Author Topic: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions  (Read 19295 times)

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Offline Rufus

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #25 on: March 06, 2012, 02:52:59 pm »
Dang!.......I was hoping to hack the vote so that Wintek's SmARTWORK for DOS would win........ :o

I haven't seen that in decades. Forgot what it was called. Searched the web and you can still buy it $495 - lol.
 

Offline bullet308

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #26 on: March 06, 2012, 05:51:47 pm »
Dave, How about a user vote on what package you should adopt.

My tool choice isn't a democracy, it's dictatorship at the whim of a madman  :P

Dave.

Sure. It seems to me its a matter of just what you are trying to do. As a design engineer in a production environment or even working on side projects, you would tend to be a lot more productive using Altium for the foreseeable future. It may ultimately be the superior package, though from the video you did on the schematic editor of KiCAD, it seemed to hold its own quite well. 

On the other hand, as the host of a video blog and website that is largely (mostly?) oriented towards students, amateurs and hobbyists, advanced and otherwise, it would be hard to justify spending a lot of time teaching us about a CAD package that most cannot justify purchasing. Perhaps what the military calls a high-low mix is in order, focusing on Altium and KiCAD and deprecating everything else. Or, you can at least look into going with KiCAD for everything, assuming KiCAD doesn't end up being crap in your eyes.

I don't know, but I can tell you as a viewer, I can see myself spending a lot of hours watching KiCAD-related stuff and cant justify anything like that investment of time in Altium videos. Also, I can see myself buying instructional materials for KiCAD, so it may be a better fit for your business model overall going forward.
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Offline Bored@Work

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #27 on: March 06, 2012, 05:59:45 pm »
I just saw the second part. #254

The struggle to find the layer selection/deselection was typical for KiCad. Dave was hovering right over the checkboxes with the mouse, but was still desperately looking out for a way to do it. Why? Because the stupid checkboxes aren't where one would expect them. They are behind the items, while every GUI design guideline in the world requires to place them in front. And that is where users expect them to be, in front of an item. And of course they lack any visual clue what they are for. Just having a "Visual" label in the tab pane is not enough. That is supposed to describe the purpose of the tab pane, not the  checkboxes on the pane.

I don't know why the KiCad programmers think the wrong way is better. I don't know why they place buttons all over the place in popup windows, and don't give them meaningful labels like "Create". I don't know why they mix buttons for supplementary functions right with the button for the main function.
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Offline madworm

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #28 on: March 06, 2012, 09:15:09 pm »
Good videos!

Although I've been using KICAD for a couple of years now, I liked watching them. I expected to hear / see a lot more cursing. Maybe that is still to come ( panelization  ;D )

If you should get to the cam files, try 'gerbv' as well. The gerber viewer that comes with KiCAD isn't useless, but at least visual quality of gerbv is much better (in HQ mode). gEDA relies on gerbv.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/gerbv/files/gerbv/gerbv-2.6.0/

There's even an installer for the unmentionable OS.

There you'll finally see solder mask clearance, which is set as a global option in pcbnew (or per pad).
 

Online EEVblog

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2012, 09:36:27 pm »
Sure. It seems to me its a matter of just what you are trying to do. As a design engineer in a production environment or even working on side projects, you would tend to be a lot more productive using Altium for the foreseeable future. It may ultimately be the superior package, though from the video you did on the schematic editor of KiCAD, it seemed to hold its own quite well. 

On the other hand, as the host of a video blog and website that is largely (mostly?) oriented towards students, amateurs and hobbyists, advanced and otherwise, it would be hard to justify spending a lot of time teaching us about a CAD package that most cannot justify purchasing. Perhaps what the military calls a high-low mix is in order, focusing on Altium and KiCAD and deprecating everything else. Or, you can at least look into going with KiCAD for everything, assuming KiCAD doesn't end up being crap in your eyes.

