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Re: Feedback on 5.1


Hi Ruth,

Thank you for your feedback and using KiCad.  It's always nice to hear
some positive feedback.  See my comments below.

On 3/12/2019 1:21 PM, Ruth Ivimey-Cook wrote:
> Folks,
> I've been using 5.1-pre for a couple of weeks on a side project, and
> thought you might like feedback on it.
>  1. Common: The general quality (appearance, stability, speed) of the
>     apps is much improved. Thank you.

Your welcome.  I'm glad you like the changes.

>  2. Common: I have seen a couple of crashes, mostly when doing something
>     a little stupid, but nothing in the latest version I'm using (a week
>     old). It would be good to put some energy into a crash-catcher, so
>     users can be more specific / informed as to what happened, and
>     report such issues more usefully. Perhaps a crash log could include
>     a dump of the command history buffer (which would obviously have to
>     be easily locatable)?

We have crash reporting code just about ready to merge so it will be
available in nightly builds as soon as it's merged.  I doubt that it
will make it into the 5.1 branch but it is possible.

>  3. Common: I am still frustrated that the key combinations for similar
>     tasks are not the same. For example, to place a wire in schema, it's
>     shift-W while in pcb it's shift-X.

We have so many accelerator and hot keys assigned that it's getting
difficult to make changes but we can take a look at this one. It
probably makes sense to unify these even though they are referred to as
different operations in the schematic (wire) and board (route) editors.

>  4. Common: I am still frustrated that some task combinations aren't
>     possible: duplicate doesn't work on wires or connectors, drag
>     doesn't work on graphic lines or components, etc.

I'm assuming you are referring to the schematic editor.  Most of this
will be addressed in version 6 with the new tool framework.  I'm not
sure what you mean by duplicate.  The repeat feature (Insert key) does
work with wires, symbols, and bus entries).

>  5. Common: If worried about "muscle memory" perhaps named shortcut
>     keymaps can be set up - classic / combined / ...?
>  1. Kicad: I would love to see a setup kicad libraries action (probably
>     not limited to an installer) which configures the library settings
>     and installs libraries to match. The reason is that my understanding
>     is that because the library files are being updated (great) that can
>     make a given project dependent on a given issue of library (witness
>     recent change of location of pin headers). I think it would be best
>     therefore to not assume a user will have just one copy of the kicad
>     library, but potentially several, maybe even one per major project.
>     In this case, relying on a "system" library (as is true for
>     /Libraries/Application Support/kicad on mac) makes no sense.

I'm not completely sure what you mean here but there is discussion about
implementing some type of library configuration tool of some type to
handle most of the issues you described above.

>  2. Kicad: A subsidiary to the above would be to have an action that
>     prunes a given library install to those files required by the
>     current project, rather than all files. Given we're using Git, the
>     pruned files could be replaced with a suitable "git reset" command.

There is no git plugin for either symbol or footprint libraries although
it has been discussed many times.  Of course you can always remove
libraries from you global symbol library table.

>  1. Libraries: They are improving immeasurably. Thank you to all
>     involved in that aspect. Please keep up the good work :-)
>  1. Schema: taking part of a diagram and making that into a subsheet
>     seems to involve setting up the new sheet, Cutting components,
>     entering the sheet, then pasting. Could that be one action: Make new
>     sheet with selection?

This feature could be implemented.  As expressed in a previous response,
feature requests should be submitted to be bug tracker so they don't get

>  2. Schema: Could we also have an unmake sheet action, which deletes the
>     sheet after placing the content of the selected sheet into the
>     current one as if "move" was selected, so the next thing is to click
>     to place?

If by unmake you mean undo, this is a very difficult technical challenge
due to the way complex hierarchies are handled.  We are hoping to
implement this during v6.

>  3. Schema: is there an official way to create a subsheet which is used
>     multiple times by a parent for the purposes of duplicating component
>     groups?
>     I tried setting up a sheet with such a group (by editing the .sch
>     file), setting a global connector on it and using that connector to
>     link to the parent sheet and it works, sort of; when syncing the
>     shema to pcb I got complaints that I had multiple references to one
>     sheet, but ignoring that did not seem to have negative consequences.
>     What didn't work was that any local label in the subsheet was not
>     local to that sheet instance but considered shared with its sibling
>     instances, which then messed up pcbnew's ratsnest calculations.
>     I don't report this as a bug because to get to this state I had to
>     manually edit the schema file... but it would be nice to be
>     supported properly.

This was already answered.

>  1. Pcb: Is there a concept of an "air wire" - a link to let the
>     connected-ness calculations know a wire exists off-board (on another
>     board, as an actual cable, or something else)? If not could we have one?

There is no concept of "air wires".  All nets must be on the board being
laid out.  Pcbnew does not support routing multiple boards in a single
project.  I'm sure we could we do this but I don't see a lot of utility
in it.  If we did, it would be something that would be way down the road.

>  2. Pcb: I love that we have align and distribute centre/top/left etc.
>     However I would like that to be possible for pcb tasks as well (e.g.
>     align centre all selected ICs, optionally dragging connections).

I'm sure we could implement alignment of ICs.  It could happen during V6
although it's not on the road map.

>  3. Pcb: I would love to be able to switch on/off snap-to-pad or
>     snap-to-wire, as sometimes I want to make small adjustments to a
>     track and to do that I first have to move it a lot and then back
>     again. Having snap to grid / snap-to-pad / snap-to-wire as separate
>     option buttons would be great.

Snapping can be disabled on the fly by holding the shift key down when

>  4. Pcb: is there a chance of a smart snap - where the editor looks for
>     things to line up the cursor with (e.g. while moving 1 wire it looks
>     to see if there is another wire nearly in line with it, or while
>     moving a component it checks to see when this component is 1/2 way
>     between two other components?)

I'm not sure what you mean precisely mean by this.

>  5. Pcb: I am still unsure that the windowing model Kicad uses is the
>     right one. The app doesn't behave as separate apps, one for schema,
>     one for pcb etc, but neither is it really behaving seamlessly. I
>     think the best would be that each of the current "apps" - schema,
>     etc - becomes a "task window" within the overall kicad app to a
>     greater degree than is the case now.

There are two distinct ways to use kicad.  You can either run everything
in a single instance using the KiCad launcher interface or you can run
the schematic and board editors as stand alone applications.  There are
valid reasons for both use cases.  That being said, at some point in the
future we will most likely revisit our current UI model.



> Thank you again for all your efforts,
> Ruth
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