Development Highlights

Development Highlight: PCBNew Layers, DRC and Toolbar Palettes

Some great workflow improving changes were made to PCBNew in this Development Highlight for the future KiCad V6 šŸ˜„ Layer Management Jon Evans introduced a brand new Appearance control in commit bd14f8a82. The entire Appearance control which is on the right hand side of Pcbnew has received a visual and functional overhaul In addition to the existing functionality, there is now the ability to Show all Layers, Dim non-selected layers and Hide non-selected Layers

Development Highlight: 3D Viewer Improvements

The 3D Viewer has seen a few incremental improvements during the course of V6 development. Not all changes to KiCad have to large by themselves to improve KiCad.


Development Highlight: CADSTAR PCB Importer

Roberto Fernandez Bautista had a growing desire at his workplace to migrate away from CADSTAR. After trying and finding migration paths to other EDA tools inadequate and poorly supported, he has leveraged the open source nature of KiCad to create just what he needs and contribute to the greater community :D Thanks to his hard work in MR#279,KiCad is now able to import CADSTAR PCB files! With the schematic importer coming soon.

Development Highlight: New Settings System

As a preview of a feature available in the nighty builds, a large change was made to how KiCad stores and loads settings that not only fixes a few headaches with the old system but lays the groundwork for more customization in KiCad such as color themes. This was thanks to the work of Jon Evans in MR#68


Development Highlight: New schematic and symbol library file formats are now the default

Since KiCad 4.0, work has been progressing to overhaul all the various project file formats that among many benefits, make them far more human friendly, easier to parse and allow easier addition of new features.


Development Highlight: Altium Pcb Importer

As a preview of a feature coming in the next major release, the ability to import Altium PcbDoc files is now available in the latest nightly builds. This was thanks to the work of Thomas Pointhuber in MR#60 The board import option can be found under the File > Import > Non-Kicad Board File option and changing the file type filter After which in the import file dialog you must change the file filter

Testing: Eeschema Advanced Canvas Released

The KiCad project recently merged the Eeschema modern canvas code into the development branch. This represents a significant change in the way the schematics and symbols are rendered by using the same modern canvas code used in Pcbnew. The schematic and symbol editing tools will not use the advanced tool framework used in Pcbnew so there will be no new editing features such as advanced selection, snapping, etc. The advanced tool framework features will be introduced into Eeschema during version 6 development.

Testing: Symbol Library Table Released

The KiCad project recently merged the symbol library table code for accessing symbol libraries into the master branch. This represents a significant change in the way symbol libraries are defined and accessed. It is similar in design and function of the footprint library table and will resolve the long standing issue with symbol library ordering in Eeschema along with some new features such as platform independence and lazy library loading. KiCad users should be familiar with the design and concept so this is not a tutorial on how to configure your symbol library table.

Testing: Eagle import plugins

The KiCad project is proud to announce the support for importing Eagle projects. This is the outcome of work to complete the Eagle schematic file plugin and integrate it with the Eagle board file plugin. From the new "Import Project" menu entry in the KiCad launcher users may now select an Eagle schematic or board file and the new project name and location, after which the corresponding Eagle files will be imported respectively into EEschema and PcbNew.

New 3DViewer

After almost 15 months in development and testing, the new 3DViewer developed by Mario Luzeiro has been merged with the product branch in revision 6985 http://bazaar.launchpad.net/~kicad-product-committers/kicad/product/revision/6985 and has since been available in the nightly builds of KiCad. This viewer was written entirely from scratch and takes advantage of the 3D plugin system to provide visualization of all 3D model formats supported by available 3D plugins. Features include: Two new render targets: OpenGL (GPU accelerated), and ray tracing with post-processing effects.