Author Topic: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?  (Read 3687 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline rachaelp

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 156
  • Country: gb
ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« on: April 04, 2018, 05:03:37 pm »
Hello,

I have a large library of ASCII format DxDesigner library symbols which I would like to be able to reuse elsewhere. I don't have access to my old DxDesigner license anymore so can't open and export them from there but as they are ASCII files I am fairly happy writing a bit of code to parse them and convert them into another format.

So, some of the file is fairly self explanatory, some of it not so much so there would be a lot of trial and error while I tried to fathom out what was what. Does anybody have any information on the format of the DxDesigner ASCII files that might help make this task a little quicker? If you do that would be very helpful! :)

Many thanks,

Rachael
I have a weakness for Test Equipment so can often be found having a TEA break (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/test-equipment-anonymous-(tea)-group-therapy-thread/)
 

Offline DerekG

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 882
  • Country: nf
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 07:29:58 pm »
I'm thinking that the easiest way might be to locate another PCB design program that has an import filter that supports these ASCII files.

What design software are you using now? Does it support PADS ASCII or Mentor Expedition or DxDesigner files?

I have checked & DipTrace supports PADS ASCII 2005 files (might be full schematic & pcb files, rather than full libraries) & Altium supports the import of DxDesigner Designs & Library files.

Just a thought.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline rachaelp

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 156
  • Country: gb
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 08:16:23 pm »
Hi Derek,

Yes I agree using another tool would be an option, but I'd like to get it working directly really, it makes the workflow nicer and, well I kinda like the challenge! ;D

If I need some inspiration on how things translate I guess I could use an intermediate tool as part of the reverse engineering process. I don't have access to Altium unfortunately.

I'm using EAGLE. I've managed to parse PADS ASCII files and create some basic library elements from those, but I was able to locate a spec for PADS ASCII. No amount of Googling has turned up a valid link to a DxDesigner ASCII spec though unfortunately. I've started reverse engineering the format but it'll be a bit of a long slog I think, so I thought it might be worth asking on here in case anybody amongst the thousands of forum members had access to anything useful.

Best Regards,

Rachael
I have a weakness for Test Equipment so can often be found having a TEA break (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/test-equipment-anonymous-(tea)-group-therapy-thread/)
 

Offline DerekG

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 882
  • Country: nf
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2018, 12:16:33 am »
No amount of Googling has turned up a valid link to a DxDesigner ASCII spec though unfortunately.

Pretty much all the manufacturers keep their propitiatory formats closely to themselves. In fact you will likely find some additions to their code that has been specially put there to make reverse engineering it more difficult.

You will likely only locate information on their format if someone else has been out their & reverse engineered it.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline rachaelp

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 156
  • Country: gb
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2018, 01:39:44 pm »
Hi Derek,

I managed to find a small amount of information for the original tool (ViewDraw) which Mentor purchased and mangled used as the basis for their DxDesigner products. I managed to work out what was superfluous junk info and what could be ignored because it didn't map to anything in EAGLE and I can now import DxDesigner symbols into EAGLE quite easily  :-+

Many thanks,

Rachael
I have a weakness for Test Equipment so can often be found having a TEA break (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/test-equipment-anonymous-(tea)-group-therapy-thread/)
 

Offline DerekG

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 882
  • Country: nf
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2018, 10:28:04 pm »
I can now import DxDesigner symbols into EAGLE quite easily  :-+

Excellent news Rachael.
I also sat between Elvis & Bigfoot on the UFO.
 

Offline Daixiwen

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 261
  • Country: no
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 11:08:35 am »
In fact you will likely find some additions to their code that has been specially put there to make reverse engineering it more difficult.
I don't think Mentor Graphics put the effort to obfuscate their ASCII format. They have been too busy obfuscating the GUI for regular users.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2018, 08:45:10 am by Daixiwen »
 
The following users thanked this post: angust_uk

Offline rachaelp

  • Supporter
  • ****
  • Posts: 156
  • Country: gb
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 11:19:47 pm »
In fact you will likely find some additions to their code that has been specially put there to make reverse engineering it more difficult.
I don't think Mentor Graphics put the effort to obfuscate their ASCII format. They have been two busy obfuscating the GUI for regular users.

This is sooo true! :-DD I'm so glad I don't have to battle with it on a daily basis anymore! |O
I have a weakness for Test Equipment so can often be found having a TEA break (https://www.eevblog.com/forum/chat/test-equipment-anonymous-(tea)-group-therapy-thread/)
 

Online PCB.Wiz

  • Frequent Contributor
  • **
  • Posts: 475
  • Country: au
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2018, 09:14:41 pm »
I managed to find a small amount of information for the original tool (ViewDraw) which Mentor purchased and mangled used as the basis for their DxDesigner products. I managed to work out what was superfluous junk info and what could be ignored because it didn't map to anything in EAGLE and I can now import DxDesigner symbols into EAGLE quite easily  :-+

This sounds cool, did you publish this anywhere ?

KiCad V5.0 http://downloads.kicad-pcb.org/windows/nightly/] [url]http://downloads.kicad-pcb.org/windows/nightly/[/url] has a much improved Eagle importer, so it would be very interesting to see if your work gives a
DxDesigner to kiCad pathway
 

Offline Summer0228

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 1
  • Country: cn
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2019, 08:26:19 am »
Hi,Rachael
      Did you work out this problem. From the ASCII file, i cannt understand what the contents mean,  could you add some comments for the format for the file.Thank you!

Summer
 

Offline BrianB_NY

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 1
  • Country: us
Re: ASCII file format specification for DxDesigner symbols?
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2021, 01:25:09 pm »
Just wanted to add a clarification for those who find this in the future - the DxDesigner symbol format is a text file, but the format is not the same (or even close) to the .asc ASCII netlist format that is used between DxDesigner and PADS.

The schematic sheets used to be in this same format as the symbols before they moved to a binary icdb database file. I wrote a lot of programs to massage items in the ascii-text schematic file format back in the day before the tools matured to add things like net cross referencing etc.
 


Share me

Digg  Facebook  SlashDot  Delicious  Technorati  Twitter  Google  Yahoo
Smf