Author Topic: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!  (Read 7084 times)

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Offline Docara

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Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« on: October 04, 2018, 06:44:53 pm »
Now I will admit I am a complete novice using Kicad. I will also acknowledge I haven't read all the documentation I should have done. But my God the interface of Kicad is F***ing HORRIFIC!!!! Why can't I have multiple schematics in a project - I have one project with a requirement of 4 PCBs. Why can I have multiple sheets without 'hierarchy'. Why can't I import a schematic into an empty Project (because I accidently loaded Eeschema independently). WHY is the F***ing cursor permanently snapping on the screen so annoying...The list goes on!!

By way of making a point before I get a right royal kicking from the Kicad fan boys. I loaded up Circuitmaker and proceeded to try and enter the same circuit as I was trying to do previously. After struggling with the daft component selection system (Kicad does this way better) within a couple of minutes I had tens of components placed and wired up with nice intuitive right click mouse clicks a appropriate. What an out and out pleasurable experience. It is such a shame I now have to go back a trawl through Kicad's documentation to figure out how to use it.

I this day and age we should not have to sit on the bog with a tablet reading software's instruction manuals. SOO lets think about this laterally, you have loaded up a word processor. Would you expect to have to read the instructions before you work out how to type 'words' in - NO.

If Kicad developers want to make a HUGE difference to their users lives the ought to take a leaf out of CM/Altiums user interface. With what Kicad can do it would quickly become the go to PCB package. You know I would pay for Kicad if the paid option was for a useable interace.

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Offline Bud

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2018, 07:13:09 pm »
You are going to get standard replies that what you want does not matter.
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Offline sethhillbrand

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2018, 08:09:56 pm »
You know I would pay for Kicad if the paid option was for a useable interace.

OK.

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Online james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2018, 08:38:33 pm »
It does have a horrific UI. So does every other professional level EDA I've tried. It's the price
of a tool being powerful and flexible, not to mention free. Read the documentation and/or watch some tutorials, many of the things you complain about can be fixed or worked around. If there are specific things that you find are broken, you can file a bug report. In the end though it's a bit like a 5 axis CNC machine or a commercial airliner, they are not easy for a beginner to just sit down and use because they are complex machines intended to be used by trained operators.

KiCad is like any other EDA. You learn to use it and work around the warts. It will never be a polished iOS app.
 
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Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2018, 09:27:04 pm »
I loaded up Circuitmaker and proceeded to try and enter the same circuit as I was trying to do previously. After struggling with the daft component selection system (Kicad does this way better) within a couple of minutes I had tens of components placed and wired up with nice intuitive right click mouse clicks a appropriate. What an out and out pleasurable experience. It is such a shame I now have to go back a trawl through Kicad's documentation to figure out how to use it.

No one is forcing you to use KiCad, so use Circuitmaker?  I don't see the problem.  :-//

It's funny how entitled people get when you give them free stuff.



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Offline coppercone2

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2018, 09:46:58 pm »
get altium. I used to use eagle cad and its horrid dog shit UI is night mare inducing. I don't think its meant for people who grew up on earth. I understand KiCAD might be similar to Eagle.

altium UI uses human logic. or the other thing (circuit studio?) is also decent.

at least its not GIMP LOL
« Last Edit: October 04, 2018, 09:48:30 pm by coppercone2 »
 

Online Bassman59

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2018, 11:41:26 pm »
I understand KiCAD might be similar to Eagle.

Your understanding is not correct.

A year and a half ago, I wrote,

Quote from: me
That's because the Kicad developers have a suggestion that goes along the lines of: "If there is a question about how to implement a feature, look at how the leading Maker favorite package does it, and do the opposite."
 

Offline coppercone2

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2018, 12:09:00 am »
at least it proves eagle cad is developed by space aliens
 

Online SiliconWizard

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2018, 12:14:05 am »
Quote from: me
That's because the Kicad developers have a suggestion that goes along the lines of: "If there is a question about how to implement a feature, look at how the leading Maker favorite package does it, and do the opposite."

