Development Highlights

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 selecting your PcbDoc file and a short delay.

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.

In Development: 3D Plugins

Seasoned KiCad users are familiar with the venerable 3DViewer tool which has traditionally been used to help verify design by visual inspection and to create images of what a project may look like when it is finished. Historically the 3DViewer could only process a very limited implementation of the VRML2 (aka VRML97) specification as produced by the Wings3D modeler. In the past two years various developers contributed support for VRML1 and a very limited implementation of X3D, which improved the support for VRML generated by FreeCAD.

July and August 2015 Development Summary

In the spirit of providing insight on KiCad’s development, this report covers some of the development work within July and August. There are many patches that have been applied and this post will only summarize some of them, this is in no way meant to discourage small patches). Stable release Work continues towards a "stable" release for 2015. It is taking longer than desired to reach a "stable" point however many developers do this in their limited spare time.