Experimental Physics and Industrial Control System

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<== Date ==> <== Thread ==>

Subject: Re: CapFast enhancements
From: npr@jach.hawaii.edu (Nick Rees)
To: tech-talk@aps.anl.gov
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 1996 11:18:45 -1000 (HST)
Dear All,

A few weeks ago Phase 3, the developers of Capfast, contacted Johnny
Tang and myself about possible improvements to Capfast. Apparently,
they are going to be working on upgrading the Motif version RSN -
whatever that means. We made a first pass at this which came up with
the following list. I think it is fairly complete, but if there are any
major problems we have overlooked please let me know.

Points are classified on whether they are bugs or enhancements, and
what priority we attach to them. Johnny and I had different priorities
at times, so where we couldn't reach agreement I left the two
priorities. I think this reflects that we are vastly different sites
(we have only a few people and a small budget and a telescope, Johnny
is different).

Bugs are also classified as:

    o Critical  (which makes the software unusable, and no work around exist)

    o Major   ( same as critical, but an work-around exists)

    o Minor   (as the name implies)

Priorities are numbered 1 to 3, with 1 being high.

Nick Rees

Joint Astronomy Centre                    Ph:       +1 (808) 961-3756
660 N. Aohoku Place                       Fax:      +1 (808) 961-6516
Hilo, HI.  96720                          Internet: npr@jach.hawaii.edu


              List of suggested Capfast Improvements.

1. Menus are not loaded each time you select them.  Must exit program and
   restart it to load modified menus.

Enhancement, Priority 3.

2. Schedit redraws window after selecting a parts library from the
   Configure menu.  This takes a long time on large schematics.

Minor Bug, Priority JAC 2, CEBAF 1.

3. When you select a part to put in the schematic, the view zooms out and
   pans, causing a redraw.  This takes a long time on large schematics.

Minor Bug, Priority JAC 2, CEBAF 1.

4. Need to be able to resize property list.

Enhancement, Priority JAC 1, CEBAF2.

5. Need to be able to select a property value from a list when a property
   rules file is being used.  Want to double click on the property to cause
   a selection list to pop up.

Enhancement, Priority JAC 2, CEBAF 1.

6. The values in a list in a property rules file are sorted
   alphabetically by CapFast.  You want them to appear in the same order you
   entered them in the rules file, so that for example, the order would be
   numerical, as in: 1 second, 2 seconds, 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds.

Enhancement (or removal of current `feature'?), Priority JAC 3, CEBAF 2.

7. Only one list of legal values can be defined for a given property
   name.  This is not desirable.

Enhancement, Priority 2.

8. When a property's value is changed, the property list resets to the
   top of the list.

Major Bug (some would say critical), Priority 1. 

9. The CALC property does not handle numbers (constants) properly.  It
   does not accept numeric constants such as 1, 4.5, etc.

Major Bug, Priority 1.

10. Speed up redraw, if possible.

Enhancement, Priority JAC 2, CEBAF 1.

11. The following doesn't work as a rule:
    HOPR : ( $* >= $( LOPR ) )
    LOPR : ( $* <= $( HOPR ) )
    If HOPR is 1.0e+8, then it objects if LOPR is 1. (And a lot of other

Major Bug, Priority 1.

12. Reading a new property rules file doesn't clear the previous rules.

Minor Bug, Priority 3.

13. Incorporating the symbol name somewhere in the property window. This
    could be extended so that you could change the symbol whose properties
    you are editing by changing the name in the properties window.

Enhancement, Priority 1. 

14. Optionally don't sort the properties in the properties window.

Enhancement, Priority 2.

15. Improve the wire routing/rerouting algorithm. This is an area
    in which Capfast doesn't reach many of its competitors standards. Two
    major things would be nice:

  a. If someone connects two arbitrary ports together then there would be
     a mode in which the wire would be `auto-routed' so it:
      i.   Only is routed horizontally and vertically.
      ii.  Isn't routed 'on top of' any other wire (it may cross wires,
           of course).
      iii. Has corners that are snapped to gridpoints
      iv.  Doesn't pass over any part.
      v.   Doesn't pass over or `short to' any port that is not positioned
           at an unconnected endpoint of the wire.
      vi.  Is reasonably short - primarily it doesn't have pointless U-shaped

  b. If the part is moved then all wires are rerouted to satisfy the above

Shorting to ports and wires is a major, near critical, bug, others are
probably enhancements. Priority 1.

