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Feature Request - JUST ONE SINGLE DOCUMENT for PCB's (Multiple documents are a pain and confusing)

17 REPLIES 17
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Message 1 of 18
ImDaveM
651 Views, 17 Replies

Feature Request - JUST ONE SINGLE DOCUMENT for PCB's (Multiple documents are a pain and confusing)

HI,

 

I find the use of multiple documents/files for a PCB design confusing and cumbersome to work with, especially if you have multiple pcb's in the one assembly.

 

One big problem this would fix is that we would NO LONGER WORRY ABOUT SYNC! It can be gone for good!

 

I would like to have just ONE DOCUMENT for a pcb design and all the schematics, 2d layouts, 3d views, simulations, BOM and Gerbers , drawings etc are all accesses under the one TAB Item.

 

We could then have a nice set of buttons to switch between views ie. SCH/BRD/3D/BOM/CAM/SIM/DWG

 

NO MORE SYNC PROBLEMS and SEVERING of Designs!

 

Currently It gets confusing because of all the tabs and the naming of files which document your working on. 

All the updating between documents and all the individual saves and versions are annoying.

 

It no different to viewing a 3D Model in design vs render space vs any of the other options as we still only have one document/file.

 

What would be the problem if we just have ONE Document/File for a PCB design?

If we need to have multiple versions of say board layout, then we could have that selectable within that view?

 

What do you think?

 

I really think this idea would be very beneficial to NEW PCB users, I can tell you , If I have to learn ECAD starting with F360 as it is now, I would go nuts! Especially just getting past the multiple documents idea! ( not to mention the library!) 

 

Thanks
Dave M

 

17 REPLIES 17
Message 2 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: ImDaveM

I dave,

 

I think this is a brilliant idea!

 

Dave M

Message 3 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: ImDaveM

see image for my idea!

 

Screen Shot 2021-10-06 at 4.18.05 pm.jpg

Message 4 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: ImDaveM

So does anyone from AUTODESK think this is a good idea? 

I will ALWAYS HATE fusion electronics whilst we have multiple tabs for PCB's!

Just saying!

Message 5 of 18
PW_VOX
in reply to: ImDaveM

The tabs work fine and are logical, but a single file (container)  containing the schematic,  board and 3D would save a lot of problems.  It is inordinately confusing trying to roll back a design. 

Message 6 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: PW_VOX

I agree, right now i am working on multiple PCBs that all fit into another assembly, It's a nightmare making sure where I save my documents, which version am i am working on, and the constant warnings about sync! Not to mention working on making library components and all the windows ( tabs) that that opens.

 

also what do you NAME all the file to and there is no REVISION CONTROL, ( just saved versions control) which is NOT REVISION CONTROL.

 

We are missing HIERARCHY view of our files, we need to view all the items in a tree view type display.

Message 7 of 18
engineeringNCMXB
in reply to: ImDaveM

I hope the dev team is already going in this direction. It is so messy in general. From the user perspective, Fusion360 simply provides an Eagle window.

I do, however, like being able to spread the project across 4 monitors but surely that could be accommodated without having a single electronics projects come up as 4 tabs that need to be synced.

Carlos Acosta
Factory400 - YouTube|Instagram
Message 8 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: ImDaveM

HI Carlos,

I hope so too, as for viewing PCB workspaces across multiple displays, we could just right click on the current view ( sch, brd, 3D Pcb, overview etc) and the option "Tear away Current View to A New Window",

 

Screen Shot 2021-10-18 at 8.48.14 am.jpg

and that way you still only need ONE FILE to save and open, whenever you make a change in any of the views, all the data is updated across the other views. No more pushing or pulling, no more breaking sync!

Message 9 of 18
j.lodder
in reply to: ImDaveM

I suppose in the future they want to develop it more towards altium designers setup where you can have many-to-many relationships between boards and schematics. So your plan kind of goes the other way.

 

True that the "project" tab is kind of useless right now. Maybe a nested tab-bar under the project tab. And always opening the project regardless of which thing you open. Could be improvements I guess.

 

But if your plan improves the tab-switching-speed, yes please, yesterday.

Message 10 of 18
benjamin.jordan
in reply to: ImDaveM

Hi all, There's a conflation of topics here. Having one "document type" per tab, and synchronization, are completely separate topics. 

