And the Data Transfer Beat Goes On...

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Editor’s Note: Below is the latest entry into the ongoing debate between Ucamco’s Karel Tavernier and Mentor Graphics’ Julian Coates. Click here to read both sides of the original debate, which ran in our July issue.

Smart, Simple, Kind, Revolutionary: X2

In a recent article, Smart Data Formats Automate CAD/CAM (February 2014), Julian Coates of Mentor Graphics wrote an article about the ODB++ format. My reaction to this, Gerber--the Smartest Way Forward, appeared in the July 2014 edition of the same publication, as did a rebuttal by Julian of my article.

Here I would like to rebut Julian’s rebuttal of my rebuttal. To be merciful on readers, I will keep it brief, so that the rebuttal process converges rather than spinning out of control.

In Julian’s July rebuttal, he wrote: “No doubt Gerber is a very fine format for defining the graphical layers of a PCB.”

That's good. My impression was that Julian saw Gerber as an intrinsically error-prone image format whereas I maintain there are very few errors when transferring images in Gerber. So we both agree that Gerber is a very fine image format. Where our opinions diverge is in how we proceed from this fact. Julian went on to state: “At a recent industry debate,  I suggested that the best way forward is to use Gerber for the graphical data and another format for all the other information that Gerber cannot carry.”

Thus, Julian promotes the idea of intelligent, all-encompassing formats for carrying data, but excluding the graphical part. Why reject the advantage of having all of that other information linked to the graphical objects as well, and vice-versa? The problem that needs solving is taking all of that fragmented data into a single coherent model comprising both the PCB bareboard and the assembled PCB.

Actually, in no way do I reject the idea of linking all the other information to the graphics objects. On the contrary: It's clear that a PCB is more than a set of images, and all the data describing it must be transferred as a coherent whole. Here, too, we agree. Where we disagree is how we achieve this coherent whole. Julian believes that the wholesale adoption of ODB++ is a practical way forward. I do not.Read the full article here.Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of The PCB Magazine.


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