Yes, I've been thinking about that, and therein lies the problem. Unless a package is incredibly easy to use, the learning curve is going to be steep, and then may not do stuff easily like proper panelisation I need for production boards.
So I may actually end up having to use one package for simple stuff, and to promote to people doing simple one-off boards, and a more advanced package (DIPtrace, Eagle?) for more advanced stuff, or even sticking with what I know in Altium as you say - just to "get the job done" for projects.
Will KiCAD even handle panelisation easily? I'm thinking maybe not, and that might be a show-stopper for me personally.

Quote
I don't know, but I can tell you as a viewer, I can see myself spending a lot of hours watching KiCAD-related stuff and cant justify anything like that investment of time in Altium videos. Also, I can see myself buying instructional materials for KiCAD, so it may be a better fit for your business model overall going forward.

Any "instructional" type videos I do will not be how to use a particular package, but be as tool-agnostic as possible, and focus on the PCB layout in general.
But there is ultimately only so much you can do there.

BTW, I'm seriously considering making that sort of thing paid content stuff, and not part of the regular blog.

Dave.
 

Offline firewalker

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #30 on: March 06, 2012, 09:47:42 pm »
@Dave.

Write down your remarks, ideas e.t.c. You or anyone could open feature requests, bugs reports e.t.c. on KiCad.

Alexander.
Become a realist, stay a dreamer.

 

Offline bullet308

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #31 on: March 06, 2012, 10:10:06 pm »

Quote
I don't know, but I can tell you as a viewer, I can see myself spending a lot of hours watching KiCAD-related stuff and cant justify anything like that investment of time in Altium videos. Also, I can see myself buying instructional materials for KiCAD, so it may be a better fit for your business model overall going forward.

Any "instructional" type videos I do will not be how to use a particular package, but be as tool-agnostic as possible, and focus on the PCB layout in general.
But there is ultimately only so much you can do there.

BTW, I'm seriously considering making that sort of thing paid content stuff, and not part of the regular blog.

Dave.


Part of me would hate to see that of course (the part of me that would have to pay :-) , but another part knows you have to pay the bills and hopes thatyou can thrive as opposed to survive doing this. I would think going multi-tiered to some extent is inevitable given what you are trying to do here. Perhaps even tri-tiered (Free-Amateur/Hobbiest-Pro). All of that in my mind dovetails in nicely with the whole open source, free base product and value-added pay-for-service model, which has always made a great deal of sense to me.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2012, 10:17:19 pm by bullet308 »
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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #32 on: March 06, 2012, 10:26:20 pm »
Part of me would hate to see that of course (the part of me that would have to pay :-) , but another part knows you have to pay the bills and hopes thatyou can thrive as opposed to survive doing this. I would think going multi-tiered to some extent is inevitable given what you are trying to do here. Perhaps even tri-tiered (Free-Amateur/Hobbiest-Pro). All of that in my mind dovetails in nicely with the whole open source, free base product and value-added pay-for-service model, which has always made a great deal of sense to me.

Yes, unfortunately(?) this is my full time job and I do have to figure out how to make a living from it. The advertising won't last forever, I know that.
And something like this is a massive amount of work, and it would be silly to invest all that time on such a potentially valuable product and then just give it all away. Not to mention people who don't want a PCB design tutorial series get plastered with 30 episodes of that on the blog for 6 months straight.
I'm also contemplating writing a PCB design book, and would I spend a year of my life on that and then just give it away?, likely not.

Dave.
 

Offline gregariz

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #33 on: March 06, 2012, 10:48:48 pm »

Will KiCAD even handle panelisation easily? I'm thinking maybe not, and that might be a show-stopper for me personally.


I use a 3rd party panelizer (fab3000). It works well, but Its not free software, and I am unaware of one.
 

Online amspire

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #34 on: March 07, 2012, 05:28:16 am »
Will KiCAD even handle panelisation easily? I'm thinking maybe not, and that might be a show-stopper for me personally.
Other people have done it. You can open a new PCBnew load your board and position it, load another board with the "File - Append Board" command and position it, etc.

Here are 4 copies of the PIC Programmer demo board:



Richard.
 

