KiCad

Bas Wijnen wijnen at debian.org
Sun Dec 1 03:02:43 EST 2013


On Sun, Dec 01, 2013 at 12:20:05AM -0300, Werner Almesberger wrote:
> Bas Wijnen wrote:
> > 1. I want to own my pointer.  KiCad continuously warps it all over the
> > place, and it's very annoying.
> 
> Hmm, there are four situations where this happens:

No, we're talking about different things.  What you're talking about is
that the action isn't happening directly under the pointer position.
That is true, but that's a nice feature, so thanks a lot for
implementing it. :-)

What I'm talking about is what happens when zooming.  The moment I roll
the wheel, it will zoom in or out (so far so good), pan the screen so
the point I was pointing at is in the center of the screen (why would I
want that?) and then warp my pointer to the center of the screen (I most
certainly don't want that!)

I find it very hard to position the screen the way I want it.  Panning
by dragging the view is impossible; instead I think I have to repeatedly
zoom in and out, moving the pointer before each action.  It's also
possible to middle-click instead of zooming (which will do the same
horrible thing, but without zooming).

Pretty much any program I know works like this:
- Dragging middle button will "pick up" the page and move it with the
  pointer, as if the page is glued to the pointer until released.
- Zooming should be done with the scroll wheel (possibly with a modifier
  key), and it should also keep the spot under the pointer in its screen
  position.

No program, ever, should warp my pointer to a different spot on the
screen.  There are a few others which do it, and it's annoying, but I've
not seen any other program do it for such an essential feature.  (Mostly
they just warp the pointer to the program at startup or something.
Annoying, but it's a one-time thing, not something I see during program
use.)

> > 2. Library management seems to be very bad.
> 
> Yes, I hate it too. My approach is to edit the *.pro file manually,
> never through KiCAD. When I need to add something, I quit eeschema,
> cvpcb, or pcbnew, edit *.pro with vi, then start the GUI critter
> again to see if my changes worked.

I haven't actually looked at what's in there.  If it's easy to do, I'll
just write a "new project"-script, which will add my libraries.

> I use relative paths for my *.cmp and *.mod files.

I tried that, too, but I remember there was some problem with it.  I
think it replaces them with absolute paths when saving, or something.
But then you just said you don't do that. ;-)

I might also see if I can make it xdg basedir compliant, looking in all
system and user data dirs that make sense.

> In fact, I don't use any of the system-wide files because I can't tell
> what anyone else may have installed on their system.

Good point.

> I invoke eeschema and pcbnew directly from the command line, via a
> Makefile. That helps to shorten *.pro editing cycles.

That sounds like something I want to do as well.

> > 3. Its own router is useless.
> 
> It is, with its uselessness only surpassed by auto-placement. And
> I share your discomfort about "free"router.
> 
> There is a brand-new router made by CERN. I haven't had a chance to
> use it yet, though. I just route things manually. DRC helps to
> avoid mistakes and the "magnetism" makes sure you hit the right
> spots.

Do you have the name of this cern router?  Searching cern.ch for pcb
router gives way too many hits.

You do manual routing with pcbnew?  So far I didn't find it comfortable,
mostly due to how hard it is to move traces once they are placed.  But
perhaps I just haven't used it properly.

> > 4. After working on a project for a while, there are many files in the
> > project directory.
> 
> You may find pages 12 and 13 of
> http://downloads.qi-hardware.com/people/werner/fisl13.pdf
> useful. Note hat some file names have changed since, especially
> *.brd is now *.kicad_pcb

Ok, thanks.

> By the way, if you're feeling energetic, Wolfgang's command-line
> option patches no longer work.

I'll keep that in mind.  My first target is probably going to be zooming
and panning; I find it impossible to navigate as it is.

But those patches sound good, too.

Thanks,
Bas
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