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Re: Kicad Tool Framework


On 08/11/2013 01:44 AM, Lorenzo Marcantonio wrote:
> On Sat, Aug 10, 2013 at 04:34:03PM -0500, Dick Hollenbeck wrote:
>> The push and shove router is something I could have used today.  Whatever confidence I
>> used to have in freerouter is gone.  It is not working for me very well on this current
>> board, and I am frustrated to no end with it and the lack of support now.
> Strange... what has freerouter of bad other than is java-slowness and
> foggy display?

Under freerouter, I saved to a dsn file after 5 hours of push and shove routing, a
partially complete design, and went to lunch figuratively, shutdown freerouter, when I
came back to load back in the dsn file, it could not load its own file.  This is the file
that *it* wrote to disk, presumably with the commitment that it could reload it later.  My
mistake was in believing that.  I could have concurrently saved to *.ses file also, at
least that way my intermediate work progress could have come back through pcbnew, then
back to freerouter. *.ses -> pcbnew -> *.dsn -> freerouter.

For years I have had numerous conversations with Alfons, mostly always the same two questions:

a) why he does not go open source?

b) why do you not report line numbers when you puke loading a file?  The procedure has
been "send him the file in personal email, and he walks through the code under a debugger
to find the problem".  This is now rubbish since he has retired.  So you are stuck
guessing.  This is guessing:  load the *.dsn file into a text editor, cut huge portions
out, try reloading again, when it finally loads, add back in the content in smaller
increments until you find the problem.  Then doctor it, load it and proceed.

So when I wrote my posting about freerouter, I was at that point of losing 5 hours of work.

Fortunately in this case just this morning before church, I ran the freerouter written dsn
file through my s-expression beautifier, which you build under our <kicad_src>/tools dir by

$ make property_tree

Then tried beautifying Alfons' file:

$ tools/property_tree a.dsn > /tmp/pray_hard.dsn

I got lucky.  /tmp/pray_hard.dsn loaded.  (Remember, I was on my way to church.)

In my tech support thread on his forum, I finally asked what I hope is a profoundly
important question to his many man years of excellent work.  The question is: "now that
you are retired, is it your intention to let freerouter simply fade into retirement also?
 Why not take pride in your retirement and let freerouter live on so you can at least take
a sense of pride in this extraordinary work?"

Of course I am nobody to him, and in retirement, freerouter may not be important to him

That leaves us vulnerable.  Without a push and shove option to route, I would simply bite
the bullet and go buy a linux based EDA package, and quit with KiCad.  P&S is that
important to me.


> OTOH I agree, the P&S would be very useful (100 pin packages, only two
> signal layers, 0,2mm clearance and a way-too-small board... I've ripped
> up the thing almost 6 times now...)

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