DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

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jazn
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DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#1 Post by jazn » 26 Apr 2018, 20:39

Our high school students build experiments that go aboard the International Space Station. To do this, they have to design and implement their own pcb payloads. I plan to move our more advanced students to DipTrace and have prepared some training material to supplement the excellent DipTrace Tutorial. This is an addendum covers how DipTrace wants us to think about and work with its file system.

I've made a lot of conjectures :roll: on how the tool might work in order to provide a high level abstraction of DipTrace file system so that my kids can become productive quickly. :lol: Please don't flame me for mistakes and inaccuracies. I would most grateful for any constructive feedback you might have.

thanks so much.
Jaz
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dtu2
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Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#2 Post by dtu2 » 27 Apr 2018, 00:43

Hi Jaz,

Since you asked... couple of comments:

<<
Level 1 directories point to one or more level 2 directories. We can think of “Components” as holding 5 pointers, each of which point to a level 2 directory.
>>

If your going to use the logical / physical analogy, it might make more sense *to me* if it read something to the effect of:

“Level 1 directories point to one or more level 2 LOGICAL directories. We can think of Components” as holding 5 pointers, each of which, for purposes of this discussion, point to a level 2 LOGICAL directory which actually, in reality, are just simply .eli or .lib physical files. And those physical files can contain one or more Diptrace Components or Patterns depending on the library type".

Or something like that... you get the idea...

And yes, this may be painfully obvious to you or me or anyone else already familiar with Diptrace Library Groups but lets not forget that the intended audience is not and however pedantic it might seem I'm always looking for maximum clarity and reinforcement of new terms when trying to learn something new.

Anyway, I can't help but think that maybe a marked-up screenshot of a Diptrace Windows directory structure example might help. Oh, and I like pictures & videos... I'm a simple man.

Jeff
Jeff

dtu2
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Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#3 Post by dtu2 » 27 Apr 2018, 10:18

Hi Jaz,

More:

I think one of the more confusing aspects of the Diptrace Library file naming convention is that although those logical names in your Level 2 directory actually represent links to real physical .eli or .lib files in a real physical directory, they don't necessarily need to have the same name. The logical name is chosen arbitrarily when the library is added in the Component or Pattern editor and may or may not be chosen to be the same as the actual physical file they represent.

One can 'mouse over' one of those level 2 files in the Component or Pattern editor and when you look at the top line of the screen it shows the actual physical file and it's path so you can see what and where the file really is. But if you rename that actual physical file in your Pattern or Component Windows directory (where those files truly live) and reload that library in it's editor the logical file name that Diptrace displays doesn't change to reflect that name change. Of course this is all because Diptrace keeps the logical file name chosen at the time the library was made as part of the library file itself and it doesn't correlate to the actual Windows file name.

So those two independent and inconsistent names may lead to confusion as much as they lend flexibility.

This can lead to much head scratching if you take a copy of a library and make changes to it then rename it in Windows only and then share it without changing the Diptrace Library name.

Jeff
Jeff

jazn
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Joined: 14 Apr 2018, 21:10

Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#4 Post by jazn » 27 Apr 2018, 10:22

thanks Jeff,
My first draft used "level x logical directories" consistently. One of my colleagues thought it broke the flow and I repeated it too much. But your rewording is accurate and flows well. Considering that my target audience* are not seasoned designers your observations are appropriate and I will make the changes you suggested (and use them consistently throughout). Thank you taking the time to review and comment on the draft.
jaz

*My intended audience are my high school students many of which have good programming skills and can design PCB's using ExpressPCB. But many of them don't like ExpressPCB because they feel it does not prepare them for the more advanced tools used in industry such as Altium, OrCAD, Eagle. DipTrace's learning curve is very reasonable and I will be test piloting the DipTrace with them next year.

dtu2
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Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#5 Post by dtu2 » 27 Apr 2018, 12:43

Hi Jaz,

In light of all this I'm wondering if you might want to revisit this section as well:

<<<
The top pane lists names for the level 2 hierarchy. Again, these are not physical, they are only logical names pretending to be a real directory. The Library Tools pane allows you to add more level 2 names.
>>

I know what you mean but I don't know if someone who is new to this might find this a bit confusing (I did at first).

Since those Level 2 names are actually internal Diptrace library names (an 'alias', if you will,) that really point to the actual Diptrace .eli and .lib files in a Windows directory and not the physical directories themselves it seem a bit confusing to me to relate a logical directory name (the Diptrace library name alias) to a Windows file (.eli / .lib files) without clarifying that transition here. You know and I know that by describing it as "pretending to be a real directory" you're referring to the .eli / .lib files as logical directories but it can become confusing when mixing the term 'directory' when it means one thing in one instance (Windows) and something quite different in the other instance (internal Diptrace library 'alias' names described to hold Diptrace Conponents / Patterns).

