Saturday, March 4, 2017

KiCad stupidity

As I work on the layout of my nRF24LE1 programmer board I'm discovering all sorts of stupidity in KiCad:
  • The X coordinates increase as you move left-to-right, but the Y coordinates increase as you move from top-to-bottom. Anyone who ever took a mechanical drafting class would know that no one creates drawings that way. Drawings always start with the (0,0) coordinate in the lower left, not the upper left.
  • The PCB is drawn inside a frame that is sized to the paper you may print on (A4, US Letter, etc.). If your board doesn't fit in a US Letter (8.5" x 11.0" frame you have to select a different paper size
  • The coordinates displayed at the bottom of the window are relative to the upper left corner of the paper you might print on. Although you can set a relative origin by tapping the space bar, when placing components using the edit dialog box you can only specify relative to the upper left corner of the paper page.
  • There is a "Move Footprint Exactly" dialog box. However, this moves it relative to its current position, not to an absolute position. There is a proposed patch for this, but it will no doubt be relative to the paper origin.
  • There is a "Set Grid Origin" option. It affects only the manufacturing output but has no effect on the layout display.
  • If you draw a "graphic line or polygon", to delineate the board outline for example, you can't edit it. You can move it only by doing a rectangular area select, but if you want to change its length you can't; you have to delete the line and re-draw it.
  • There is no way to create a via other than as part of switching layers while routing a signal.
Many of these issues could be because the KiCad developers are programmers and not engineers. I say that as someone who is a programmer by education, training, and profession. In the begining, raster graphics plotted from upper left to lower right because that's the way CRT-based TVs were scanned. But I had a mechanical drafting class in 8th or 9th grade (mid 1970s), and understand that computer programs are used mostly by non-programmers.

None of this is made better by the sycophants who bleat about how KiCad is the one true way and how everyone else in the world does things wrong and we all must adapt to their broken way of doing things.

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