Good one! :-DD

Thing is, as I understood it, KiCad was once developed by a single guy who, if I'm not mistaken, was a teacher. Impressive work for a single developer but... the context says it all, pretty much. The key GUI features come from the original ideas, especially in the schematic editor which is the part that has been the least reworked of all. Anyone that had to deal with software written by university teachers will probably know where I'm heading to.

I've taken a look at the source code, although not extensively, but changing the GUI substantially would probably require a complete rewrite.
To be fair, they have done a pretty decent job with the layout editor's overhaul.
 

Offline Fredderic

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2018, 05:02:55 am »
Quote
Thing is, as I understood it, KiCad was once developed by a single guy who, if I'm not mistaken, was a teacher. Impressive work for a single developer but... the context says it all, pretty much. The key GUI features come from the original ideas, especially in the schematic editor which is the part that has been the least reworked of all. Anyone that had to deal with software written by university teachers will probably know where I'm heading to.

Well, that explains a lot, actually…  Back in University, we had a circuit simulator that was developed by the lecturer, and it did indeed have some very similar quirks.  How odd…
 

Offline MasterTech

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2018, 06:45:01 am »
Quote
In this day and age we should not have to sit on the bog with a tablet reading software's instruction manuals

This. Completely wrong, says everything...

I started using kicad 5 last july, and already have 4 designs with PCBs completed, of course I had to read documentation and try and try and try again. Now I'm very happy I made the switch from Altium cause it was too complex for what I do, dunno never liked it.  I don't do RF or motherboards so kicad is more than enough

BTW of course u can have two schematics in a project, just copy the .sch into the project folder.


 
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Online Bassman59

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2018, 05:57:04 pm »
Quote from: me
That's because the Kicad developers have a suggestion that goes along the lines of: "If there is a question about how to implement a feature, look at how the leading Maker favorite package does it, and do the opposite."

Good one! :-DD

Thing is, as I understood it, KiCad was once developed by a single guy who, if I'm not mistaken, was a teacher. Impressive work for a single developer but... the context says it all, pretty much. The key GUI features come from the original ideas, especially in the schematic editor which is the part that has been the least reworked of all. Anyone that had to deal with software written by university teachers will probably know where I'm heading to.

I've taken a look at the source code, although not extensively, but changing the GUI substantially would probably require a complete rewrite.
To be fair, they have done a pretty decent job with the layout editor's overhaul.

Everyone who is interested in the future of Kicad should follow the developers' email listserv.

There are major changes afoot to the schematic editor, in terms of the library system (to make it more like the layout), to harmonize the hotkeys and such so they are consistent across all of the applications, and moving it all to OpenGL/accelerated graphics. So, yeah, substantial rewrites, and they're actually aware of all of the complaints.

Trying to support three operating systems with a somewhat cranky cross-platform GUI, and moving forward while not breaking existing designs, is quite the challenge.

And if you have a dozen people in the room and ask them what they want in the user interface, you'll get two dozen somewhat incompatible answers.

I've built a half-dozen boards in Kicad, and I use Altium at the day job, and I've used Orcad and Accel and PADS in the past. They all have their user-interface and library quirks. And you can design boards in all of them.
 
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Offline b_force

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2018, 12:11:03 pm »
It's not about the quirks.
It's about the inconsistencies and KiCad is full of them.

Getting a good consistent GUI for multiple platforms isn't difficult, there are plenty of (free) examples out there that prove it.
Many people have said it before and I repeat it again; it's all about priorities.
Personally I would like to add that it's also about attitude.
With that I mean really listen to the community, people who have been working as a PCB designer for many years.
The developers of KiCad don't really seem to care about it.

