Ian Wilson wrote:

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.

I have installed 2004 today and intend to do one simple 2 layer orphan board in it before deciding whether to stick with it or move to Expedition. So my experience comes from doing 2 orphan boards in DXP with SP2 and what I have heard from others.

I have 2 issues with the new method of global editing. First, it is slower. The 99SE global edits could be done with just the mouse, or a couple of characters. This means that the right hand stayed on the mouse and the left hand stayed on the keyboard, which is how most of the time is spent in the program. If you have to type sentences into a dialogue box, that means you need to either move your right hand back and forth between the mouse and the keyboard, or you need to type a bunch of stuff with the left hand, which is really slow. So in the end, to do the same things takes more time and reduces productivity. Regardless of how powerful the new features are, if they are slower for doing the things you do 90% of the time, they reduce productivity.

Constructing a boolean equation is trivial for most people who have any experience with programming. However, learning a set of keywords that are not defined anywhere is a huge problem. Guessing what keywords are and what they mean is not the way to be using a software.

The other problem area is lack of documentation. The paper manual and PDF white papers are woefully inadequate. As an example, if you were to pick up the manual knowing nothing about the inspector and query language and tried to figure out how to do a global edit, I doubt you would be able to figure out.

I am sure I will have a critical report in a few days. The board I am starting on would have taken me one long day to do in 99SE. I am budgeting 5 days, which includes transferring over my libraries and setting up the program. If I have to spend more time than that, I will spend it learning Expedition.


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