There have been rumors floating around the Listserver for a while about Mentor doing away with this incredibly useful file. These rumors gained some credence after the menufile was arbitrarily taken away from us.
So, are there plans out there to do this? If so, it would be a big mistake.
The .asc is used for many things:
The obvious use to fix database problems, either by the "ascii dance" or selective export/imports.
Some test systems use them as a control file. I do know the flying probe testers in our assembly shop does this.
Designers use them to find "lost" graphics (text and what-not that "escapes" the editing area and can only be fixed by deleting the relevant section or lines from the .asc).
Occasionally, we'll get a request for one because someone's pick and place program uses it.
Some fab shops ask for them (not sure what they use them for).
It is also a great way to transfer databases to customers, since they zip up so nicely.
Some VB scripts also use them as part of their function.
Anyway, since this is - or was - a concern, I just thought I'd ask...
all good points - to add some more...
-- and not to forget those who use ASCII files in their version control systems!
-- and the ability to export BACK to older versions.( At least in Layout & Logic - now lost (?) in DxD )
Many consultants and even companies are not 'version locked', and also
it is common to 'freeze' a product to do modify-CAM on the SAME SW version that it was released to production on...
Mentor's licenses support this fluid-version operation, so their CAD flow should naturally follow.
ASCII files is one of the strengths of PADS Layout and PADS Logic, so in spite of any
vendor reflex to close their systems, I cannot imagine Mentor would remove this very
glad to see this question and your discussion of the subject.
For all of the reasons stated in your e-mails, the ability to export and import data to and from PADS is very important to our customers.
I have heard rumors about us removing that ability.
They are just that, rumors.
They may stem from the fact that we have introduced a format known as "ccz" in some of the exchanges between tools.
If you look at the data exchange between PADS Layout and CAMCAD, we do use this format.
It is not a new concept, was introduced by RSI few years back as a means for moving data between foreign systems, I believe.
It is a concept similar to "ASCII file". You can open it with NotePad.
And you can do zip of the file.
So maybe that is what started the rumors.
Yes, there is a possibility that we will explore the ccz format to a greater extend and adopt it as a primary form of data exchange between applications.
Note, it is an ASCII data, similar to other PCB discriptive languages.
And we may offer "readers" and "writers" at some time to facilitate use by other applications.
But relax.. the current use of the ASCII file, as you described, is a necessary solution to many users' needs and there are no plans to eliminate its existance.
If "ccz" can fullfill that role at some future point in time, and if it becomes a more robust and reliable solution to your needs, we may offer same capability through alternate means.