On Sun, 30 May 2004 10:35:00 +1000, Ian wrote:

>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.

Thanks Ian and others for the comments so far. 

>I can't let this one go. The router and 3D I can agree with but Simulation 
>is fine, 

I'm pleased to hear you find the simulator improved and the 3D viewer less
of a toy. 

>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.

My expectations of Situs have always been subdued. I get the impression
that Neuroroute was a smart router which was never properly integrated (and
perhaps never properly understood) and that Situs is a development of the
previous Protel router which is still dumb but enhanced to support the new
design rule system. 

>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.

Ok people can use it in anger. Lets assume I'm not going to be stuck in
1999 (or 2000 or whenever 99SE came out) forever. I have to invest some
time and money. Having held off for 2 service packs, a release and another
pending service pack the money has gone up a bit but the time must have
gone down a lump, 2004 *is* less broken and klunky than DXP right? If I
hold off some more will it get easier?

>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 

The query system I can probably handle. 

>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?

Yes but it will piss me off in different ways. When design explorer was
something Protel were only talking about I suggested it should be able to
explore (and manage) any type of document. When it arrived we got a jet
database (because Protel thought we needed user access control) and
anything but Protel documents had to be stored as OLE objects. 

That severely limited "any type of document" to "any type of document from
an OLE compatible application which isn't broken". Plenty of them are
broken. For example viewing more than one PDF document at a time from
design explorer crashes it (Acrobat 5, don't know if Acrobat 6 is better,
don't know if the plain Acrobat reader can do OLE at all). 

The Jet database and OLE prevented exploring and managing with anything but
design explorer which also stuffed any third party version control.

Later we got the option to bypass the Jet database and engine and use the
windows file system. That still left non-Protel documents as OLE scrap
files and it seems the only OLE application which can directly open OLE
scraps is Microsoft office. 

Despite all these problems I still have many file system databases
containing OLE PDFs, word processor and other documents and if the OLE
system wasn't so broken I would have made more use of this ability. 

DXP has just blown this all away the baby got thrown out with the bath
water. 

99SE Design explorer is the only method available to me to access these OLE
documents. I believe when you try importing (or converting) a database with
DXP it will just place these OLE documents as scraps in the file system
which (unless they are Microsoft office documents) leaves them unusable. I
would have to open each document from 99SE save them as files, then use
windows explorer to explore and manage that half of my design databases. 

So I think I will find DXP incapable of completely managing my 99SE
databases and rather less capable as a design explorer and it has nothing
to do with everything being stuffed into one big .DDB file. 

I have memories from the DXP trial of the project 'pane'  being rather
klunky. I seem to remember things like text report files appearing there
when they were generated but disappearing next time you opened the project.
I assume there have been some improvements in this area. 

I suppose I should get hold of a 2004 trial and look for myself. 




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