It's to unfortunate and extremely frustrating, since it has a lot of potential, but I lost my hope a little.
In fact, I am almost willing to fork the entire project and find a couple of motivated people to work just on the GUI until even my mom can work with it.
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Online james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2018, 05:29:51 pm »
I just don't really have a problem with the GUI, it's not going to win any awards but it doesn't have to, I've been designing PCBs in KiCad for close to a decade and it gets the job done. I tried out every EDA I could get my hands on and none of them had good UIs. If I can use it effectively I don't see why anyone else can't.
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2018, 05:48:53 pm »
In fact, I am almost willing to fork the entire project and find a couple of motivated people to work just on the GUI until even my mom can work with it.

I recommend doing that.  Then you will either a) create a much better tool or b) find out writing a much better tool is actually not that easy.

There are projects with similar goals you might want to help out, Horizon LibrePCB. There have been several other people promising to make a "better KiCad" but I don't think they got anywhere.
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Offline b_force

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2018, 06:00:13 pm »
I just don't really have a problem with the GUI, it's not going to win any awards but it doesn't have to, I've been designing PCBs in KiCad for close to a decade and it gets the job done. I tried out every EDA I could get my hands on and none of them had good UIs. If I can use it effectively I don't see why anyone else can't.
For the very simple fact that not everyone is called james_s.
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Offline bson

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2018, 03:27:06 am »
I just don't really have a problem with the GUI, it's not going to win any awards but it doesn't have to, I've been designing PCBs in KiCad for close to a decade and it gets the job done. I tried out every EDA I could get my hands on and none of them had good UIs. If I can use it effectively I don't see why anyone else can't.
A bad rower blames the oar.
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Offline pointhi

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2018, 08:14:19 am »
@b_force,

if you like to improve the GUI now is the time for it. The current 5.1.0 development is mainly about improving the overall user experience including finding and fixing inconsistencies. You will notice quite a bit of GUI changes compared to KiCad 5.0.0.

I do not share your feeling how KiCad prioritizes work. Working on the GUI is only one of many things, and there are many things to do.
I do not share your feeling that KiCad does not listen to the community. I reported a high amount UX related issues, and many are fixed now. Not only the critical stuff but cosmetic and consistency related issues as well.

To get some insights: what type of issues have you found and are not fixed?
 
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Online Dubbie

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2018, 09:15:46 am »
I’m not sure why pcb cad packages are so useless when it comes to user friendliness. It’s not because they are complex. There are plenty of complex packages out there in other industry niches that are much much more user friendly.  Look at Solidworks for example. No one complains about that to the extent that people do about pcb cad packages.

Or for an example from my industry, Houdini. It is hugely complex, but if you know what you want to do, it only takes a couple of days to come to grips with it. And nothing feels frustrating or user hostile.

Apps like Eagle are just an abomination of user experience disgraces piled on top of each other.
 
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Offline TERRA Operative

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2018, 10:10:11 am »
I tried to use Kicad a few times.
It didn't gel with me either, but I can see it is a rather powerful and flexible package. I think my problem is I have too much Windows UI muscle memory from years of practice in other CAD packages (3D Studio Max, Rhinoceros 3D etc). I have the same problems with Lightwave as I do Kicad, my brain says do the thing, but my fingers refuse to do it the Kicad way.

I went and bought Diptrace and have since been spitting out PCB's almost as easy as breathing.

In my case I think is just a matter of trying to teach an old dog new tricks...
Any circuit design must contain at least one part which is obsolete, two parts which are unobtainable, and three parts which are still under development.

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Online bd139

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2018, 10:14:14 am »
I rather like Kicad’s UI. Zero problems here.

My metric is it’s no worse than eagle though.
 

Offline exe

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2018, 10:25:04 am »
TBH I tried approach kicad multiple times, no success yet. Schematic capture drives me crazy. So far I'm using dip trace (works on Linux too with wine). Much more intuitive. Too bad component database is not as comprehensive as I like it (drawing own parts takes time and prone to errors, but I have to do it).

