Author Topic: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!  (Read 2363 times)

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Offline Docara

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Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« on: October 05, 2018, 04:44:53 am »
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.

Raant Over
Doc

 
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Offline Bud

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2018, 05:13:09 am »
You are going to get standard replies that what you want does not matter.
 

Offline sethhillbrand

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2018, 06:09:56 am »
You know I would pay for Kicad if the paid option was for a useable interace.

OK.

https://giving.web.cern.ch/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=6
 
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Offline james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2018, 06:38:33 am »
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 05, 2018, 07:27:04 am »
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.



Bob
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Offline coppercone2

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2018, 07:46:58 am »
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 05, 2018, 07:48:30 am by coppercone2 »
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2018, 09:41:26 am »
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, 10:09:00 am »
at least it proves eagle cad is developed by space aliens
 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2018, 10:14:05 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, 03:02:55 pm »
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…
 

Online MasterTech

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2018, 04:45:01 pm »
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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Offline Bassman59

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2018, 03:57:04 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.

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, 11:11:03 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.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2018, 04:29:51 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.
 

Offline donotdespisethesnake

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2018, 04:48:53 am »
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.
Bob
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Offline b_force

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2018, 05:00:13 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.
For the very simple fact that not everyone is called james_s.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Offline bson

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2018, 02:27:06 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.
A bad rower blames the oar.
 - Icelandic Proverb
 

Offline pointhi

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2018, 07:14:19 pm »
@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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Offline Dubbie

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2018, 08:15:46 pm »
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, 09:10:11 pm »
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...
 

Online bd139

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2018, 09:14:14 pm »
I rather like Kicad’s UI. Zero problems here.

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

Online exe

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2018, 09:25:04 pm »
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.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #22 on: October 14, 2018, 04:03:38 am »
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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Online exe

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2018, 04:15:55 am »
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?
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Kicad - GUI is Horrific!
« Reply #24 on: October 14, 2018, 04:25:23 am »
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.
 


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