we are using teh DxD/Exp for more than five yeasr now.
Automation in DxD and Expedition is a need, if you want to do checking of schematics and layout:
- BOM Creation
- Scout runs
- PDF Processing
- Online Placement Checking of assembly rules in Expediton with user layers (thats really cool programmers stuff )
- Batch checking of layout
- Manufactuting output Gerber/ NC Drill / PDF
If you need a first step in there, have a look into Kendalls Autoactive Toolkit.
Actually we are using .Net as development environment there.
Going from BS\DA to DxD\Exp is quite a move. I still do both but worked on BS for at least 15years and now for around 4 years on Expedition/Dxd EE7.9.1.
If you are going to start design's from scratch it should be quite easy even if the concept isn't the same as for libraries and legacy design's it might be a bit different.
The lates version of mentor graphics give you a lot more than when we started for data convertion. This is good. As for the automation, I was doing too all the automation
on BS using userware\C and moving to the new tool I would think if you have a lot of it on BS you will need a lot of it on Exp. too. Like Andreas I use too .net or Visual Studio C#
but you will find a lot of examples\samples in the community using VB\VBA especially from Kendall. He is the man.
We made the switch from Boardstation to Expedition about 4 years ago and for the most part it has been a positive experience. We started from scratch, that is no conversions of existing Boardstation libraries or databases. As for automation, we had a great deal of Ampleware but currently only use limited automation in Expedition, mostly for formatting outputs to meet company standards. We actually started in Expedition without automation but over time have added it sparingly as needed to simplify processes.