Would love to buy a professional tool like altium or cadence for a sensible price one day (I'm hobbyist, I do 3-4 small projects a year).
Circuitmaker could be my choice if it worked on my Linux (does it allow to download design files yet?). Probably, I'll end up spinning up a windoze vm.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2018, 05:03:38 pm »
Drawing your own parts is a mandatory skill for every EDA, I see people waste FAR more time trying to find specific parts or designing circuits around the parts that come with the EDA than it would take to just create your own. Aside from basic primitives like resistors, capacitors, transistors, etc I've always pretty much ignored the bundled parts and made my own libraries. This way I know they're correct and I end up with a collection of parts I actually use, rather than a huge mess of stuff that I mostly never touch.
 
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Offline exe

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2018, 05:15:55 pm »
I wouldn't call drawing parts a "skill". Srsly, a square with pads is not hard to draw.  Drawing pads for non-standard packages is far more tedious (and error-prone).

Circuitmaker linked to an online database that has all the components I needed. Why wasting time if someone already done it?
 

Online james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2018, 05:25:23 pm »
I didn't say it was a difficult skill but anything one does is a skill and it's one I've seen a surprising number of people not being able to do.
 

Offline exe

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2018, 05:52:41 pm »
I've seen a surprising number of people not being able to do.

Are you talking in general or about kicad? If kicad I can imagine why. But I don't want to put it in dirt, at the end, this is the only opensource tool that is not totally useless.
 

Online sokoloff

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2018, 06:02:38 pm »
if you like to improve the GUI now is the time for it. The current 5.1.0 development is mainly about improving the overall user experience including finding and fixing inconsistencies. You will notice quite a bit of GUI changes compared to KiCad 5.0.0.

I do not share your feeling how KiCad prioritizes work. Working on the GUI is only one of many things, and there are many things to do.
I could live with the GUI if I could just get better automated handoff of the netlist and live updating of the netlist (with an option to disable or perhaps undo the last import) among the various tools. The GUI is a collection of related apps that feels unpolished, but I have to admit that it's functional. (As is the netlist handling to be honest, so I'm even contradicting myself a bit there perhaps...)

It's definitely functional and I can quite reliably get boards out of it. Any limitations with the tool are my own.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2018, 06:47:20 pm »
Are you talking in general or about kicad? If kicad I can imagine why. But I don't want to put it in dirt, at the end, this is the only opensource tool that is not totally useless.


Mostly Eagle actually, and another older tool the name of which escapes me. I should clarify that I'm talking about hobbyists, not professional engineers.
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2018, 07:13:33 pm »
hah. you should see the schematics that are made with it ... if you think the Ui is bad ... ( i know , you can draw bad schematics in any package but the default libraries are .. total tripe. it shows that it comes from unix .. 50 years ago.)

Hop on circuitmaker. Free and it works. But.. beware of libraries. many symbols and footprint are wrong because they are cobbled together by newbies. i just did a design in Circuitmaker and had to redo EVERY SINGLE SYMBOL AND FOOTPRINT i used... Some parts are better than others but :
footprints:
- inconsistent layer assignments
- inconsistent line thicknesses
- 3d models on wrong layers, wrong 3d models, blobbed 3d models ( grey boxes) .
- missing courtyard , assembly layers , marker, fiducals
symbols :
- missing pins (especially thermal pads )
- mislabeled pins
- wrong pin numbers
- symbol pins not matching footprint pins.
- random pin lengths, upper case lowercase, special characters like mu and ohm sign that dont render properly
- using dots and commas in part values.

Once i loaded my library : smooth sailing. Got the boards made in china. works like a champ

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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Online Bassman59

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #29 on: October 15, 2018, 10:29:35 pm »
if you like to improve the GUI now is the time for it. The current 5.1.0 development is mainly about improving the overall user experience including finding and fixing inconsistencies. You will notice quite a bit of GUI changes compared to KiCad 5.0.0.

I do not share your feeling how KiCad prioritizes work. Working on the GUI is only one of many things, and there are many things to do.
I could live with the GUI if I could just get better automated handoff of the netlist and live updating of the netlist (with an option to disable or perhaps undo the last import) among the various tools.

