CadSoft’s EAGLE 6 hits beta and packs goodies

Version 6 of the popular schematic and PCB layout software EAGLE is now in beta testing. The most notable change is the migration to XML file formats that we looked at last month.

[PT] didn’t waste any time getting his hands on the software and giving it a thorough test drive. The image seen above shows the files of a MintyBoost. It’s impossible to make out at this resolution, but it is indeed spitting out human-readable (well maybe) XML in the windows below instead of the ‘no trespassing’ binaries they used to use.

Earlier today when working on a feature we had to jump on a different computer that had EAGLE installed in order to look at a .SCH file. We wonder if someone will put out a rendering package that can parse the new format and spit out a quick PNG? At the very least, we expect to see some useful hacks for part replacement or pin swapping. It shouldn’t be too hard to poke around and figure out what happens when changing some of the stored values. Got anything in mind that you can do by editing these by hand?

Oh, we almost forgot! The biggest benefit you get from this is the increased version control compatiblity since programs like git will be able to perform diff functions on the files.

27 thoughts on “CadSoft’s EAGLE 6 hits beta and packs goodies

  1. I wonder if this will allow interoperability between Eagle and open source solutions like kiCad. Maybe this will make it possible to have people collaborate using different tools. Are there any regulations against using the format in other programs?

  2. They might’ve given it a thorough test drive but if I’m not completely blind all the info you get on the linked page is that there’s XML support and that you can search for parts and datasheets for parts available at Newark.

    I expected more…

  3. Might be a stupid question, but on the beta-page I only see 5.91.1-beta, no 6. Is the 5.91 the 6-beta? I’m really excited to see some new development on the Eagle-front. The git-usage will be a major help for my team.

  4. Biggest advantage: We will be able to organize our libraries easier. You cannot rename a footprint or part or any other value once you create, that was giving me headaches! But other than that, I love Eagle.

  5. Longtime user of Eagle. I love it but it’s got some nasty gotchas I hope they’ve addressed. Proper colour blending in layout, a major cleanup of how libraries are used and pins are linked to pads, blind/buried via visualization, measuring/routing trace pairs, MUCH smarter pin/gate swap definitions, being able to use the keyboard to move the crosshairs around… It’d be awesome if they got rid of or at least deprecated their EagleScript too in favour of something like Python.

    Their upgrade pricing is pretty decent, especially considering you get all the updates for a given major version number for free. You won’t see this engineer going to a single-OS CAD program anytime soon. I work with Eagle on all three platforms. Yes, Allegro runs circles around it, but it’s also priced considerably more. Eagle has a very high bang:buck ratio.

    1. The swaplevel rules are a pain indeed. However, I still can’t manage to get 0R resistors and internal connections inside a package/device, e.g. caused by a lead frame to be in the same net. They have the functionality of a short circuit, yet they split the net into fragments. Hope they found an acceptable workaround. The @-prefix for pin names is a laugh, nothing more.

      1. You get a custom CD with the licensing stuff. They say that if you use it illegally to create industrial PCBs and they can track you down (watermarking?), you’ll have to pay the product you were using. That policy sounds very reasonable to me. I have used a standard license on both my desktop PC and my laptop (both Windows), haven’t had any problems yet.

      2. CarlUK, I asked this specific question when I purchased my license and was told that Cadsoft is concerned with users, rather than workstations. So you can have a single Eagle license installed on many different computers (as I do); if more than one person is using those installations, they’d like you to buy additional license(s).

        When I bought my v5 license, it covered one OS; Cadsoft wanted a small additional fee for other platforms. I don’t know if this is still the case.

    1. I would really like to use KiCAD more than I use EAGLE; for me, it’s a matter of a) familiarity (guilty as charged) and b) libraries. EAGLE has a lot of *bad* quirks, the icons suck (overall it’s pretty fugly but I digress), the names of functions within the program itself *really* suck [IMO], etc., yet it is still ahead of KiCAD because of support from the community, namely with part libraries.

      I don’t think this will be the case within about three years. Either CadSoft will have been persuaded by market forces to move toward openness, or KiCAD will have improved massively. Which will occur? I don’t know. I just hope it’s not a half measure (or less) of both. FreePCB and TinyCAD are viable competitors as well.

      1. This is why I think that Eagle opening up to XML is a good thing. Theoretically, we should now be able to convert between Eagle’s libraries and KiCAD’s. Sadly, There’s no cure for in-familiarity.

      2. Ready made part libraries have caused too much smoke for me. Checking a library for errors takes time and defining new parts in both Eagle and KiCad is a breeze. A public parts library with editing/commenting/rating capability would be really nice.
        I used to use Eagle before and I really liked it but KiCad is GPL so I changed. Learning the quirks and oddities took three days. Well worth it methinks.

      3. I think you make a good case for why network effects matter.

        If “everyone” keeps using Eagle, then new users will be persuaded to choose it too since it has the most support and active users.

        But I think it is crazy to have an Open Hardware movement based on closed proprietary software.

  6. Has PT actually used eagle before, design link is in version 5 and tied to newark, you can get it to work with others too with some scripting.

    I tried KiCad etc, it just isn’t as complete, its like a lot of open source software people will automatically ignore a lot of the problems because its free and treat it with different expectations to paid software. I’d rather just pay for someone else to do the work and get on with it.

  7. I love Eagle because it doesn’t make you select footprints when making the board, they are already binded to the components you place on the schematic.
    Also, after using it for a while, the UI is not that bad.

    The problem on Eagle IMHO is the board size limit. Right now i need to do a 200x30mm pcb and the only version of Eagle that would allow me to do that is Professional (~1000$), even if the board is actually small an the *area* would compatible with the free Light license.

    I tried other CADs and i think they all suck when it comes to getting a component from the library. Damn, why it is so hard to get a f****** standard led? IMHO the library search in Eagle is far better than KiCad, PcbArtist, etc.

    Right now i’m using DipTrace. The library is not very good and it’s not completely free (has a pin count limitation. However the fottprints are already binded like in eagle and it has a nice built-in 3d preview.

    If only Eagle would use an *area* limit instead of *dimensions* limit…

    1. I have a library with the components that I use all of the time. It’s pretty easy to copy stuff between libs and saves a ton of time later.

      Another alternative is to copy stuff from previous projects. Even that is faster than finding the right type of electrolyte :)

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