The posts by @PW_VOX and @j.lodder are on the right track. The issues you currently blame on being tabbed documents are really caused by other things which we are working to improve/resolve. For instance, Fusion still have no default view for Electronics designers, and the current "Electronics Document" isn't a document at all, but a container (it should be called a "Project" but unfortunately the term "Project" was already used to mean "Fusion Team folder" in Fusion before we came along and put electronics into it). 

 

When you open an electronics "Document" (project) today, it makes you watch the whole feature-length film while it opens each and every document (schematic, 2D PCB, 3D PCB) in their own tabs. With the current release this makes you see everything including the yellow warning bars telling you the PCB document and schematic have severed sync (because the documents haven't yet been completely opened and parsed), which can make you think that sync is broken (when often is not). That, and tab switching/opening performance is really slow. That's a high priority item for us in ECAD in particular. 

 

So good news - we've already done a lot of work to improve tab switching performance. And we are working on making Fusion open the ECAD designs with background loading so it doesn't force you to watch everything while it's opening. 

 

Those two things alone will go a long way to mitigating this particular problem.

 

Architecturally, there are good reasons for separating out the schematic, PCB, and 3D PCB like we did, and moving from the ye olde EAGLE insta-sync (works for simple designs) to the synchronizer/ECO method. And once you get familiar with a synchronizer and ECO process, you understand why the so-called "high end" tools have always done it that way: Collaboration. Collaboration not just with other users, but also self-collaboration. There's no way you can start to do serious designs, and reuse, and multi-channel (and many other features needed for modern consumer electronics development) efficiently without these features. But being able to reuse a schematic or create multiple channels effectively while managing the data, needs a synchronizer. 

 

Synchronizers also allow you to do non-destructive editing. 

 

Now, I know that we have Design Blocks (in EAGLE) which go part way, but they are very limited. And I know, that many readers of this post will say "I don't do multi-channel" or "I don't collaborate with others" or "I don't need non-destructive editing". That's totally cool. Not every design or designer will need this. But it is needed by many, and whether I would admit or not, I know there are many times in EAGLe when I deleted something from schematic only to which it hadn't also deleted it from the board, and other times when I wanted to copy from one design to another just a subcircuit and had no easy way to do it. 

 

In aggregate, I think what we're doing is going to solve these problems but also enhance the tool to suit a broarder audience of electrical engineers working on larger designs. That's the goal. 

 

I hope this helps! And thanks again for the feedback.

-Ben.



Ben Jordan

Senior Product Manager, Fusion 360 Electronics

LinkedIn | YouTube | Personal Blog | Fusion 360 Electronics Series
Message 11 of 18
PW_VOX
in reply to: ImDaveM

Thanks for clarification Ben

 

But you didn't address the real issue that I was raising, which is related to version control.  Being able to roll back a design can save days of work.  However it is really difficult to do with your current data model.  I not actually sure how I achieved it the last time I did it, but it involved  a lot of loading  and  saving as latest version until I got what I needed.  What we should be able to do is just roll back the 'Electronic Document' and for the versions of the schematic and PCB to roll back with it to the versions saved in that document.  As it is, what you get is a load of 'more recent version exists' errors.  What was particularly confusing was having to save the document file every time you rolled back a schematic or board file.  It would also help if there was some documentation as to what was going on under hood.

 

As for the great things that you are promising, I'm looking forward to it, I could have used multi-channel design is several places in my last board I did.  I'm also keen the possibility of deriving one design from another.  My current project needs two versions which are almost identical except that they use different sensors and two components values differ.  Some way of handing that seamlessly would be fantastic.   

 

Keep up the good work, Fusion 360 EDA could become a real alternative to the big A but don't neglect fixing all those annoying bugs.

   

Message 12 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: benjamin.jordan

Hi Ben,

 

I am glad I got your attention!

 

I have read your reply, but I think you miss the point of what one of my many frustrations is with Fusion Electronics .

 

"Slow" switching between SCH/BRD/3D-PCB is not really my issue. It's a bit slow but that does not frustrate me.

 

The main problem is "MULTIPLE TABS" & "MULTIPLE DOCUMENTS" in the "DATA PANEL" & sometimes the "SYNC" problems that go with that!