A feature was added awhile to automatically update the board from the schematic without going through the netlist-export/import steps. From either the schematic or the layout, choose "tools => update PCB from schematic." That will automagically generate the netlist from the schematic and import it into the layout using some defaults. If you use the separate steps of generating the netlist and importing it, you get more options.

Importing a netlist to update the layout is a pretty heavy-duty operation. My undo here is simply ensuring that any changes to the layout were committed back to my repository before the netlist import. If it's screwed up or I don't like it, I simply revert the changes.

I know the idea that when the schematic is updated (saved), the layout immediately updates to follow it. But there are many arguments against doing that (hashed out elsewhere) and I think that updating the layout only when you explicitly want to makes the most sense, at least for me.
Quote
The GUI is a collection of related apps that feels unpolished, but I have to admit that it's functional. (As is the netlist handling to be honest, so I'm even contradicting myself a bit there perhaps...)

It was a collection of programs that were put together in a suite, kinda like how many of the PCB layout tools started. Making the user interface the same across the tasks is ongoing development work.

Quote
It's definitely functional and I can quite reliably get boards out of it. Any limitations with the tool are my own.
same here.
 

Online Bassman59

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #30 on: October 15, 2018, 10:32:15 pm »
It's not about the quirks.
It's about the inconsistencies and KiCad is full of them.

Getting a good consistent GUI for multiple platforms isn't difficult, there are plenty of (free) examples out there that prove it.
Many people have said it before and I repeat it again; it's all about priorities.
Personally I would like to add that it's also about attitude.
With that I mean really listen to the community, people who have been working as a PCB designer for many years.
The developers of KiCad don't really seem to care about it.

Have you filed bug reports and wish list items at the Kicad Launchpad? Do you follow the developers' email listserv so you can see clearly what they are working on and why they've prioritized things the way they do?

The assertion that they don't care is not true.
 

Offline Lukas

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2018, 10:57:47 pm »
In fact, I am almost willing to fork the entire project and find a couple of motivated people to work just on the GUI until even my mom can work with it.

I recommend doing that.  Then you will either a) create a much better tool or b) find out writing a much better tool is actually not that easy.

There are projects with similar goals you might want to help out, Horizon LibrePCB. There have been several other people promising to make a "better KiCad" but I don't think they got anywhere.

As the main developer of horizon EDA, I obviously beg to differ. I recently completed the PCB for my master thesis using horizon EDA: https://github.com/carrotIndustries/x-band-tx
Even though some features are still missing, it's perfectly usable for small to medium-sized projects.
 

Offline b_force

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #32 on: October 15, 2018, 11:19:07 pm »
It's not about the quirks.
It's about the inconsistencies and KiCad is full of them.

Getting a good consistent GUI for multiple platforms isn't difficult, there are plenty of (free) examples out there that prove it.
Many people have said it before and I repeat it again; it's all about priorities.
Personally I would like to add that it's also about attitude.
With that I mean really listen to the community, people who have been working as a PCB designer for many years.
The developers of KiCad don't really seem to care about it.

Have you filed bug reports and wish list items at the Kicad Launchpad? Do you follow the developers' email listserv so you can see clearly what they are working on and why they've prioritized things the way they do?

The assertion that they don't care is not true.
The biggest flaw in the head of a developer/software programmer.
This is not a bug, this is just fundamental understanding how to build up an intuitive piece of software.
Bit off topic, but I am completely convinced why most open source (not all!) totally fail in the long run because of this flaw.

Don't get me wrong, KiCad has a lot of potential, you can't deny that.
But the interface is made by and for programming geeks, NOT your every day, professional, I need a smooth interface that I can trust PCB user.
Most very good and professional PCB designers don't even know anything about programming or just the basics.
This kind of interface was an excuse 10 years ago maybe, but not anno 2018 anymore.