Online Mechatrommer

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #35 on: March 07, 2012, 06:36:36 am »
havent look at both diptrace and kicad vidz due to our local enigmatic condition, i wish i could, soon. but imho, software is not a diode you can play 2 hours random with it to judge it. i'm expecting a more professional way of commentary or comparison from someone who basically know all the functions and read the manual. you know... different people, different programmers, different users or even different bosses got different paradigm about anything (one eg is pan and zoom issue, my paradigm is mousewheel for zoom in-out, click-drag-release for pan). but you have your way dave ;) as usual, YMMV.
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Online BravoV

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #36 on: March 07, 2012, 06:53:35 am »
software is not a diode you can play 2 hours random with it to judge it. i'm expecting a more professional way of commentary or comparison from someone who basically know all the functions and read the manual.

Totally agree with you on this Mech, but at this particular case, I also do love the instant and the Dave's unique non-scripted review, its sort of the other way of looking a product thru Dave's eyes, and for certain situations, I trust his judgement especially on 1st impression, this it self brings value to us as certain audiences which like myself, again, in this situation don't need or want to go thru lengthy review/benchmark comparison among products.

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #37 on: March 07, 2012, 07:28:04 am »
Will KiCAD even handle panelisation easily? I'm thinking maybe not, and that might be a show-stopper for me personally.
Other people have done it. You can open a new PCBnew load your board and position it, load another board with the "File - Append Board" command and position it, etc.

Ah, that will work nicely, thanks.

Dave.
 

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2012, 07:30:52 am »
Totally agree with you on this Mech, but at this particular case, I also do love the instant and the Dave's unique non-scripted review, its sort of the other way of looking a product thru Dave's eyes, and for certain situations, I trust his judgement especially on 1st impression, this it self brings value to us as certain audiences which like myself, again, in this situation don't need or want to go thru lengthy review/benchmark comparison among products.

And that's all it is, literally a first impression, without any video editing, thinking, checking, or retakes.
Yep, I'm sure countless people will think it's some sort of "review"  ::)

Dave.
 

Online BravoV

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #39 on: March 07, 2012, 07:51:34 am »
And that's all it is, literally a first impression, without any video editing, thinking, checking, or retakes.
Yep, I'm sure countless people will think it's some sort of "review"  ::)

Dave.

Yeah, the original concept of this blog aka "the unique non-scripted review" might take while for an acceptance among your audiences even among old timer like Mech does.

Personally I think this kinda preview makes your blog unique and prolly one of your strong selling point, so be patience waiting this to be fruitful someday.

Just don't screw this kind of series like doing it when you're on really bad mood or heavily booz'd ..... j/k. :D


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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #40 on: March 07, 2012, 09:28:53 am »
havent look at both diptrace and kicad vidz due to our local enigmatic condition, i wish i could, soon. but imho, software is not a diode you can play 2 hours random with it to judge it. i'm expecting a more professional way of commentary or comparison from someone who basically know all the functions and read the manual. you know... different people, different programmers, different users or even different bosses got different paradigm about anything (one eg is pan and zoom issue, my paradigm is mousewheel for zoom in-out, click-drag-release for pan). but you have your way dave ;) as usual, YMMV.

I would love to do a full review and comparison video, but that is a massive amount of work. So rather than give people nothing at all until I can do that, I thought I'd record my random first impressions and put up some content, and that's exactly what it is.

Dave.
 

Offline electrode

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #41 on: March 07, 2012, 09:34:41 am »
I liked Dave's style for these videos. I don't want to see it being easier than it is. If you have to type crap just to do basic things, I'd rather see Dave fail at it and call the program out for bad UI conventions.
 

Online Mechatrommer

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #42 on: March 07, 2012, 03:09:52 pm »
as i said, i havent watch it. just basing on experience/reading here and there (the community). for those of you who didnt know, dave was accused for being a PIC "funboy" sometime ago, just to let you know how serious this kind of "public announcement" is. me otoh, have no objection. i know dave's style is lovely, also expecting that, always is :D

ps: gone through quick read the old kicad help file, got some nice picture in it, but as always me lazy reading all :P, diptrace is quick enough for dumbass like me to learn by the video tutorial. and someone asked somewhere... no, we dont have to register anything to install/run the eval diptrace. and pray when this kicad is old and good enough, it will stay free open source, looking forward to it. sorry OT.
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Offline calin

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #43 on: March 08, 2012, 03:11:49 am »
Ha ha .. watched the vids and in some places I was smiling... nothing bad !! I was just remembering that I did the exact same ting when I started with kicad :) Yeah I did not read the tutorial/manual also  8)

When I started I went through the same choice Eagle .. darn it limits the board ..piece of #$%@$ !!! .. then what else ? Altium .. whaatt?!! 1000$ buks !! and I use Linux ... other eh whatever I ended up using kicad.

