EAGLE Version 6 - Introduction of the Control Panel

EAGLE Version 6 - Introduction of the Control Panel
EAGLE Version 6 - Introduction of the Control Panel
CadSoft Computer introduced a new major release of their Layout Software
EAGLE in December 2011. The new version 6 starts with all the functionality an
Electronic Design Engineer needs for drawing schematics and creating a printed
circuit board.
New is that EAGLE's internal data structure is in XML format,
which currently is unique in the professional
ECAD software world.
The first article of this series will explain the basics
of the EAGLE Control Panel which is the EAGLE
starting window. The user can get an overview
about
the
Libraries
and
the
User
Language
Programs EAGLE comes with and that's the place
where you manage existing and new projects. It's
Control Panel -- Tree view
also the place where you can decide about a
number of program settings.
On the left hand side of the Control Panel you find
the so-called
tree view.
Opening
one of
the
branches, for example "Libraries", shows all the
library files that come with EAGLE. Expand one of
the entries and you will see the Devices and
Packages that are contained in the library file. Click
Library preview
onto one of the entries and the preview of the component will be shown.
The same can be done for "User Language Programs" or, for example, for the "Projects"
branch. By the way: User Language Programs (ULPs) are more or less simple, C-like
programs that can be used for a variety of tasks. It is possible to export data from your
schematic or layout into any format. There is for example "dxf.ulp" which creates DXF
data or "bom.ulp" for creating a bill of materials. Importing data is possible as well.
Provided you have a good description of the data format you could write such a program
by yourself in order to import data into EAGLE.
The whole User Language is described in the EAGLE help file. ULPs can be used to modify
your project and automize certain tasks. All in all that's a very flexible tool with countless
options. Look into the ULPs that come with EAGLE or check for additional files in the
Download area of CadSoft web site http://www.cadsoft.de.
On top of the Control Panel there is located the menu bar. The "Options" entry leads you
to some interesting configuration possibilities. Click onto the first entry "Directories".
Here you can decide about where EAGLE has to look
for its files. Libraries, User
Language Programs, the Projects, Design Rule files and CAM jobs can be located in any
folder, either on your local computer or on a network server. You are allowed to specify
several folders, if you like to. Let's say you prefer to have the default libraries available
on a server, and your personal ones are located in your private folders.
Directories dialog
The second entry in the "Options" menu is about "Backup". EAGLE creates a number of
backup files each time you save your project. There is a maximum of 9 possible backups.
They are named with the file extension .b#1 to .b#9 for the board file (*.brd). The same
for schematics (*.sch) and library files (*.lbr). They get the extensions .s#1 to s#9 and
.l#1 to .l#9 accordingly. The automatic backup which is created automtically in the given
interval has the extension .b/s/l##. If you have to recover one of the backups you
rename it to a valid EAGLE extension.
The "Options/User Interface" menu
allows you to change the background
colors of the Editor windows or the
appearance of the mouse cursor. You
can also decide about the toolbars to
be displayed or hidden.
Backup dialog
One further interesting setting can be
found in the "Help/Check for Update"
menu. Here you can control whether
EAGLE is allowed to check for newer
versions available on the CadSoft
webserver. As soon as a new release
is available EAGLE will tell you. You
can EAGLE let check for beta versions
as well. So you can be sure to be
User interface
always up to date.
As stated in the beginning, all the
basic settings can be made in the
EAGLE Control Panel. EAGLE will save
all these in your "home" folder in a
user-specific configuration file which
is named .eaglerc for Linux and Mac
OS-X and eaglerc.usr for Windows.
Update check
There are some more options in the menus. Look into them and find out what you
can do with the Control Panel. By the way: The EAGLE manual which comes with
EAGLE as a PDF file, contains an extra chapter about the Control Panel.
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