Yes I (and with me many others) have tried to talk to the developers and get involved.
But with an attitude that "we know it better, and we are not gonna do what all the big companies are doing, meh" you're not gonna make it.
Not to mention the overly sensitivity with every teeny bit of critique that is being given.

Everybody who feels the same and knows how to program, please contact me and I will have a look what we can do.
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Online Bassman59

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2018, 12:30:49 am »
It's not about the quirks.
It's about the inconsistencies and KiCad is full of them.

Getting a good consistent GUI for multiple platforms isn't difficult, there are plenty of (free) examples out there that prove it.
Many people have said it before and I repeat it again; it's all about priorities.
Personally I would like to add that it's also about attitude.
With that I mean really listen to the community, people who have been working as a PCB designer for many years.
The developers of KiCad don't really seem to care about it.

Have you filed bug reports and wish list items at the Kicad Launchpad? Do you follow the developers' email listserv so you can see clearly what they are working on and why they've prioritized things the way they do?

The assertion that they don't care is not true.
The biggest flaw in the head of a developer/software programmer.
This is not a bug, this is just fundamental understanding how to build up an intuitive piece of software.
Bit off topic, but I am completely convinced why most open source (not all!) totally fail in the long run because of this flaw.

Don't get me wrong, KiCad has a lot of potential, you can't deny that.
But the interface is made by and for programming geeks, NOT your every day, professional, I need a smooth interface that I can trust PCB user.
Most very good and professional PCB designers don't even know anything about programming or just the basics.
This kind of interface was an excuse 10 years ago maybe, but not anno 2018 anymore.

Yes I (and with me many others) have tried to talk to the developers and get involved.
But with an attitude that "we know it better, and we are not gonna do what all the big companies are doing, meh" you're not gonna make it.
Not to mention the overly sensitivity with every teeny bit of critique that is being given.

Everybody who feels the same and knows how to program, please contact me and I will have a look what we can do.

Do you really think that the Kicad developers aren't also PCB designers? See, that's why I said you should actually join the developers' listserv to see what is actually going on and see who is actually doing the development. Because you don't know what you're talking about.

You say you've "tried to talk to the developers." Where?
 

Online blueskull

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #34 on: October 16, 2018, 12:34:20 am »
Once i loaded my library : smooth sailing. Got the boards made in china. works like a champ

Since you have access to AD and from my memory you are an AD expert, why bother with CM?
 

Offline b_force

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #35 on: October 16, 2018, 01:13:36 am »
It's not about the quirks.
It's about the inconsistencies and KiCad is full of them.

Getting a good consistent GUI for multiple platforms isn't difficult, there are plenty of (free) examples out there that prove it.
Many people have said it before and I repeat it again; it's all about priorities.
Personally I would like to add that it's also about attitude.
With that I mean really listen to the community, people who have been working as a PCB designer for many years.
The developers of KiCad don't really seem to care about it.

Have you filed bug reports and wish list items at the Kicad Launchpad? Do you follow the developers' email listserv so you can see clearly what they are working on and why they've prioritized things the way they do?

The assertion that they don't care is not true.
The biggest flaw in the head of a developer/software programmer.
This is not a bug, this is just fundamental understanding how to build up an intuitive piece of software.
Bit off topic, but I am completely convinced why most open source (not all!) totally fail in the long run because of this flaw.

Don't get me wrong, KiCad has a lot of potential, you can't deny that.
But the interface is made by and for programming geeks, NOT your every day, professional, I need a smooth interface that I can trust PCB user.
Most very good and professional PCB designers don't even know anything about programming or just the basics.
This kind of interface was an excuse 10 years ago maybe, but not anno 2018 anymore.

Yes I (and with me many others) have tried to talk to the developers and get involved.
But with an attitude that "we know it better, and we are not gonna do what all the big companies are doing, meh" you're not gonna make it.
Not to mention the overly sensitivity with every teeny bit of critique that is being given.

