KiCad PCB EDA Suite
Version 5 Road Map

This document is the KiCad version 5 Developer's road map document. It is living document that should be maintained during the version 5 development cycle. The goal of this document is to provide an overview for developers of the goals for the project for the version 5 release of KiCad. It is broken into sections for each major component of the KiCad source code and documentation. It defines tasks that developers an use to contribute to the project and provides updated status information. Tasks should define clear objectives and avoid vague generalizations so that a new developer can complete the task. It is not a place for developers to add their own personal wish. list. It should only be updated with approval of the project manager after discussion with the lead developers.

Each entry in the road map is made up of four sections. The goal should be a brief description of the what the road map entry will accomplish. The task section should be a list of deliverable items that are specific enough hat they can be documented as completed. The dependencies sections is a list of requirements that must be completed before work can begin on any of the tasks. The status section should include a list of completed tasks or marked as complete as when the goal is met.

Project

This section defines the tasks for the project related goals that are not related to coding or documentation. It is a catch all for issues such as developer and user relations, dissemination of information on websites, policies, etc.

General

This section defines the tasks that affect all or most of KiCad or do not fit under as specific part of the code such as the board editor or the schematic editor.

Search Tree Control

Goal: Create a user interface element that allows searching through a list of items in a tree control for library searching.

Task:

  • Create hybrid tree control with search text control for displaying filtered objects (both symbol and footprint libraries) in a parent window.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

  • Initial container searching code completed.
  • Wildcard and regular expression container searching completed.
  • Control code in progress.

Common Library

This section covers the source code shared between all of the KiCad applications

Unified Rendering Framework

Goal:

Provide a single framework for developing new tools. Port existing tools to the new framework and remove the legacy framework tools.

Task:

  • Port wxDC to GAL or get Cairo rendering to nearly the performance of the current wxDC rendering so that we have a single framework to develop new tools and we can continue to support systems that don't have a complete OpenGL stack.

Dependencies

Status

  • In progress

Printing Improvements

Goal:

Make printing quality consistent across platforms.

Task:

  • Resolve printing issues on all platforms.

Dependencies

  • None

Status

  • No progress.

Object Properties and Introspection

Goal:

Provide an object introspection system using properties.

Task:

  • Select existing or develop property system.
  • Add definable properties to base objects.
  • Create introspection framework for manipulating object properties.
  • Serialization of properties to and from files and/or other I/O structures.
  • Create tool to edit property namespace/object name/name/type/value table.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

  • No progress.

3D Viewer Dynamic Library Plugin

Goal:

Create a base library plugin for handling external file I/O for the 3D viewer. This will allow plugins to be provided that are external to the project such as providing solid model file support (STEP, IGES, etc.) using OpenCascade without making it a project dependency.

Task:

  • Create a plugin to handle dynamically registered plugins for loading and saving file formats.
  • This object should be flexible enough to be extended for handling all file plugin types including schematic, board, footprint library, component library, etc. (optional)
  • See blueprint on Launchpad for more information.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

  • 3D plugin code complete and legacy formats implemented.

Eeschema: Schematic Editor

This section applies to the source code for the Eeschema schematic editor.

Coherent SCHEMATIC Object

Goal:

Clean up the code related to the schematic object(s) into a coherent object for managing and manipulating the schematic that can be used by third party tools and Python scripting.

Task:

  • Move handling of root sheet object to SCHEMATIC object.
  • Move SCH_SCREENS code into SCH_OBJECT.
  • Build and maintain schematic hierarchy in SCHEMATIC object rather than recreating on the fly every time the hierarchical information is required.
  • Optionally build and maintain netlist during editing for extended editing features.
  • Add any missing functionality to the SCHEMATIC object.

Dependencies:

Status:

  • In progress.

Schematic and Component Library I/O Manager Plugin

Goal: Create a plugin manager for loading and saving schematics and component libraries similar to the board plugin manager.

Task:

  • Design plugin manager for schematics and component libraries.
  • Port the current schematic and component library file formats to use the plugin.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

  • I/O manager and plugin objects are complete.
  • Legacy schematic file parser almost ready to commit.

S-Expression File Format

Goal:

Make schematic file format more readable, add new features, and take advantage of the s-expression parser and formatter capability used in Pcbnew.

Task:

  • Finalize feature set and file format.
  • Discuss the possibility of dropping the unit-less proposal temporarily to get the s-expression file format and SWEET library format implemented without completely rewriting Eeschema.
  • Add new s-expression file format to plugin.

Dependencies:

Status:

  • File format document nearly complete.

Implement Sweet Component Libraries

Goal:

Make component library design more robust and feature rich. Use s-expressions to make component library files more readable.

Task:

  • Use sweet component file format for component libraries.

Dependencies:

Status:

  • Initial SWEET library file format document written.

Component Library Editor Usability Improvements

Goal:

Make editing schematic symbol libraries easier to manage.

Task:

  • Determine usability improvements in the library editor for components with multiple units and/or alternate graphical representations.
  • Replace current library/symbols selection process with new hybrid tree search widget in new window pain for selection libraries and symbols. Provide drag and drop symbol copy/move between libraries.
  • Allow editing of symbol libraries not defined in footprint library table(s) using the file/path dialog to open a library.

