14 Replies Latest reply on Jan 14, 2009 8:18 AM by Jerry_Suiter

    Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer






      I would like to understand the thoughts on moving from Design Capture/View to Dx Designer.  With the 2007.X releases of Dx Designer, many of the issues stopping customers from moving to Dx Designer have been resolved.  Here is a quick list of improvements I can think of, however I know there are a lot more:


      • Tight Integration between DxD and ExpPCB which no longer requires a compile process.

      • Concurrent design entry at the sheet and block levels.

      • Concurrent constraint entry within CES.

      • Concurrent Schematic Entry and ExpPCB Back Annotation changes.

      • Enhanced Reuse capabilities

      • Ease of use enhancements.


         Based on the 2007.X release, what are some of the issues that are stopping customer's from transitioning to Dx Designer from the Design Capture/View products?






      Jerry Suiter

      Product Marketing Manager Expedition / Xtreme PCB



        • 1. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer


          1. I have not seen any document about Mentor's commitment to transfer of licenses with equal or better functionality. The licensing strategy should support also legacy DC designs for 15 years.

          2. Is a translator available? from DC2005 to DX2007?

          3. We have to update all our utilities to the new environment. Use automation to replace ASCII based utilities. How does Mentor assist in this process?

          4. We shall need to train many users.

          5. Is 2007 a good release? Please comment on the discussion 'Fun with the 2007 release' in the Expedition forum in http://forums.mugweb.org/ubbthreads.php




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          • 2. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer





            First I want to thank you very much for your response.  This is exactly the type of information I was looking for from the community.  Let me see if I can answer the issues you have raised.



            1) Licenses - We will be delivering cross licensing to allow Design Capture users to start using Dx Designer without additional licenses.  This would allow users like yourself to start looking at the Dx Designer feature set in order to start an internal evaluation. Currently dual licenses are targeted to be delivered in the 2007.4 release. 



            2) Translator - Yes, we have a translator from Design Capture into Dx Designer.  It's currently being updated to support direct translation to the latest 2007 Dx Designer release.  I hope we can have this delivered so customers like you can use it early next year.  Long term I would like to deliver this as a migration process instead of a translator.  Therefore, users of Design Capture should be able to simply launch the Dx Designer application on a Design Capture project and have it automatically migrated into the Dx Designer persistent databases.



            3) Userware - Updating userware is always a difficult process when moving between applications.   In this case your moving between a file based ASCII methodology to a more robust automation approach which in some cases could be very easy, for example bulk updates, or more difficult.  Do you have any ideas how you would like Mentor to assist since it will be impossible for us to physically update all customers userware?



            4) Training - Training is a big concern to customers moving between applications.  First of all the 2007 release of Dx Designer is much easier to use and more intuitive than previous releases.  We plan to deliver online tutorials that could be run by users at their own pace evaluate and examine the applications feature set.  I think the combination of a easier and more intuitive 2007 Dx Designer along with some online tutorials should resolve this issue you have raised with training.



            5) Is 2007 Good? - I also see some of the information as you pointed out questioning the release.  However I also deal with customers who are activity using this version of software in production and communicate to me they are more productive with 2007 than previous releases.  They say the feature set is rich and robust, easier to use flow, and works much more efficiently in a concurrent engineering environment.  This is not to say that issues have not been discovered by our customers, however we are working proactively to quickly deliver solutions for critical problems that are being found.  Also, many of these issues are isolated to specific customer environments and processes.






            Jerry Suiter

            Product Marketing Manager Expedition / Xtreme PCB



            • 3. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer


              Thanks for your answer which covers much of what I asked.


              1) licenses - I hope that Mentor also has a policy to replace/update the licenses for "Parts manager", "Veribest Analog", "Automation Basic" all for which we still pay maintenance fees.


              2) Translator - Yes a migration process is better. It should be much more robust or forgiving then the current migration from DC2005 to DC2007. For example if a block has duplicate pins, which is our fault but DC2005 would work with it, DC2007 reports a meaningless error and does not migrate the design.

              I want to repeat, the migration program should work on all our legacy Design Capture designs otherwise we shall need to keep additional programs and resources to be able to deal with older designs.


              3) Userware - This is a big work for us. We may need to learn a new language and write new programs. My ideas, maybe provide Automation Pro licenses if appropriate, provide training classes and professional support for our staff.


              4) Training - The biggest workload. Provide the best you can for our staff. Many users here also have a language gap.


              Best Regards


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              • 4. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer





                I confirmed that Mentor does still have the ability to create the license files for the products you mention.






                • 5. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer


                  I'm kinda surprised to see these questions here.



                  I would have thought someone at Mentor would be monitoring the existing discussion areas related to DxDesigner, and if so you would have seen at least 400 posts just in the last month regarding 2007.x



                  Shall I invite them to come here and tell you about their problems?



