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CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #130138] Wed, 13 October 2010 17:47 Go to next message
Kenny Millar
Messages: 13
Registered: August 2010
Junior Member
hello makers -

this  is my first post here, i'm the senior editor at MAKE magazine and also  the creative director at adafruit. i've been part of a growing movement  called "open-source hardware" for the last 5 years or so. today we just  got some great news from the CadSoft EAGLE development team about the  their long term commitment to text based file formats in the world of  electronics development. with their permission i am posting this here  and on MAKE (as well as adafruit). it's extremely exciting for those of  us who wanted an XML format for files and we're thrilled CadSoft EAGLE  has said they're committed to it!

here's the overview of what we learned:

* CadSoft EAGLE (our preferred schematic/layout software) has told us they are committed to a text based format in the long term.
* The  CadSoft EAGLE development team is developing a new format for  schematic, layout and parts libraries that is XML, this means every  object and line will be written out in text description.
* You  won't have to worry about binary file corruption, you will be able to  hand-edit or generate schematics and layouts and of course the magic of  version-control (such as github) will be easier than ever with real text  'diff's!
* This will be a fully documented format and also of course a converter for old CadSoft EAGLE binary-type formats.


this  is a great direction and i encourage you to support EAGLE as you decide  which tools to use now and in the future. but that's not all, i've  chatted with the element-14 folks and they're all set up for your  feedback, if they're very interested in Maker voices their product  development. so here's your chance folks!

cheers,
pt
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #130139 is a reply to message #130138] Wed, 13 October 2010 18:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Olin
Messages: 796
Registered: December 2009
Location: Massachusetts
Senior Member
Kenny Millar wrote on Wed, 13 October 2010 17:47

* CadSoft EAGLE (our preferred schematic/layout software) has told us they are committed to a text based format in the long term.

Yes, people here have been well aware of that for a while. I know Eagle is going that way, and I'm sure Cadsoft will make it all work nicely, but I'm not at all thrilled about a text and XML based format. The files will be much more verbose and harder to parse and interpret than straight binary. The part about transmitting text files is a non-issue since there are many common ways to transmit binary files.

The real issue is that the file format be documented, and it's a very good thing Cadsoft will do that. However, I'd rather see a clearly documented binary format than verbose and overly complicated XML.
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #130199 is a reply to message #130139] Thu, 14 October 2010 16:04 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Baron
Messages: 74
Registered: November 2008
Location: UK
Member
Olin Lathrop Inscribed thus:

> Kenny Millar wrote on Wed, 13 October 2010 17:47
>> * CadSoft EAGLE (our preferred schematic/layout software) has told us
>> they are committed to a text based format in the long term.
>
> Yes, people here have been well aware of that for a while. I know
> Eagle is going that way, and I'm sure Cadsoft will make it all work
> nicely, but I'm not at all thrilled about a text and XML based format.
> The files will be much more verbose and harder to parse and interpret
> than straight binary. The part about transmitting text files is a
> non-issue since there are many common ways to transmit binary files.
>
> The real issue is that the file format be documented, and it's a very
> good thing Cadsoft will do that. However, I'd rather see a clearly
> documented binary format than verbose and overly complicated XML.
>

Whilst I can see both sides of the coin here, I don't agree that text
based XML would be harder to parse, indeed it would be much less
obscure than binary and probably self documenting.

--
Best Regards:
Baron.
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #130240 is a reply to message #130199] Fri, 15 October 2010 07:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Olin
Messages: 796
Registered: December 2009
Location: Massachusetts
Senior Member
Baron wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 16:04

Whilst I can see both sides of the coin here, I don't agree that text based XML would be harder to parse,

It would be almost by definition. The computer will ultimately deal with the data in binary internally. Since XML is text based, it has to convert back and forth between the native internal binary format and the XML text format.

If the file were in binary, about the most you'd have to do is flip the byte order of multi-byte values, depending on what kind of machine you were on.

Quote:

indeed it would be much less obscure than binary and probably self documenting.

There is no such thing a self-documenting. In fact just the possibility that someone thinks it is self documenting is another reason against it. Whatever file format is used, it must be carefully and completely documented.