Everybody who feels the same and knows how to program, please contact me and I will have a look what we can do.

Do you really think that the Kicad developers aren't also PCB designers? See, that's why I said you should actually join the developers' listserv to see what is actually going on and see who is actually doing the development. Because you don't know what you're talking about.

You say you've "tried to talk to the developers." Where?
Don't know what I am talking about?
I just said that I (and other people) contacted them, or shared these stories multiple times.
So or you're not reading properly, or you're implying that I am lying?

Basically their answer is; wait until version 6 and we will see it from there.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 01:18:54 am by b_force »
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline Monkeh

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #36 on: October 16, 2018, 01:22:56 am »
Basically their answer is; wait until version 6 and we will see it from there.

So basically you're complaining they're not going to throw out their existing development plan and progress to do things your way immediately?
 

Offline b_force

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #37 on: October 16, 2018, 01:41:23 am »
Basically their answer is; wait until version 6 and we will see it from there.

So basically you're complaining they're not going to throw out their existing development plan and progress to do things your way immediately?
No????

I am complaining about a bad set of priorities.
Interface should be much higher on the list.
Things like schematic simulators, auto routers and 3D graphics are nice gimmicks, but without a proper user interface it's still not really usable.

Technically KiCad was working adequate from version 4, except for some minor bugs and quirks and other things (that could be done by 3rd party if really needed)
You can even see on their roadmaps were they spend time on.

They should have done this from the beginning.
Nail the user experience first, fix little bugs and things later.
The easy part; there are already a lot of competitors out there, so basically just copy their interface and you already know for sure that at least a big group of people can handle it easily.
(that's basically what they did with DipTrace)

Guess some people just like to reinvent the wheel
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 01:48:54 am by b_force »
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Online Dubbie

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #38 on: October 16, 2018, 01:50:21 am »
I agree with b-force.

User experience and user interface need to be numbers 1 and 2 on the list of priorities.

This is what a lot of developers fail to understand. And they forgo huge chunks of potential market share because of it.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #39 on: October 16, 2018, 03:48:49 am »
And if they focused on the UI at the expense of everything else, they'd throw out a different section of the market. There are other tools out there with nicer UIs but they are not as flexible or powerful as KiCad. If the UI is that important to you then I suggest using one of the tools that has a more polished UI. The rest of us have managed to work around the UI issues in KiCad, it's just not a big deal.

I've used at least 5 or 6 different EDAs and they all had lousy interfaces, even one that cost thousands of dollars. KiCad is free and it does the job. Frankly I'd be annoyed if the UI changed significantly at this point because I'd have to spend time re-learning how to do things, time that I could instead spend making more boards.
 

Online sokoloff

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #40 on: October 16, 2018, 04:34:07 am »
Frankly I'd be annoyed if the UI changed significantly at this point because I'd have to spend time re-learning how to do things, time that I could instead spend making more boards.
Would it be so bad to fix the fact that you hit "c" to duplicate something in the schematic editor, but Command-D to duplicate something in the PCB layout tool or footprint editor, but it's drag to select and then right mouse to duplicate to duplicate something in the parts library editor (or that you can drag to select and then copy block and when you immediately go to paste the block, you get an error message "Warning: No block to paste")?

If cleaning that up would hurt the usability of the tool for you, then KiCAD project really is stuck between a rock and hard place...
 

Offline b_force

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #41 on: October 16, 2018, 11:13:55 am »
And if they focused on the UI at the expense of everything else, they'd throw out a different section of the market. There are other tools out there with nicer UIs but they are not as flexible or powerful as KiCad. If the UI is that important to you then I suggest using one of the tools that has a more polished UI. The rest of us have managed to work around the UI issues in KiCad, it's just not a big deal.