                  Just montoring the Yahoo Group is enough to terrify me, (a DC user who will be moving to DxD within the year), knowing nothing about it except what I've read from other users. (and we don't have a huge user base - support group here)



                  worried, Jack



                  • 6. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer


                    The home page of theYahoo DxDesigner group indicates there have been <200 posts to date in the month of October and 114 in the month of September, which is 4 times the number of posts in the history of the group.



                    The Dx2007 release is a big change with a complete change to the infrastructure.  Moving from the historical Viewdraw ASCII database to the same database used in Expedition is by far the most controversial move, however it greatly improves the integration of both tools.



                    There have been several comments in the DxDesigner Group by Mentor personel including myself.  I have been employed by Mentor for 3 months now and a primary reason I joined was the excitement I had when seeing the capability of Dx2007+.  I am still excited.






                    Gary Lameris

                    Technical Marketing Engineer, DxDesigner



                    • 7. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer

                      Howdy Jack,


                      We monitor the Yahoo and MUG discussion forums   I know our director of engineering is viewing these discussion on almost a daily basis. I also monitor these threads... as you will see below.... and I am not alone. There are many within our organization who review these information flows routinely.


                      While we do monitor we don't necessarily want to interfere with a free flow of information. We are big believers in the right to free speech. 


                      We reckon if a customer has an issue they would like us to address they will contact us through our support channels. We do have a five start support organization. That does not imply that we don't learn from the discussion groups - We do learn and make adjustments based on the patterns of challenges that discussion participants express.


                      Heck, I have been personally insulted on the DxDesigner Yahoo group (not a real engineer, some kind of s/w geek) and I smile. I am a geek, but I'm a h/w geek.   It just does not make sense to react to insults and become entangled in debates that don't promote the evolution of products or our customers common good. To some extent I operate in the public space and hence am open to personal criticism.


                      Feel free to invite the other discussion group users here but realize we are not trying to displace these other discussion groups. Those other discussion groups provide an independent venue for users to share their perspectives and I believe that is an essential and critical artifact of mainstream products.


                      I use the 2007 DxDesigner every day. I like it. I was part of the VeriBest team and for a long time I was a Design Capture advocate/bigot. I have described my perspective in one of my Blogs.


                      We really do care about our products and our customers success. Our goal is to give you the competitive edge you need to prosper!


                      I will add this cautionary note: You can read about how the human race is being over run by an alien reptile species on the internet. Personally, I don't put much stock in the assertion.  I am not trying to disparage what you have read just indicate that your own experience with MGC as a customer should serve you well is fueling your filters. From my perspective DxDesigner has continued to evolve as we continue to invest and with any change there is resistance.


                      Of course, change for the sake of change, is meaningless at best, destructive at it's worst. All of the changes we are introducing are geared at increasing our customers productivity. I won't say the path isn't without it bumps but has anyone ever used flawless software? I haven't and I've been driving this keyboard aggressively for years... and not just with Mentor software.


                      My best advice, check out DxDesigner for yourself. You have been a great contributor to this community and I suspect that like me, others would be well served by your perspective and candor.




                      • 8. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer

                        Well, it really wasn't my intention to fan the flames from another group (and the LAST thing I want is for all those guys to come HERE and spew)



                        My comments were more from the "idiot on the sidelines" point of view, because I was notified about a year ago that that we WILL be moving to DxD. I'm not involved in the transition because the main Mentor Group for my company is in a different city, and I am busy with other projects. (truly, a casual observer on the sidelines).






                        a few months ago I joined the Yahoo Group just to start learning more about what to expect. I've only seen the product ONCE at a kind of demo tutorial day, where the new software looked fantastic and I got very enthusiastic about the new capability. Since then I have seen nothing but the posts from other users, and lately that has been all about this 2007.x release. I was exaggerating when I said 400 posts (I should have said "THOUSANDS" because it seems like thousands to me) where people are talking about conversions generated >2000 files or something like that (don't quote me) and some quite passionate rants about the changes.



                        It just makes me nervous what I'm going to be facing once we make the transition, because I have NO IDEA what to expect.



                        so, ignore my paranoia, it is totally based on ignorance



                        By the way, the blog you wrote is fantastic! Very helpful and Where else can you hear stories like that?



                        THAT'S what I love about this place.



                        keep up the comminique,



                        Jack (aka "the new guy")

                        • 9. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer


                          I find it quite fascinating that a company can spend so much efforts into creating a new version of software which is supposed to be feature rich etc etc and then not spend a fraction of that time to create tutorials that accompanys these releases.  It has been some time since the first release of 2007.x has it not?



                          Back in 2004 I used DC/Expedition and now 4 years later I recommended the use of Mentor software when I went to a new employer. As a university, we already had a HEP license and It is indeed a nice policy from MG. DC I know, but DX-Designer is totally new for me. I can find tips and tricks browsing the support site, but no start-up tutorial that answers my questions. One example is from the U2U conference proceedings. I found a tip that recommended that a schematic symbol should be created in many orientations but there was no answer to why this was so important.