16. Enter symed from schedit.  When I create a hierarchial symbol,
    I'd like to be able to pop into xsymed and edit the symbols.  Exiting
    would either return me to schedit, or more simply, close the xsymed window.

Enhancement, Priority 3. 

17. Reload and add ports to a new symbol.  Currently if you create
    a new symbol you can add ports until you save it.  When you reload
    the drawing and select the symbol, you cannot add more ports, but get
    the error "No Block selected".

Minor Bug, Priority JAC 2, CEBAF 1.

18. Create split windows.  I'd like to be able to show two drawings
    simultaneously, in the left and right (or top and bottom) halves.

Enhancement, Priority 2.

19. Fix the floating license. Some sites have purchased a floating license,
    but Phase Three has to keep issuing me time-locked licenses until
    they fix the license mangler.

Major Bug, Priority 1.

20. The ability to add a text note box to a diagram and edit the text within
    it, which I found very useful in version 2, was withdrawn in version 3.
    This makes it very difficult to document diagrams using a paragraph of
    text. I have had to resort to importing note boxes created using version
    2 and editing the ".sch" files manually to change the text (very 
    dodgy). I can't understand why this was done, as it is like 
    withdrawing the comment feature from a compiler. I would like to see
    this feature restored.

Major Bug, Priority JAC 1, CEBAF 2.

21. Editing free form text using the "Text" menu requires the whole text 
    string to be retyped. I would like to be able to edit the text rather
    than type the whole thing back in again. This could be done by bringing
    up an "Edit text" pop-up rather than prompting me for a new line of text
    at the bottom of the screen.
Enhancement, Priority JAC 2 CEBAF 1.

22. Whenever the "Display" flag for a property is switched on for the first
    time in the properties menu and "Move" is selected the display zooms
    out, redraws and becomes unreadable. The reason is that the default
    location for the display of each property seems to be way outside the
    diagram. I would like to see the default location chosen sensibly - e.g.
    somewhere near the centre of the symbol that property refers to or
    (even better) one line below the last property you displayed.

Minor Bug, Priority 2.

23. Sometimes when I attempt to move a displayed property using "Move"
    from the properties menu the diagram redraws and the display of the 
    other properties disappears. This makes it impossible to line up 
    these displays. Usually more than one attempt is needed. I think 
    this is a bug.

Minor Bug, Priority 2.

24. If a symbol for a particular part is not found Capfast gives up and
    refuses to display any of the diagram. I would prefer to see Capfast
    use a default symbol for such objects and attempt to display the 
    diagram. The reasons are as follows:
      a. Sometimes I need to be able just to look at a diagram imported from
         somewhere else, and occasionally these diagrams use custom symbols
         I don't have available.
      b. If I change the name of a symbol I have to have two copies of the
         symbol available (old and new) in order to edit the diagrams to
         use the new symbol. If I don't follow this procedure some of my
         diagrams get into a state where they can't be edited.
      c. The most serious reason is that each diagram I have is dependent
         on the presence of *all* the symbols it uses. If only one of those
         symbols get corrupted or is deleted by accident then my whole
         diagram becomes uneditable.

Critical Bug, Priority 1.

25. I would like Phase 3 seriously to consider changing the look and feel
    of Capfast. The editors seem clunky and old fashioned compared to 
    most GUI packages. Particular improvements could be (for example):
      a. Allowing you to select an object by clicking on it instead of
         having to go into the "Select" menu.
      b. Adding a new object to the list of selected objects by clicking
         on it with the middle mouse button.
      c. Moving objects by dragging them instead of having to select the
         "Edit/Move" menu.
      d. Bringing up the "Properties" menu for an object automatically
         by double clicking on it (or pressing the right mouse button).
      e. Starting a wire automatically whenever the mouse is clicked
         on a port with the CTRL key pressed.
      f. Going into "Select/Area" mode automatically whenever the mouse
         is dragged with the CTRL and SHIFT keys pressed.
      g. Allowing a wire to be selected and repositioned by clicking on
         it with CTRL pressed and dragging the mouse.
      h. Bringing up the "Edit" menu automatically whenever the right
         mouse button is pressed in open space.
      i. Including "Zoom+" and "Zoom- "buttons so you don't have to keep
         bringing up the "View" menu.
      The usual defence against such improvements is that long standing
      users of Capfast are used to the present look and feel and will not
      like a change. What Phase 3 could do is include a "Preferences" menu
      so that users can set up their own look and feel. For example
      "Select object with mouse click" could be a flag on the preferences
      menu you can turn on and off.

Enhancement, Priority 3.

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