Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Early in DE’s history, we had an issue focusing on PCB (printed circuit board) design software. The awesome thing about it was that real PCB design had just become a reality on standard-issue engineering workstations of the day. So, for that month’s cover image, we used a screenshot of some routing pattern. OK, I admit that it looked kind of like what Scot Plaid Op Art would look to a New Year’s reveler long after midnight. Still, one of the owners at the time, a dental hygienist by trade, was baffled by it and (huffily) demanded explanation. My exposition of traces, layers, pins, components and all that failed to uncrease her furrowed brow.
But, criminy, we’ve come such a long way. Today’s Pick of the Week is about a mobile app for your PCB design environment. It sounds cool.
Zuken recently released CADSTAR Touch App for its CADSTAR desktop PCB design environment. CADSTAR is the company’s integrated suite of applications for the whole enchilada of PCB design: schematics, signal integrity verification, floor planning, simulating A/Ds and FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays), variant management, and so on. It’s suitable for lone designers, outfits operating out of multiple locations, and small- and mid-sized design teams.
If you’re not familiar with CADSTAR, go to the end of today’s main write-up. There’s a link to download something called CADSTAR Express, an evaluation package on steroids. CADSTAR Express is a reduced version of CADSTAR 14, but it’s designed to give you a full taste of the software. I’m told it has all the functionality of CADSTAR 14, albeit it is limited to 300 pins and 50 components. It also provides a look at some of the more than 250,000 parts available from the CADSTAR Online Library. CADSTAR Express is also supported with a bunch of tutorials and more than 35 videos. As I said, this is not your run of the mill eval unit.
Anyway, back to the new CADSTAR Touch App. It uses your Android or iOS mobile device's Wi-Fi connection to communicate with a PC running CADSTAR somewhere on the your local network. In a nutshell, what the App does is let you interact with your CADSTAR layouts and control CADSTAR functions through your Android or iOS tablet or smart phone.
CADSTAR Touch App uses all the mobile device interface functions you would expect, such as pinch to zoom, drag to pan, and double tap to view all. Androidians can also control CADSTAR Touch App with their voice. You can also use CADSTAR Touch App to operate functions in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Internet Explorer.
The part that is really interesting is that you can customize the CADSTAR Touch App. That means you can develop macros for fast access to the CADSTAR functions you use a lot. For example, you can whip up a macro to scroll through layers. And you can enable/disable macros as need be, of course. And since you can do it from an Android tablet or smartphone or iPhone, iPod touch or iPad, you can impress the client or boss wherever you are.
CADSTAR Touch App now comes with CADSTAR 14. If you hitched a ride on CADSTAR 14 before that came to be, you can download CADSTAR Touch App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for nothing. That’s good stuff.
You can learn more about the CADSTAR Touch App from today’s Editor’s Pick of the Week link. You’ll also learn more about CADSTAR 14 in the write-up and a linked video. It has a new version of its router technology that sounds like it’ll make changing designs fast and easy.
Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering
Read today's pick of the week write-up.
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