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Enhance Your Packaging Documentation Outputs with the New SKILL Spreadsheet API Tools Found in 16.6.

Comments(0)Filed under: IC Package Physical layout and co-design, IC Packaging & SiP design, Digital SiP Design , SiP, APD, IC Packaging and SiP, IC Package, cavity, IC packaging, APD 16.6, packaging, Allegro Package Designer, SiP Layout, 16.6, IC packaging documentation, IC Packaging and SiP Design, IC package design

Spreadsheets, we all use them, and many of us do so daily. They are an efficient means of communicating information quickly. But, they are far more powerful if you can format them with colors, fonts, cell outlines, column widths and row heights, text justification, and other useful ancillary info.

Enter the 16.6 Cadence IC Packaging tools and their new SKILL API to read and write formatted spreadsheets. These spreadsheets, compliant with Microsoft's open spreadsheet XML format, can be written from SKILL with full formatting support or read with SKILL to annotate or update the active drawing with data from an external source.

Read on to learn what is supported by these new API functions and some ideas for how you can use these to take your documentation output to the next level!

Write a spreadsheet providing design database information

Using the new axlSpreadsheet functions, you can write a full spreadsheet, formatted and ready for immediate use in Microsoft Excel, OpenOffice Calc, or other spreadsheet-editing tools. Just what can you do? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • A multi-worksheet document with a single worksheet illustrating die pin/ball map of net assignments for each component in the design
  • A summary report formatted to your specific design flow requirements, formatted in an optimal manner for communicating with your partners
  • A net list report that lists not just via and bump counts or other information, but also each net's highlight color in the drawing for easier reference
  • A listing of your specific design rules, coded red, yellow, and green to indicate items that are out of spec, dangerously close to the limits, or well within tolerance ranges for each analysis and discussion in design team meetings

And, don't think that you are limited to generating brand new spreadsheets. Do you have a template document where you just want to update specific cells based on the current drawing? No problem! Open the template, update the appropriate cells, and adjust formatting if desired, and write out the updates to a new file.

Updating your design from data in a spreadsheet 

Just as you can write a spreadsheet from information in the package substrate layout, you may want to read changes from that spreadsheet (or another spreadsheet entirely) to update the drawing. Here are a few ideas for ways to leverage this powerful new capability in the other direction:

  • Update net assignments to pins of a component from a spreadsheet written by an internal tool or third-party optimization engine
  • Change net names and other information to remove or restore sensitive intellectual property information when communicating with partners
  • Create or update components using additional SKILL APIs based on information in a spreadsheet instead of writing and maintaining your own parser for custom-formatted text files (for more information on additional support routines to add, delete, or move pins of existing components or to create new components and symbols, talk to your Cadence support representative)
  • Place patterns of vias, HDI via stacks, and other structures based on pattern specifications in the file and layer/constraint information in the active design to determine appropriate padstacks, via spacing, etc.

Do you want to read this data from a comma-delimited file written by an internal tool your group maintains, but want the freedom to access that CSV file using the spreadsheet API? Cadence has you covered! With the axlSpreadsheetReadDelimited function, you can supply the file name and the column-delimited character to have the tool automatically convert this into a spreadsheet. You won't get cell formatting or multiple worksheets, since the CSV format doesn't support these advanced capabilities, but you can still access cell data to update your design or convert it to a formatted spreadsheet (and add formatting info at the same time) that you write back to disk. Go ahead and get creative!

Coming soon... 

Do you want custom spreadsheets written based on your designs but don't have the time or expertise to use these new API routines? Consider contracting Cadence's experienced and highly efficient services team to produce spreadsheet-generating tools for your specific needs.

Do you need access to read, write, or preserve a spreadsheet object not supported by the interface (which is geared towards spreadsheets specifically, not advanced structures such as graphs, embedded documents, or other items)?

Do you have an idea for a standard worksheet of information that could be generated with a single function call for common use by all designers using APD or SiP Layout for package design that, if provided by Cadence, would promote industry-standard communication using a common spreadsheet format?

Whatever your needs, Cadence is here to help you maximize your productivity by getting the most out of the tool today, tomorrow, and in the future. Let your Cadence support representative know, so that information can be passed on to the development team for consideration in a future release. And move to the latest 16.6 ISR today and maximize the value you extract from Cadence's industry-leading IC Package layout design tools!


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