I've used at least 5 or 6 different EDAs and they all had lousy interfaces, even one that cost thousands of dollars. KiCad is free and it does the job. Frankly I'd be annoyed if the UI changed significantly at this point because I'd have to spend time re-learning how to do things, time that I could instead spend making more boards.
Most of them have, that is correct.
But it's not a good argument to (therefore) do the seem thing.
At least with most other EDAs the user can change most of the interface to their liking.
And with most of the competitors the user can choice to work mostly with just keyboard shortcuts or only with the mouse or an hybrid..

This is fixed in KiCad and even many icons for certain tasks are completely missing.
Besides, if you read the KiCad 6 roadmap they even admit that the interface is not very logic and inconsistent.

I know it's not a very popular one anymore, but Ultiboard/Multisim is pretty good with their GUI
Easy to learn in just a couple of days and fully customizable.

I find it a bizarre way of working, the other way around.
Technically speaking an interface is also not the most difficult to program.
Like I said before, just basically copy what others did and improve/make it your own from there.

I find it cute to read that the current KiCad users really think they are a significant and representative amount of "the market ".
To be clear, I am not just talking about my personal preference, but what works for many people.
In a sense EDAs always have been very conservative to this compared to 3D CAD software, things like video editors or other sophisticated programs.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline Warhawk

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2018, 07:15:49 pm »
Just my two cents. I worked with various EDA tools on hobby as well as on the professional basis. Now I use Altium at work and KiCad at home. I am allowed to use Altium for home projects too but it is not the point.
I want to make my designs available for others and any time and I don't want to shoot myself in the foot again. The thing is, that every single EDA I used for hobby (Diptrace, Eagle, CM) has some limitations. These are typically pins, nets or the PCB size. In the case of CM, it is very inconsistent library quality. I invested time in learning the package, creating libraries and then I hit the limit..
I may loose the access to Altium Designer when I change a job. How do I open my old projects then? Nope, I am not going to pay for Altium. It ain't that good.
Kicad can be an extremely frustrating software package but it is going to be there. I can keep it, I can use it. It does not have limitations perfectly set by the marketing department based on the data from "please help us improve our software" feature.

to the OP: Download Altium or better Orcad demo and create a board there. Then share your feeling about user-friendliness of the tool and also how likely you would pay 10k for it.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 07:22:51 pm by Warhawk »
 

Offline Warhawk

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #43 on: October 16, 2018, 07:18:08 pm »
In fact, I am almost willing to fork the entire project and find a couple of motivated people to work just on the GUI until even my mom can work with it.

I recommend doing that.  Then you will either a) create a much better tool or b) find out writing a much better tool is actually not that easy.

There are projects with similar goals you might want to help out, Horizon LibrePCB. There have been several other people promising to make a "better KiCad" but I don't think they got anywhere.

As the main developer of horizon EDA, I obviously beg to differ. I recently completed the PCB for my master thesis using horizon EDA: https://github.com/carrotIndustries/x-band-tx
Even though some features are still missing, it's perfectly usable for small to medium-sized projects.


Lukas, I am not happy seeing another EDA tool because I doubt that you will any bandwidth supporting it after you graduate and find a job but this is impressive. :-+
« Last Edit: October 16, 2018, 07:21:38 pm by Warhawk »
 

Online james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2018, 08:02:05 pm »
Frankly I'd be annoyed if the UI changed significantly at this point because I'd have to spend time re-learning how to do things, time that I could instead spend making more boards.
Would it be so bad to fix the fact that you hit "c" to duplicate something in the schematic editor, but Command-D to duplicate something in the PCB layout tool or footprint editor, but it's drag to select and then right mouse to duplicate to duplicate something in the parts library editor (or that you can drag to select and then copy block and when you immediately go to paste the block, you get an error message "Warning: No block to paste")?

If cleaning that up would hurt the usability of the tool for you, then KiCAD project really is stuck between a rock and hard place...


Well that wouldn't personally bother me, because I select and shift-select-drag to duplicate everywhere and never even used C or Cmd-D but I agree it would be nice to have consistency there. I've been using it pretty heavily for almost 10 years now so I probably don't even notice many of the things new users complain about.
 


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