                          Personally, I do not need any fancy video presentations. Just a .PDF "DX Designer for Dummies" or "Your first layout using DX-Designer -Expedition" will do. Input does not need to be ready made libraries or environments. Let me go through the setup myself. Create a simple library, start using the schematic tool and go all the way to gerbers. This document could then be used in our education.



                          If it is well made, then the graduates will be happy and guess what brand they will recommend once they are out in the industry?






                          • 10. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer



                              I take your point as it is great feedback!


                              While I do not have an immediate response on target with your exact needs I want to point out that we do invest in creating tutorials and we will take future action on your specific point.


                              In the space of PCB functional simulation/verification we always include DxDesigner and you will find many useful pieces of information in our latest on-demand workshops.


                            Thanks for caring enough to post your perspective!


                            • 11. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer





                              I'm one of the people who have to go to DxDesigner....  because our customers have it..... we have too many negative feedback on it.



                              Some of them are the new customers but some go from DC to Dx... this groupe is more nervous than the first one (me too).



                              DC -> Dx customers:



                              - At the start they (we) have to translate our libraries. I'm not personally hapy with this point - fonts, properties (can be solved). In DC we could (we did) draw symbols in several views -  rotation and mirror view. After importing into Dx i don't know how work a new Dx symbol editor with it.?? I think this editor doesn't support this function.. what shall I do?



                              -  Different controlling in the Dx than in the DC.... I can't use to it



                              - Some functions still doesn't work - too much bugs - work with borders and so on.



                              - I must hand that hier. design can be made faster, better documentation, adding parts from library by the filter, ICT, Verify feature.... but what another?



                              I cant' see the POWER in the Dx....  haven't push the SAVE button (is necessary??), CES worked in DC as well..



                              So, I'm trifle disappointed , to be honest..



                              For my designs which go to production I still use stable 2005.3 version.















                              • 12. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer


                                We, at GE, have been working with the DX2007.X flow now since February, to this day we still use both Design Capture 2005.3/2007.3. Before that, we used just Design Capture from 2001 and VeriBest software before that. We are neck deep in the Mentor World now...



                                As with most software changes, many people do not like to change. The engineers here are constantly trying to do the same thing over and over again because they know it works, but working and best practices are not the same thing. Our engineers have complaiend time and time again that they NEED to be able to work in the schematics at the same time the board is being done in Expedition. DxDesigner 2007.x finally let's the engineers use this feature, after Mentor fixed that problem they just moved on to a new problem that they HAD to have and could not move to the latest version of the software.



                                So, to force the engineers into experimenting with the software, we translated the Design Capture Library to a DxDesigner Library. This was a seamless operation, easily done in 5 minutes or less.



                                Any new design going forward are done in DxDesigner. Of couse there are a couple of bugs, but there are also bugs in DC...we all have just learned to work around them and now so use to the bugs it's just part of the process.



                                The engineers that are using the new toolset love it, the layout designers who are using the new 2007.3 expedition love it. It is just a different mentality...it could be worse, we could be using Cadence..



                                As with the "power" of DC and DX...it's a schematic tool. They are both tools that graphically show you what the electrical side looks like...that's it. You strip off CES, Hyperlynx, Library Tools...they are both the same, in the background they are both writing to the same type files that will pass the same type information on to your  backend tools. Your power is what additional tools you are able to add to the set. DC is a single blade...that is it. DX is a swiss army knife...









                                • 13. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer





                                  can you give a educated guess what can be a  long term in your saying:  Long term I would like to deliver this as a migration process instead of a translator.



                                  Is it reasonable to wait for it?



                                  I did not see it in the release plan for 2009.



                                  Please elaborate.









                                  • 14. Re: Design Capture / View transition to Dx Designer





                                    I am unsure if I understand your question or how to respond specific too "what can be long term" and "Is it reasonable to wait for it?". If you're asking when we would have a highly integrated migration process from DC/DV to DxD, I really cannot give you an accurate guess since it could be late this year or even into next year depending on our priorities. Currently our highest priority is to ensure we have a full featured, intuitive, and stable concurrent schematic entry system.



                                    However, based on the current 2007.X DxD feature set, some customers have already determined it was appropriate form them to move. The point of my originating post was to get comments from customers on what is stopping them from moving from DC/DV to DxD.



                                    Also, I would like to point out that clearly DC/DV continues to be enhanced and improved so I don't see moving from DC/DV to DxD as something critical that must be done this year. However, customers should start evaluating the functionality to determine when it would be appropriate for them to consider a move and what it will take. I am interested in hearing information specific to "what it will take".






                                    Jerry Suiter

                                    Product Marketing Manager Expedition / Xtreme PCB