I won't believe him. And I remain unconvinced that the DXP equivalent of Global Edits is as fast and easy to use. More powerful and flexible, yes. Unfortunately, without proper care, "more powerful and flexible" can translate to "slower to use." The power and flexibility should properly be "under the hood." I.e., not exactly concealed, but as many programs do, under an Advanced Tab or controlled by a user option that reduces the number of displayed commands to what is most common, with the remainder still being there but one more click to access.

I think there are things that could be done, still, to improve the situation. One would be a serious hypertext manual with a fully functional search engine. The KB doesn't cut it. For example, DXP officially supports multiple pins with the same name. (This is really new with DXP, it was an undocumented feature, largely, in 99SE and prior, and was buggy. I'm not sure it is bug-free yet -- I haven't had time to really check it out -- but it is now clear that multiple instances of the same pin name are supported. It is in the DXP 2004 manual.) Now, try to find it in the Knowledge Base. If you search for Pin Name, you won't find it, I don't think. But if you search for Pin Designator, I think you will. Name = Designator. A good search engine -- the kind needed, will look up synonyms. Or the pages of the hypertext will have all reasonable synonyms embedded. The latter is the poor man's solution, but requires more labor....

Among other documents, there would be a largely user-generated document that anticipates -- from hard experience -- the travails of a 99SE user moving to DXP. Commands have been renamed, sometimes in ways that can make for serious frustration as something that used to take you seconds suddenly becomes an Easter Egg hunt. So there should also be a 99SE -> DXP command translator. It could have been built into the program, perhaps, but failing that, it could be a document.

DXP 2004 is definitely a step forward. Among other things, the manual is a good read. It is *not* a "DXP reference guide," i.e., a thorough and fully detailed, comprehensive manual. It is really a collection of articles on various subjects. Together they do lead one through most of what one would know, it appears to me, but the presentation is choppy. I like it and I don't. What this really means is that the book is good, it is just not organized as a manual/reference guide, though it contains some sections that are more like what would be in a reference guide and some that are less like that. The non-reference guide sections in some cases may be the best part of it!

There is a nice discussion of how Situs works. I.e., what *is* "topologically-based" routing? I found it clear and quite interesting. This is not manual stuff, it is background....

Again and again, reading the 2004 book, I came across new features that were just what we had wanted. Bus translation, for example: you can connect D1-D4 in one bus to, say, IN3-IN0 in another. No, I have not looked at how the actual naming is managed.... (i.e., what ends up on the PCB).

Is there any good list of DXP features not found in 99SE?




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