Kicad v8 footprint properties rant

I installed the new v8 because a friend sent me his new project and I couldn’t open it in Kicad v7. I took a quick look at my footprint lib and I just can’t help but write this addressing the developers.

I feel more and more that ‘you’ SW guys are just changing things for the sake of changing things. Are you even actively using the KiCAD for PCB creation on a professional or semi-professional basis?

Why are footprint properties suddenly different? Why do I have to modify my footprint libs every time you have a whim of changing something?

I attach a picture of Footprint properties window of the same component in v7 and v8. Why the hell did it change? Why are the there new fields automatically added and existing field ${REFERENCE} is missing? Why aren’t the layers there?

Look, I do realize this is a free SW and I truly appreciate the effort in developing it but if there is a genuine interest of being a competitor to something like Altium for a professional use then this is beyond incredibly annoying. I decided to try and use KiCAD for my professional work, alongside with Altium but with a genuine hope of ultimately using an open-source SW and donating money to the effort of its development rather than paying to a closed-source SW company. But I neither have the time nor the desire to redo my libraries every time someone decides to change something in a new release of the KiCAD.

There are things I am willing to invest my time into without any complaint, e.g. creating variants in a bit convoluted way, creating assembly drawing with DNP markers… because I do realize features take time to add. But WHY are you ‘forcing me’ to time and again redo something that I have already done?

Feel free to react but, please, don’t point me to the KiCAD libs on git. I need to have my own ‘stable’ library that I can trust. There are plenty of things to check in a production design and I don’t need to add re-checking already used footprints to the list.

Right click on the header to select which columns you want to see

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I just tested and I dunno, Kicad 8 seems to work just fine. I only had to configure some paths in the library manager but that is to be expected I suppose.

In KiCad 8 I can still see my JLCPCB part number. I still have the correct footprint. The 3D models still work. So everything seems to work just fine. I don’t fully understand how your libraries are not working anymore?

Where is that ${REFERENCE} field good for anyways? And what do you think you have to modify?

All I can say is I can use the libraries I used in v7 without any problems and without loss of data in v8.

The footprint reference on the Fab layer is now not a field anymore but a simple footprint text, which is more consistent with what it actually is (IMO)


Your $(REFERENCE) field has moved to Preferences > Footprint Editor > Default Values.

There are also some changes to footprint properties in the PCB Editor.

There is a Properties Panel accessible with View > Show Properties Panel. The Properties Window is still available and features (layers etc.) in this work exactly the same as the Properties in the Footprint Editor.

Thank you for this :+1:

I use it for creating assembly drawings which is required by some assembly shops.

I’m not saying they are not working, I’m saying that these gratuitous changes mean uneccessary work and time expenditure to me. Time I need to spend designing.

Yes, the developers think they changed one little thing but for me this change means…what else has changed, will my usual manufacturing file generation process still work? Do I spend time testing v8 and the libraries saved under v8 (but if I save under v8 I can’t go back to v7)? Do I freeze my current projects with v7? Do I keep two sets of libraries (v7 and v8) and maintain them? Etc.

As for annoyance, instead of modifying all ‘texts’ in one “Footprint Properties” table, I have to now also edit ${REFERENCE} text separately if I need to change its size. Also why suddenly hide the ‘Layer’ column… Thanks to @thebigg I now know how to fix it, but if I hadn’t posted this rant maybe I would have spent 30 minutes trying to find out why it is not there. I started using Kicad around 10 years ago liking the fact that it was quite streamlined and not so convoluted. Yes, more features, more complexity but how are these particular changes improving usability…

Again this is a rant from a point of someone trying to use KiCAD professionally, I know I can ‘re-learn’ or find new workarounds but that is just time wasted. Re-learning how to use a hammer instead of actually building. The point of CAD tool is to aid in desing, not to play with the CAD tool itself.

But in the spirit of the core of my rant - not wanting to waste time - I won’t spend any more time on this. I thank you guys for trying to help.

I’m sure @thebigg would have been equally willing to assist without the rant. So either way you’ve saved 25 minuites. Isn’t that great? :crazy_face: :wink: