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The 7th ISR (HotFix 007) for the 17.4 release is available for download now. This marks the first major update for the 17.4 software stream, and what an update it is! You’ll notice many new things when you download and install the new build.
Let’s talk about just a few of the things you will notice first. There’s a lot worth sharing with you, so it will take the next couple weeks’ worth of blog entries to cover everything. We’ll go through it all in detail, so let’s get started!
There’s no denying it; the very first thing you will notice with this release is the new theme. Shown below, dark theme offers you a more relaxing graphical experience compared to the old light theme (still available). If you use other dark-themed applications – whether it’s your browser, email tool, or phone – this should be immediately familiar to you.
With this theme, the icons in the toolbar change to provide the necessary contrast, of course. With white text on the dark background, eye strain can be significantly reduced if you’re staring at the screen for long hours working on that complex design.
To return to the previous lighter color palette, go into your user preferences and change allegro_theme to light. Note that this will require a restart of the tool (you cannot change the theme “on-the-fly”), but you will get back to the look and feel you are accustomed to from here. Please give the new mode a try, first! You may fall in love with it. I know I have.
This has been a request from some of you for years. Whether you want to assign an icon to a custom command you’ve implemented in-house for your users or want to reuse a standard icon for a command in Allegro® Package Designer that is common to other tools your designers use, the option has not been there in the past.
Now, however, it is! Adding commands which don’t have an associated icon don’t need to use their full menu text name any longer. From the View – Customize Toolbar… command, you can assign your own icons to any command in toolbars (standard toolbars from Cadence or your own).
Whatever graphic file you select for the icon will be scaled to the standard toolbar icon size by the application; there is no need for you to ensure that you have the “right” size. However, your custom icons won’t have different files assigned for light and dark themes. The overrides here will apply equally to both. Most people will likely never notice (I doubt many of us switch frequently between themes in any of our applications), but it is something to keep in mind.
Above, I “borrowed” the save icon from the 17.2 release and assigned it to the save command, as you can see. Compare that to the Add Parallel Line command, which I also added to this toolbar. The save command’s icon takes up far less room, and the image is quicker to recognize than reading the full text of the command. Much better, in my mind!
We recommend that you put all graphics files to be used as custom icons into a shared folder for your users. Point your ICONPATH variable in your setup to this folder. If you don’t, the tool will ask if you want to add the directory the new icon file exists into your existing ICONPATH hierarchy (it’ll be added to the top of the list). This isn’t the recommended flow. Using a common, consistent path will work better for teams of more than one person to give you all a consistent experience.
Should you ever need to restore the Cadence default icon, use the Reset Icon… button on the form shown above. The defaults are always available and are never lost, just overwritten, by the custom graphics. In the same way, should you mistakenly change your ICONPATH setting or delete the directory with your icon images, the tool will revert to the default.
The third (and last) item to discuss with this intro to all that is new and awesome with 17.4 are the improvements to the visibility panel’s display. As you’ll see below, you are no longer limited to just conductor, plane, and mask layer categories to show and hide things. You now gain dielectric and die stack categories:
This allows all of you with named dielectric layers to hide these from the layer list here. They might need names, but changing their visibility is rather infrequent. Similarly, for those doing large die stacks, being able to turn off 10 or more of these layers when your focus is on the substrate layers and routing, can decrease the clutter of layers giving you much better visibility of… *ahem* what’s visible.
Because there are more categories of layers, and to keep things as simple as possible, any empty category will automatically hide itself in the panel, too. You can leave the on/off status configured in the main color form for those you want to see. But, should you want to see the die stack layers when available, you will not see this line entry in designs where there are no die stack layers in the cross-section. It may seem a small thing, but saved space is saved space. The more you need to see that fits on the screen (and the less you see that you DON’T need to), the better!
Because we are. A lot of work has gone into the new look of the tool. Everyone on the team hopes you appreciate and enjoy the fruits of their labors!