I wasn't going to get involved in this thread but one comment in this post prompted me to write something. A few (!) extra gratuitous comments for free.

On 09:07 AM 30/05/2004, H. Selfridge said:
The biggest hangup is learning new ways to do what you do quickly in 99SE. Some of the shortcuts and menus you have come to know are gone - replaced with more powerful, but more involved methods. What you do almost automatically with global edits in 99SE takes time and thought in DXP2004.

Personally, I find most of my globals are now faster in DXP/P2004 than in P99SE - as I can apply changes across multiple objects at once which makes many globals faster. Still others may have different experience.

There are more "bells and whistles" to learn - some good, some just fluff that you will never use. Some features aren't mature enough to use yet with confidence for production - the router, 3D, and simulation for example.

I can't let this one go. The router and 3D I can agree with but Simulation is fine, as good as can be expected in a world where device manufacturers assume you own PSpice. Certainly Sim in DXP/P2004 is *much* better and easier to use than in P99SE where adding in models was like yoga in its contortions.

3D is much better than P99SE but still needs work. At least you can bring in your own models now (with care). IGES export produces enormous files that other mech CAD programs can seem to choke on (one small design I exported as a test created an IGES file of more than 300MB, TurboCAD took more than 5 minutes to load it, making it look like it had hung). There are promised improvements to this so maybe this will get better over time - but that is hardly a buying decision point.

The router has not worked for me on my test board - no router I have tried has (P99SE, Situs and Electra) so maybe this board will always be a manual rout. Tony Karavidas is making progress, I gather, on understanding how to setup and drive Situs. I will be giving it another go, this is an area of continual development so maybe SP1 (in pre-release testing now) will help things. Certainly this is my biggest disappointment.

Terry, is it time for you to upgrade? Lots of people are using DXP, and now P2004, for production work and have been for some time. Either those people are uninformed, Altium-mouth peices, or the suite can be used. If you think any of those using DXP/P2004 are reasonably capable and worldy-wise then you have a starting point.

Of course some of these are using it while still asking for it to be better. If the comparison is between P99SE and P2004 then you may well get a very different answer to P2004 vs other CAE programs. There are many of us DXP/P2004 users that, while using it and even preferring it over P99SE, would still like to see more changes and improvements.

The learning curve is very significant in only one major commonly used area but this affects quite a few aspects of the software. The query language is like a small programming language that you can use to select and mask objects in your design. This language uses boolean operators (AND, NOT, OR etc) and a provides big bunch of key words like "InPolygon", "InNet", "InNetClass" IsPad etc etc. The time it takes to get a feel for what keywords to use and what keywords may exist is significant for some people. There is pretty useful help and helper dialogs that mean you don't have to fly completely blind and use guess work, but it does help a *lot* if you can guess what sort of keywords may exist when you are faced with a problem. If you have any programming experience you will be at an advantage over others that don't I suspect. There is a mouse right click function, Find Similar Objects, that sort of looks like the Match By columns in P99SE globals - this can help select things when you want a simple query. It is also useful to help learn and see the structure of the language. The query language affects a number of other areas of the program - mainly multi-object editing (globals) and design rules. To get the most of the suite you need to get some mastery of the query language - here is the main learning curve, IMO.

I guess another area that took some learning for me (but like a day or three) was the loss of persistent selected state and the idea that an object can be focussed but not selected.

Other areas that feel different mostly do so due to different names (compile a Sch to make it ready for updating the PCB, replaces the ERC function for example - most people I have seen comment on this don't like the word "compile").

If you import external netlists often you may find the new method of doing so a pain. I do not know this first hand as it is not something I do. You can either add the netlist to the project or you can fiddle with some dialogs and advanced modes and find the netlist on the disk each time, I gather. (Projects are just file links so updating the netlist externally should not require it be added to the project again, just the update from the project would have to be run again.

Others have complained about the loss of the DDB - this is a bit funny as when P99 was released with the DDB there were lots of complaints. There are some implications for this - a P2004 project is designed to basically store one final target assembly - be that an FPGA, a compiled code set, a library or a PCB (actually it is possible to have multiple PCBs in a project but only one top level Sch sheet is allowed). You can have multiple projects open in a workspace. However, some people have said that this offers them one less level than in P99SE where they could have one DDB for each client (say) with multiple projects in each DDB and multiple DDBs open at once. Is this important to you?

It is worth "pursuing" P2004? If you do, and you don't like it, then you can blame all those that convinced you (if you like to do that sort of thing). If you don't you can hang on to your money and still go on designing electronic products as before. There is a list of stuff added to P2004 over DXP but there is no comprehensive list of stuff that P2004 has over P99SE - I think it would be worth Altium's time to produce this list since there are many still using P99SE and they will probably at least want to know what the difference is.

Sorry for rabbiting on,

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