I can't help feeling that you might need to stress that those Level 2 names are really internal Diptrace library names that are really just an 'alias' for the .eli / .lib files that are located in the actual Windows 'Components / Patterns' directories (again, you can mouse-over them and see the true Windows path and filename) and that the 'alias' Diptrace library name doesn't necessarily have to be the same name as the actual .eli / .lib file that they are 'pointing' to in a Windows directory (and there's the rub).

Yeah... what a mouthful... hope I described it correctly. Just seems a bit ambiguous if you know what I mean.

Anyway, HTH

Jeff
Jeff

jazn
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Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#6 Post by jazn » 27 Apr 2018, 17:24

Hi Jeff,
Your right, it is confusing and the logical name to a windows directory transition is too abrupt. I will certainly revisit, elaborate and clarify this section.

Another problem with my abstraction is that it gives the impression that the DipTrace file structure starting at a level 1 alias is anchored in a physical directory. But this is not true because the Library Setup window allows more than one physical folder to be added to a level 1 name and also allows libraries in different physical directories to be pulled in. I guess DipTrace added this capability to allow pulling in someone else's libraries but I worry how easy it would be trace back a component to its source if a level 1 has three or more physical folders and a bunch of libraries residing in different physical directories (I don't have a good example of why someone would want to do this). My original thought was simple to avoid discussing it. What do you think?

thanks
jaz

jazn
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Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#7 Post by jazn » 27 Apr 2018, 21:34

Hi Jeff
I am rewriting a good portion of the tutorial based on your great feedback. please stay tuned.
thanks
Jaz

dtu2
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Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#8 Post by dtu2 » 28 Apr 2018, 13:16

Hi Jaz,

What do I think? Hmm...

Well, I suppose if you're going to these lengths to create a document of this scope that you might as well include it and anything else you see pertinent. And since that option does exist and you've set out to undertake this then I think that you probably have to cover all aspects of that library system. If you don't it's just incomplete and you're probably going to be answering the same questions over and over. They're certainly not going to find any matching descriptions of this document anywhere else. And, come to think of it, this feature may turn out to be something they actually use especially if you're students are collaborating and sharing their work on different libraries in different locations. Of course your final document may be a bit to digest but that's ok.



I know this is more that you asked for so take it all with a grain of salt:

So because of all this I'm led to believe that *if* I were to take on something like this I would seriously consider using video. You could either make one video that lays it all out at once or imbed video clips in your word document at different palaces to help explain each topic... or both (which I probably would choose).

I'd probably first document it as you're presently doing with pictures and screenshots (some marked up) and then from that make a concise video that explains the whole thing (which they could watch first in class together and use your documentation as a detailed reference) and then go back and include some clips from your video as links imbedded in the document. The video itself may be enough but you're going to have to outline it all anyway so you may as well do both.

It sure would help explain things much as a tutor might. And since it might help students understand this on their own you may have fewer questions for you to answer. ;)

Yeah, well all very easy for me to say... I don't have to do it. :D

Jeff



BTW, I have to say I applaud you for your efforts to help your students with all of your extra work. I believe they are very fortunate that they have someone who cares enough to go the extra mile for them.

We sure could use more teachers like you in this world!

Oh, and one more thing:

There are some very sharp people on this forum who also share the heart of a teacher. This is a great place to get help from all those who are more than happy to answer a question or lend a hand.
Jeff

dtu2
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Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#9 Post by dtu2 » 28 Apr 2018, 20:41

jazn wrote:
27 Apr 2018, 21:34
Hi Jeff
I am rewriting a good portion of the tutorial based on your great feedback. please stay tuned.
thanks
Jaz
Jaz,

I forgot to add one more thing which I should have said to begin with.

Probably the best way to think of this whole library thing is that the .eli and .lib files are best thought of as simply database files containing one or more records which really is what they are. And those database files live in a normal Windows file system.

If you look at it that way things become much simpler.

Jeff
Jeff

jazn
Posts: 11
Joined: 14 Apr 2018, 21:10

Re: DipTrace Libraries Tutorial needs reviewers

#10 Post by jazn » 30 Apr 2018, 16:54

Hi Jeff
based your excellent feedback, I completely revised the tutorial. Please take a look.
thanks
jim
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