XML is really a framework for storing tree structured data in a text file. It sounds nice to say you are using a "standard", but at most you're using a standard framework to which your proprietary commands have to be added. At the very least you could define a binary equivalent of the XML structure and insert your proprietary binary commands into that. Either way the proprietary commands need to be properly documented by Cadsoft.
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #130261 is a reply to message #130240] Fri, 15 October 2010 15:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Baron
Messages: 74
Registered: November 2008
Location: UK
Member
Olin Lathrop Inscribed thus:

> Baron wrote on Thu, 14 October 2010 16:04
>> Whilst I can see both sides of the coin here, I don't agree that text
>> based XML would be harder to parse,
>
> It would be almost by definition. The computer will ultimately deal
> with the data in binary internally. Since XML is text based, it has
> to convert back and forth between the native internal binary format
> and the XML text format.

Whilst I don't disagree that the computer will process only binary code,
any input will still require conversion to a form that the processor
can use. If it is that the format was XML, I doubt that any
significant extra processing overhead would be incurred.

> If the file were in binary, about the most you'd have to do is flip
> the byte order of multi-byte values, depending on what kind of machine
> you were on.

Again big endion/little endion conversions across multi platforms is
routine particularly since ascii/utf8/16 defines the code base for text
in multiple languages.

> Quote:
>> indeed it would be much less obscure than binary and probably self
>> documenting.
>
> There is no such thing as self-documenting. In fact just the
> possibility that someone thinks it is self documenting is another
> reason against it. Whatever file format is used, it must be carefully
> and completely documented.

I have no argument against proper documentation at all, indeed I would
suggest that lack of proper documentation is a major failing !
Certainly most programmers don't seem to produce much supporting
documentation for the programs they write.

However XML being easily human readable, which binary code is not,
hopefully should aid understanding rather than obscuring it.

> XML is really a framework for storing tree structured data in a text
> file. It sounds nice to say you are using a "standard", but at most
> you're using a standard framework to which your proprietary commands
> have to be added. At the very least you could define a binary
> equivalent of the XML structure and insert your proprietary binary
> commands into that. Either way the proprietary commands need to be
> properly documented by Cadsoft.
>

I would agree that while XML is often used to represent data structures
the design of XML focuses more on documents. *Though it seems everyone
has their own idea of how it should be utilised, aka M$ DocX.*

--
Best Regards:
Baron.
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #141112 is a reply to message #130138] Tue, 13 September 2011 15:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kenny Millar
Messages: 13
Registered: August 2010
Junior Member
Howdy,

CadSoft has just updated their site with info on V6 including the new XML file format:

http://www.cadsoftusa.com/eagle-pcb-design-software/new-in-v6

Adafruit is excited:

http://www.adafruit.com/blog/2011/09/13/whats-new-in-eagle-v6/

Fire up your XML parsers!

Cheers,
Drew
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #141116 is a reply to message #141112] Tue, 13 September 2011 15:45 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kenny Millar
Messages: 13
Registered: August 2010
Junior Member
Jorge of CadSoft shows off a preview of the XML format over in this thread:

http://www.element14.com/community/message/37077 (/message/37077)
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #141206 is a reply to message #130138] Sat, 17 September 2011 20:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kenny Millar
Messages: 13
Registered: August 2010
Junior Member
Is this a precursor to adding a hierarchical structure to the software?
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #141343 is a reply to message #141206] Thu, 22 September 2011 19:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Drew Fustini
Messages: 21
Registered: September 2011
Junior Member
On 09/17/2011 07:24 PM, dfnr2 wrote:
> Is this a precursor to adding a hierarchical structure to the software?
>

By hierarchical structure, do you mean elements in an XML document like
in the screenshot that Jorge posted?

Cheers,
Drew
Re: CadSoft EAGLE development team developing XML format for schematic, layout and parts libraries! [message #141624 is a reply to message #141206] Wed, 05 October 2011 13:53 Go to previous message
Kenny Millar
Messages: 13
Registered: August 2010
Junior Member
Hi dfnr2,

The new XML structure will make a hierarchal schematic a possibility, and the beginnings of this are starting to show by allowing you to bring in consistent board/schematic pairs into a new design without any loss of consistency.

So I would say yes this is the precursor.

Best Regards,
Jorge Garcia
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