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What's Good About Allegro® Design Entry HDL – User Customizations? You Tell Me!

Comments(11)Filed under: PCB design, DEHDL, SPB16.01, CDNLive! 2008, Allegro, SPB 16.2

Well ... if you like tweaking and tuning an environment to suit your needs, Allegro Design Entry HDL (DEHDL or previously known as ConceptHDL) has plenty to offer.

I began in the Blog-sphere-posting-world of Cadence with one of my first posts titled - "How many DEHDL (Concept) designers customize their DEHDL environment?" You can read the details here

Although I asked about this almost a year ago, the relevance still applies today:

  • How many designers customize the DEHDL environment to suit their taste?
  • Do you add just a few hotkeys (softkeys), or strokes?
  • Do you adjust the toolbars?
  • Do you customize the menus and add your own commands?

All this has been possible for years, and novices to DEHDL can really take advantage of this to make the environment more efficient to the tools they've used in the past.

I wrote a paper about this for last year's CDNLive! 2008 event in San Jose. The presentation can be found here -
(look under the "VII. PCB Design" section). You'll see that several of the customizations I employed in the SPB16.01 release were included as part of the new SPB16.2 Windows mode in DEHDL. But, there are still several areas of customization that can be explored.

The intent was to show the myriad methods available to customize the environment and in some scenarios, make it simpler for the new designer to adopt using the product. All the details and reasons can be found in my paper. Efficiency, productivity, and enablers to get the job done are key to customizing DEHDL.

As always - I look forward to our discussion on this topic and sharing/exploring new ways to customize DEHDL!

Jerry GenPart

Comments(11)

By Fatemeh Afsari on April 4, 2009
hi
my name is Fatemeh. i am an electronic engineer. i work in Jahan electronic company in Iran. it is a PCB fabricator, i got familier with your software but how i can  get start with this software? can you please send a training course of how we can work with this software to my email?
thanks alot

By Jerry GenPart on April 6, 2009
Hi Fatemeh,
Thanks for asking about training information. There are a couple methods you can obtain more details - contact your local Cadence Sales team, or navigate to our training area located at - www.cadence.com/.../default.aspx.
This provides details about obtaining live and iLS (web based) training courses.
Jerry

By EvanShultz on April 6, 2009
Hi Jerry,
I have employed keyboard shortcuts and menus in DE HDL since we first moved to SPB, in version 15.5.1. I have also done some toolbar customization but not too much, mainly configuring the QuickPick toolbar icons with our library parts. I've standardized this UI for all users at my site using a site.cpm file and directive locking. I've also had to resort to copying files to each user's PC using a batch file after base release or hotfix installation to overwrite default DE HDL settings.
I like the new Windows mode, although it takes a bit of getting used to at first. Sometimes it feels like DE HDL took 2 steps forward and 1step back with 16.2. The menus and keyboard shortcuts make life easier to find (although I use mostly keyboard shortcuts), but the thing I miss the most is strokes. Am I correct that strokes and Windows mode are mutually exclusive?
One area that I've been unsuccessful is controlling Windows mode. After filing an SR I was informed that Windows mode is controlled in the registry, not a CPM directive. I invoke a REG file which should set registry values to enable Windows mode in the batch file, but the status of Windows mode still appears to be dependent on the individual project, and not globally turned on even with the proper registry settings. I'm not sure what I might be doing wrong to prevent Windows mode from being turned on for all users and with all projects. But even if I do get it turned on, there's no control over the Windows mode setting since it's not a CPM directive.

By Jerry GenPart on April 7, 2009
Hi Evan,
Good to hear from you again and as always - great comments! Looks like you've done a bit more than the average customer with respect to customization - which is a good sign that you're customizing the environment to maximize your efficiencies.
Due to the pre-select nature of the Windows mode, you can use strokes, but they're only available with Ctrl+LMB or Shift+LMB. They should work (I worked with you on this issue via an SR), if not let me know.
Finally, several customers also asked for the windows mode to be controlled through the project .cpm file. There's a Master CCR# 626875 on this and the good news is that it's fixed internally (as of 4/2/09)! We're just waiting for the ISR (SPB16.2) which should be available soon.
Jerry "GenPart" Grzenia

By peter zhu on April 29, 2009
I really hate Concept HDL, but I have to use it because of company process. From schematic design view, ORCAD is a perfect tool, although some functions needs to be improved. From library/symbol management, design file management, signal connecting, component annotation, etc, Concept HDL is a very very ugly tool to do schematic design. ORCAD almost meet all hardware engineer requirement with very simple and clear operations.