 

A PCB Board in reality is just one thing , a board, it does not need to be spread out over multiple separate documents with multiple saves , multiple names , multiple version etc. 

 

We don't have separate files/documents for for SKETCHES and 3d MODELS do we?  

We don't have separate files/documents for SHEET METAL components?

 

I usually have more than ONE PCB per assembly ( mechanical design) and usually have to work on them all at the same time, so that means if i need to work on say, 3 PCB's ( for the one assembly) I will have 12 TABS!!!! open and  12 Documents to view ( which move around as you save them, so you get lost) and select and name and describe and version and save and visually scan over ! when you have this many tabs or documents you cannot read the text in the tabs, it gets truncated, Aslo the tabs are always in the correct order, so i constantly select the wrong tab, or take to much time switching .

 

On top of this, SYNC Problems are a result of SEPARATE DOCUMENTS! If you get rid of the separate documents,  you also  get rid of the sync problems (This is a selling feature!). I cannot stress this point enough, and if you get rid of the multiple documents, you also get rid of the "TOO MANY TABS" problem!

 

I have one large project that's ongoing and that has 9 PCB designs in it! thats 36 files to manage! ARRRHH!

 

NOW, you mentioned CONTAINERS, well that's how you solve it, You keep the sch/brd/3d-pcb inside a container file ( or however autodesk do this)  which is ALL SYNCHRONIZED  AT THE SAME TIME whenever a change is made and it appears in the data panel as one document with one NAME and one VERSION! So if you make a change on the schematic, then the BRD and 3D views will receive those changes.

 

Why don't you have a user preference setting that allows you to select the file structure for a pcb design??

   1) Separate Documents/Files

   2) One Document/File

This setting can be a default and can be presented/asked for each time a new pcb design is first created!

You can even have it so that later you can change the structure from single to multiple?

 

But PLease, Don't make the workflow and file management so complicated/confusing (and prone to break) to please team collaboration at the expense of many single users, (Like me), Autodesk developers need to HIDE the features that teams need from single users! So maybe as part of the preferences, that you can set ( SINGLE or TEAM ) and then fusion will present the tools and workspaces differently as needed! or even set this per project/design?

 

So, based on what you have written, I am not happy about this, as autodesk have already made up their minds, they are set in their ways and us users NEVER GOT A SAY into what we need.

There is not even a ROADMAP for electronics!

There is not even a FEEDBACK Post in the feedback hub for electronics?

 

I know what i have asked for will never be implemented, my frustrations will never be solved. so I WILL ALWAYS BE FRUSTRATED WITH FUSION ELECTRONICS, ALWAYS!

 

PS, and i haven't even mentioned the library! That's a bigger problem!

 

at least i asked.

 

regards

 

Dave M.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message 13 of 18
benjamin.jordan
in reply to: ImDaveM

Thanks for your reply @ImDaveM.

 

Actually, I still think we're not entirely disagreeing here. Prior posts you did not mention the Data panel - that indeed sheds new light on your frustration. The confusion caused sometimes by "Team" object versions in the data panel is well understood. And though it's not an area where the Electronics team normally is involved in development, I can tell you users across all of Fusion have raised Data panel and data management issues like what you have, and that team is indeed working to resolve those and make a far better experience.

 

For us in Electronics land, the real issue was limitations to future development imposed by the 1 SCH file to 1PCB file EAGLE structure.

 

So what you are telling me - just so I am clear - is that if you could view everything from the container as far as file versions etc. that would go a long way to relieving the frustration?

 

Also, I'm really not sure why you have sync problems. In the normal way of using Fusion Electronics, I it still works the same way as EAGLE in that if I add a part to schematic and wire it up, the part is automatically added and airwires in the PCB document. But I'm considering only the simplest of cases I know. I suspect for you, it is likely to be the case that in building systems with multiple boards and moving parts of the circuit from one board to another etc. (I call this process Partitioning) then I could see how time consuming this might be, and also how sync problems would be introduced.

 

To that end, proper multi-board design with proper partitioning tools (think one master-level schematic in a hierarchy that lets you move things from one board to another and update interconnects/wires/cable/harness between them) then that IS on the roadmap, but there's more basic housekeeping we need to do before we get to it.