Dependencies:

Status:

  • Determined alternate UI designs using new hybrid search tree control.

Component and Netlist Attributes

Goal:

Provide a method of passing information to other tools via the net list.

Task:

  • Add virtual components and attributes to netlist to define properties that can be used by other tools besides the board editor.
  • Attributes (properties) are automatically included as part of the new file format.

Dependencies:

Status:

  • No progress.

Circuit Simulation

Goal:

Provide quality circuit simulation capabilities similar to commercial products.

Task:

  • Evaluate and select simulation library (ngspice, gnucap, qucs, etc).
  • Evaluate and select plotting library with wxWidgets support.
  • Confirm current spice netlist export is up to the task and add missing support for simulations.
  • Use plotting library to handle simulator output in a consistent manor similar to LTSpice.
  • Develop a tool that allows fine tuning of components on the fly.
  • Use plugin for the simulation code to allow support of different simulation libraries.
  • Create dialogs for configuring of simulation of Spice primitive components such as voltage sources, current sources, etc.
  • Create dialog(s) for configuration of simulation types transient, DC operating point, AC analysis, etc.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

Pcbnew: Circuit Board Editor

This section covers the source code of the board editing application Pcbnew.

Tool Framework

Goal:

Unify all board editing tools under a single framework.

Task:

  • Drop footprint edit mode.
  • Port auto-router to GAL.
  • Complete porting of all board editing tools to new tool framework so they are available in the OpenGL and Cairo canvases.
  • Remove all duplicate legacy editing tools.

Dependencies:

  • In progress.

Status:

  • Initial porting work in progress.

Modeling

Goal:

Provide improved solid modeling support for KiCad including the file formats available in OpenCascade.

Task:

  • Improve low level code design.
  • Design plugin architecture to handle loading and saving 3D models.
  • Back port existing 3D formats (IDF and S3D) to plugin

Dependencies:

Status:

  • Completed.

Push and Shove Router Improvements

Goal:

Add finishing touches to push and shove router.

Task:

  • Determine which features are feasible.
  • Factor out KiCad-specific code from PNS_ROUTER class.
  • Delete and backspace in idle mode
  • Differential pair clearance fixes.
  • Differential pair optimizer improvements (recognize differential pairs)
  • Persistent differential pair gap/width setting.
  • Walk around in drag mode.
  • Optimize trace being dragged too. (currently no optimization)
  • Backspace to erase last routed segment.
  • Auto-finish traces (if time permits)
  • Additional optimization pass for spring back algorithm using area-minimization strategy. (improves tightness of routing)
  • Restrict optimization area to view port (if user wants to)
  • Support 45 degree tuning meanders.
  • Respect trace/via locking!
  • Keep out zone support.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

  • Feature feasibility determined.
  • In Progress.

Selection Filtering

Goal:

Make the selection tool easier for the user to determine which object(s) are being selected by filtering.

Task:

  • Provide filtered object selection by adding a third tab to the layer manager or possibly some other UI element to provide filtered selection options.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

  • Initial design concept discussed.

Segment End Point Snapping.

Goal:

It is not uncommon for board edge segment end points to inadvertently not be closed causing issues for the 3D viewer and exporting to different file formats due the board outline not being a fully enclosed polygon. This feature would add segment end snapping support to allow the board outline to be fully enclosed. This feature would only need to be supported by the GAL rendering.

Tasks

  • Mark board edge segment ends with a drag indicator to make it visible to the user that the segment end does not have an endpoint with any other board edge segment.
  • Allow the user to snap the unconnected segment end to the nearest segment end point.
  • Automatically connect unconnected segments with and additional segment when opening the 3D viewer or exporting the board to another format. Warn the user that an addition segment has be added and should be verified.

Dependencies:

  • None

Progress:

  • Initial discussion.

Stitching Via Support

Goal:

Add capability to add vias for stitching and thermal transfer purposes that do not require being attached to tracks.

Task:

  • Develop more robust connectivity checking algorithm.
  • Create a UI element to allow the user to select a net from the list of valid nets.
  • Connection propagation fix for the current issue of vias that are not connected to tracks being tagged as unassigned and removed.
  • Manual via placement tool.
  • Improve the DRC to handle cases of orphaned vias.

Dependencies:

  • None

Progress:

  • Patch available to fix via propagation issue.

Documentation

This section defines the tasks for both the user and developer documentation.

Grammar Check

Goal:

Improve user documentation readability and make life easier to for translators.

Task:

  • Review and revise all of the English documentation so that it is update with the current functionality of the code.
  • Translate the update documentation into other languages.

Dependencies:

  • None

Status:

  • No progress.

Maintenance

Task:

  • Keep screen shots current with the source changes.

Dependencies:

  • None.

Status:

  • No progress.

Convert Developer Documentation to Markup/down Format

Goal:

Improve developers documentation to make life easier for new developers to get involved with the project.

Task:

  • Convert platform build instructions from plain text to new format to be merged with the developer documentation.
  • Convert how to contribute to KiCad instructions from plain text to the new format to merged with the developer documentation.

Dependencies:

  • None.

Status:

  • In progress. Most of the developer documentation has been converted to Doxygen markdown and the output is rebuilt automatically when a commit is made to the KiCad repo.