By Jerry GenPart on April 29, 2009
Hi Peter,
Thanks for your candid comments. There are definitely designers who prefer Capture over DEHDL (ConceptHDL). As I mentioned in the original post, you can customize DEHDL (and I did) so that it performs in a very similar manner (menus, hotkeys, toolbars) to Capture. Many engineers who use Capture have commented that this customization really helps them to use DEHDL. You can find details about the required files and a link to the presentation in the original post above.
Also, I'd be happy to discuss with you additional areas where we can improve on the DEHDL GUI. Please feel free to Email me at geraldg@cadence.com.
Thanks,
Jerry Grzenia

By peter on April 29, 2009
From a engineer, who had thought Concept HDL should be a high-end tool than Orcad capture.
now, I have tried both programs.
the CHDL looks coming from Mars or something. The CIS makes sense but the CHDL...
Its OK that there are options to control signal integrity, but there is no reasonable control over schematics design. or it doesnt matter anymore?
the people who made it, they never have seen electronics design/development. Add designator, footprint, pin numbers... seems not supported.
maybe its good if we dont want to design a pcb for that, just stay on concept level with the project. maybe thats why its the name: concept hdl.

By Jerry GenPart on April 29, 2009
Hi Peter,
I would very much like to discuss the details about how to effectively use Allegro Design Entry HDL (DEHDL). I can understand the comparison you're making between Capture and DEHDL. There are certainly some areas of Capture which are "easier" to use compared to DEHDL. However, DEHDL can also be made just as simple (as I wrote in my post above).
DEHDL does provide support for designators, footprints, pin numbers, etc. - I'm not sure what's not working for you.
Again, please Email me so we can discuss this in more detail - I'd be happy to provide you assistance.
Jerry Grzenia

By peter zhu on May 4, 2009
Hi, Jerry:
Sorry, the above comment is not from me.  I just search the Internet and find what are other engineers comments about DEHDL, because so few engineer use this schmatic tool.
We have used this tool finish several project. I post three questions in BBS, but no feedback yet. If possible, could you help to answer these? These fucntion are so important for our hardware design:
1. www.cadence.com/.../12381.aspx, about pin floating check
2. www.cadence.com/.../12373.aspx, still about pin floating check, if DEHDL has pin floating check fucntion, we need a NO_PIN_FLOATING_CHECK symbol in library, or similar, like ORCAD.
3. www.cadence.com/.../12360.aspx, about inter-page connection,  which is very important for design partitioned into several parts, and each engineer in charge of his own parts, then merge schematic. In ORCAD, this is very simple.
I will email you next time.

By peter zhu on May 4, 2009
Jerry, previously, there was a very good ORCAD Capture forum (When it was www.orcad.com), I always can get some very useful thoughts from there, I also posted and answered many questions,but i can not find this forum any more, Canceled?. DEHDL is much more complicated than ORCAD capture, I thinik it's necessary to have a separate DEHDL forum here. Dont simply put it into PCB design.
Peter

By Jerry GenPart on May 4, 2009
Hi Peter,
Yes, I recall the previous OrCAD Capture forum. In addition, there were PSpice and Signal Integrity forums in the PCB design space. I believe there were also several forums in the IC, SFV, and CIC design spaces as well. Cadence decided to merge all the separate forums into a single area for our customer's convenience. You can visit these at - http://www.cadence.com/community/forums/27.aspx
Again, we've not cancelled these forums, rather moved them all to a central area. Please feel free to post Capture related questions and suggestions in the PCB Design Forum.
As for your other post above about the three (3) items you wrote posts in the
www.cadence.com/.../forums, my best recommendation would be to contact our Customer Support team. It would be great for us to get official Service Requests established for your questions as I suspect a couple may become enhancement CCRs. I will provide a brief answer for each:
o pin-floating check in Concept HDL
You can certainly write a CheckPlus rule to report floating/NC pins.
Also, with the SPB16.2 release, there's a graphical switch to toggle
NC pins. There's also an enhancement CCR asking for a netlist showing
NC pins - since we don't have an automatic report today.
o How to check if all component pins are connected in ConceptHDL
You can add an NC symbol in DEHDL to accomplish some of what you're
attempting. However, this would be an enhancement in DEHDL to provide
your exact requirements.
o ConceptHDL inter-page connection
You're correct - we'd need an enhancement CCR to provide your exact
requirement. You could run CreferHDL and include all signals in the
generated reports (those with and without offpage symbols) and then
run CreferHDL a second time included ONLY those signals with offpage
symbols attached. A diff compare would highlight those nets that
don't have offpages attached.
Thanks!
Jerry Grzenia

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