 

On that subject of roadmap, I'm not sure where you think the roadmap should be publicly displayed, but we actually DO have a roadmap, and for you personally, I'd love it if you could (I know you are VERY busy) jump on a call with me so I could walk you through some of it and get your unfiltered response. Meanwhile, earlier in the year, Matt, Edwin and myself had a Roadmap Webinar where we discussed what's coming, and back then we had to be a little vague, but the roadmap is becoming much clearer since then because some things have shifted for our team to where we have a more definite path forward that's real and not just dreaming.

 

For reference, the webinar link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kszb3FPjSpE

Once again, THANK YOU: For your honesty. For your feedback. For your perseverance with us and Fusion! 

 

With some of the things coming I am 100% confident that, while not in all the ways suggested per se, we WILL be solving these frustrations and making bigger strides for ECAD meanwhile.



Ben Jordan

Senior Product Manager, Fusion 360 Electronics

LinkedIn | YouTube | Personal Blog | Fusion 360 Electronics Series
Message 14 of 18
benjamin.jordan
in reply to: PW_VOX

I 100% agree. This is easy for a mechanical part, or any single document. And the Electronics assembly, is multiple documents.

I think what would help here is to be able to roll back the revision of the master Electronics Design Document, and for that action to ask the user if that means also reverting the constituent linked SCH, PCB and 3DPCB documents automatically. I'm going to add a ticket for that - it would be VERY helpful, and should not be particularly difficult for us to implement.


Ben Jordan

Senior Product Manager, Fusion 360 Electronics

LinkedIn | YouTube | Personal Blog | Fusion 360 Electronics Series
Message 15 of 18
benjamin.jordan
in reply to: ImDaveM

Ticket Logged: FUS-93456



Ben Jordan

Senior Product Manager, Fusion 360 Electronics

LinkedIn | YouTube | Personal Blog | Fusion 360 Electronics Series
Message 16 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: benjamin.jordan

Hi Ben,

 

thanks for Replying,

 

I have already seen that video regarding the "road map" for Fusion Electronics, There's lots of good stuff in there, it was posted way back in February, So we are still waiting for any outcomes of what was proposed or discussed.

 

I am assuming you guys are doing a BIG UPGRADE , so i understand that this takes time. but as i said we dont know what's coming?

 

DATA PANEL - I find this at first to be cool, but after several years of using F360 its starting to annoy me!

 

For PCB's as I mentioned there are too many files/documents in the data panel, As you mentioned, if you can "CONTAINERISE" all the pcb files into one document and present this in the data panel ( with a 3D icon of the board), that would solve that issue. Make it so there is only one NAME/DESCRIPTION which is used across all the individual sub documents. 

Show this as only ONE TAB in the main workspace, and have a small set of buttons to select the editor/view ( see attached) 

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-10-18 at 8.48.14 am.jpg

As I mentioned before, YOU could have it so for each design, a user preference setting that chooses between single/multiple documents, that way no one can HATE on the single design idea, 

 

I have had sync problems, (but not many.) I was getting these when importing files from eagle cad documents to new fusion projects.

 

Thanks

 

I would like to have a online chat with you, ( as i hate typing) how do i arrange this?

 

 

 

Message 17 of 18
benjamin.jordan
in reply to: ImDaveM

Sure! Just reach out to me by email benjamin.jordan@autodesk.com and we can arrange a time that is suitable.


Ben Jordan

Senior Product Manager, Fusion 360 Electronics

LinkedIn | YouTube | Personal Blog | Fusion 360 Electronics Series
Message 18 of 18
ImDaveM
in reply to: benjamin.jordan

Hi Ben,

 

So is anything happening about the SINGLE document idea for Electronics?

 

I have projects with multiple PCB's and having to sift through all the items in the data panel to work out which is the actual pcb is a nightmare!

 

Please allow the user to select 

1) Multiple documents in the Data Panel/Tab iews

2) Single document in the Data Panel/tab views ( which then presents the individual "switcher" buttons to select the workspaces.

OR

Introduce HIERARCHY view in the data panel, so that the PCB appears as a single panel, and the sch/brd/3d view etc appear indented from that ( and slightly smaller ) making the top PCB assy items more easily recognised.

 

PS I am still interested in a zoom chat session if you have time.

 

thanks

 

Dave M

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