Now after years of hobby use I even use it for some real work  ... 2 years ago Kicad was worst but I can say the package has improved quite a bit since I started using it and sincerely once you get used to it is not that bad .. like Dave says "I like it !!" :) .  I think the reason for which Eagle has ended up as the tool of choice was that few years ago Kicad was not as good and Egle was the only other free decent thing around,  but sincerely now except the not so great components library (which BTW any serious designer builds his own in time) Kicad beats Eagle hands down. Even with the sometimes poor UI design I find it better than Eagle.

Dave .. I would love to see you going the Kicad way .. it would validate my insanity :) . Then I can beat the guy that told me that I am insane because I use Kicad and not Eagle .. he he


 

Offline Time

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #44 on: March 10, 2012, 04:14:19 am »
I enjoyed this demo, Dave.  Thanks.

My 2 cents is that I feel like the KiCAD designers are all native OrCAD users....a lot of features felt OrCAD-ish (OrC-ish ;) )...but I have not used any other platforms outside eagle and orcad.

-Time
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #45 on: March 10, 2012, 08:43:09 am »
The current interface is already the improved interface. When I first looked at KiCad it was simply chaos. The GUI apparently done by someone with very little experience in doing graphical user interfaces, and, this is maybe the key, without a knack for it.

They really made progress with the GUI, but it is still that I somehow think it is done without "love". I really hate how they convolute even simple things like placing some text. I hate how they still stick with that old CAD model "select tool -> apply tool to objects", instead of the now more common "select object(s) -> apply function to object(s)" model.
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Offline electrode

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #46 on: March 10, 2012, 08:46:57 am »
They really made progress with the GUI, but it is still that I somehow think it is done without "love". I really hate how they convolute even simple things like placing some text. I hate how they still stick with that old CAD model "select tool -> apply tool to objects", instead of the now more common "select object(s) -> apply function to object(s)" model.

This.
 

Offline McMonster

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #47 on: March 10, 2012, 09:02:44 am »
The current interface is already the improved interface. When I first looked at KiCad it was simply chaos. The GUI apparently done by someone with very little experience in doing graphical user interfaces, and, this is maybe the key, without a knack for it.

They really made progress with the GUI, but it is still that I somehow think it is done without "love". I really hate how they convolute even simple things like placing some text. I hate how they still stick with that old CAD model "select tool -> apply tool to objects", instead of the now more common "select object(s) -> apply function to object(s)" model.

I'm almost absolutely sure that was the case here. Last year I suddenly had to write an app with complex GUI focused on manipulating objects in drawing area. It worked exactly the same like KiCAD's still works in many aspects. It made me laugh when I first realized this. :) I have to look into the code, I may be able to do some good things with this experience.
 

Offline pachuma

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #48 on: March 10, 2012, 12:34:12 pm »
Unfortunately for Mac users, the only way forward is to still stick to Eagle.

KiCAD is so unreliable on a Mac that it's totally useless. I've been downloading versions every so often to see if there is any luck, but ... nah' there is no way to use it. You can play for a while with it but, it crashes every so often (very frustrating).
 

Offline madworm

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Re: #253 - KiCAD Install & Schematic - First Impressions
« Reply #49 on: March 10, 2012, 09:58:22 pm »
You know, there's always VirtualBox. It's certainly not as ideal as a native Mc-OS version, but there's really no need to feel compelled to use the limited eagle version at all. Unless you choose to do so.

I know that because 'everybody else' in certain circles seems to be using eagle the want to do the same is strong, but unless you choose to fork out money at some point that is a dead end.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2012, 10:01:19 pm by madworm »
 


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