← Back to team overview

kicad-developers team mailing list archive

Re: [KiCad-developers] Hoping to contribute but I have some questions


Hi Brian-

I haven't used your tool but from the description, I think that it should run primarily from Eeschema. The steps would look like:

1) (optional) Update PCB from Schematic
2) Request x/y pairs from pcbnew via KiMail
3) Renumber components in Eeschema
4) Update PCB from Schematic

This keeps the renumbering routine localized in Eeschema where the netlist is maintained and prevents duplication of effort with back-annotation. This may or may not meet Wayne's requirements. It also reduces your coding requirements substantially as you are not trying to re-code a bunch of update functions (it is not just component refdes) in pcbnew.


Am 2019-01-07 17:22, schrieb Brian Piccioni:

I don't think a new file format is necessary. I can transfer a change
list from PCBNew to eeSchema via Kimail. This would simply be a string
or something and never surface (though, for an audit trail it might be
useful to have the changes written out as a log file, at least
optionally). Once this change list has been checked by eeSchema (in
case the schematic is not synched to the PCB), the changes would be
implemented in PCBNew and eeSchema. Then the equivalent of Update PCB
back to the PCB.

So, to summarize:
1) Generate a change list in PCBNew;
2) Using Kimail send the change list to eeSchema for quality control
(in case the schematic is out of synch with the board;
3) Once the change list has been checked, update the reference
designations on the PCB;
4) Using Kimail, direct eeSchema to update the reference designations
as per the change list;
5) After updating the schematic, eeSchema invokes an "UpdatePCB" which
	a) generates a new netlist;
	b) transfers that netlist to PCBNew via Kimail;
	c) opens a menu to import the netlist to PCBNew.

Note that the netlist changes still flow from eeSchema to PCBNew,
however, since the reference designations on both the schematic and
the PCB have been changed in exactly the same manner, the connectivity
is not changed.

I have done this manually using edit commands in PCBNew and eeSchema
and it seems to work fine.

To reiterate, I am pretty virtually certain this can be done without
requiring a new file format and will ensure the schematic and PCB
remain in sync with the netlist.

Of course, I may be misunderstanding your point or not be well enough
versed in how things work.

Nevertheless, if I work on the code and hit a brick wall I can either
look for a solution or abandon the effort in shame.


-----Original Message-----
From: Wayne Stambaugh <stambaughw@xxxxxxxxx>
Sent: January 7, 2019 12:30 PM
To: Brian Piccioni <brian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>;
Subject: Re: [KiCad-developers] Hoping to contribute but I have some questions

On 1/7/2019 9:49 AM, Brian Piccioni wrote:

I looked at the source over the weekend within the context of your comment. In eeSchema there is a command to "Update PCB" with a modified netlist. This command is passed from eeSchema to PCBNew by Kimail. At this stage my rough program design has evolved to a sort of state machine where there are several interactions between PCBNew and eeSchema via Kimail (i.e. passing the change list, checking it for errors, committing the change list if no errors, etc).

This is the issue that I was talking about.  Currently netlist changes
are unidirectional from the schematic editor to the board editor.  In
order to push annotation changes from the board editor to the
schematic editor, you (or someone else) will have to implement this in
order to back annotate the revised references from the board editor to
the schematic editor.  The other option is to save an intermediate
netlist file from the board editor (which I also believe doesn't exist
yet) and import the changes into the schematic editor.  These would be
the only two solutions that I would accept but my preference is the
former.  I want to avoid yet another intermediate file format.

Since I propose to do a "dry run" of the component changes in eeSchema to check for errors it seems to me that executing "Update PCB" immediately after re-annotating the PCB and schematic would ensure coherency with the netlist.

As this is pretty much was a PCB designer would do if he re-annotated manually it should work under program control as well.

Would this address your concern or is there something else I am missing?



-----Original Message-----
From: Kicad-developers
net> On Behalf Of Wayne Stambaugh
Sent: January 5, 2019 8:07 AM
To: kicad-developers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: [Kicad-developers] Hoping to contribute but I have some

On 1/4/19 6:18 PM, Tomasz Wlostowski wrote:
On 04/01/2019 18:51, Brian Piccioni wrote:
I am still keen to attempt to incorporate geographical component annotation into KiCad. In general, it is preferable for component annotation to be done relative to the PCB and in some logical order (left/right, top to bottom, etc). Thereafter this information is imported to the schematic. I wrote a standalone utility (RenumKicadPCB) which does this but ideally, we’d want the function built into Kicad.

I understand this would be viewed as a “rogue effort” but lack of geographical component annotation is a major missing feature and my hope is that if my code works the developers might consider adding it or something like it into the project. Otherwise I’ll just maintain my own variant of the two affected applications for limited use.

I am not used to working in c++ or working on large projects. Nevertheless, I figured I’d give it a try. I have been studying the source for a few weeks and have developed a strategy which would be very simple to implement if I had more skill/experience.

The first thing I want to do is to add the ability for eeSchema to import a “was/is” file to update schematic annotation. Since renumbering the PCB can be done manually or with a plugin this seems like a good first step. Since an annotation function already exists in eeSchema, all I would have to do it provide an option for replacing annotation with a was/is rather than the annotation generated by eeSchema’s annotate function.

I see a clear path to doing so however, the scope of Kicad and my limited experience with c++ and large projects mean it is not going to be easy for me. I am not that adept at navigating Doxygen files so I have a few questions regarding the source code (these are limited to eeSchema at the moment).

1) Where are the file IO functions? I have searched for (for example) LoadProjectFIle and find the prototype but not the actual function. Similarly I find the prototype for SaveEEFile() but not the actual function.

2) I would like to copy as much of the existing code and dialogs as possible (i.e. make new dialog based off another dialog) but when I open, for example, dialog_annotate_base.h I see

	// C++ code generated with wxFormBuilder (version Jun  5 2018)
	// http://www.wxformbuilder.org/


But I can’t find the “source” from which this file is generated. Where is it?

3) There is a guide on the Kicad documentation “Tool framework” which describes adding a tool to PCBNew. Is there a similar guide to adding a tool/function to eeSchema? How do I go about this?

Hi Brian,

Others have already answered to your questions so here's my offer: I
believe geographical annotation is a very useful feature so I can
offer a bit of my help. Point me to:
- the latest sources of your tool,
- a sketch of the user interface (dialogs), can be a hand-made
- a brief description of how you want all this to work (in terms of
user experience).

Once I have this information, I'll try making a basic port of your
code to Kicad codebase to the stage where you could take it over and
contribute further features/fixes on your own.


There is a lower level piece of the puzzle that is missing and that is back annotation from the board editor to the schematic editor. This is non-trivial because you have create a netlist from the board information and pass it back to the schematic editor. This would be the only solution that I would accept. I want to avoid multiple ad-hoc solutions for back annotation purposes.



Mailing list: https://launchpad.net/~kicad-developers
Post to     : kicad-developers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Unsubscribe : https://launchpad.net/~kicad-developers
More help   : https://help.launchpad.net/ListHelp

Mailing list: https://launchpad.net/~kicad-developers
Post to     : kicad-developers@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Unsubscribe : https://launchpad.net/~kicad-developers
More help   : https://help.launchpad.net/ListHelp

Follow ups