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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2005, 03:44 PM
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Default Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

I got my ISE 7.1 update DHL'd to me this morning, here is my experience
so far

A problem...

I tried to install 7.1 in the same place as 6.3 (after accepting the
de-install option) c:\program files\xilinx, but it didn't work, the
installer displayed cryptic error messages about the disk being full -
it wasn't.

Okay so I'll try c:\programs\xilinx - this worked. Xilinx take note -
if you no longer support spaces in file name THEN WHY DO YOU ALLOW ME
TO ENTER THIS INTO IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Disapointment...

So now I've go it installed, and I'm hoping when I run it maybe they
will have upgrade the UI since this is a major version upgrade. Whay do
I find ? They've made the UI EVEN WORSE, THEY'VE ADDED EXTRA CLUNK! Yes
ISE users, you know what I mean, the user interface looks like an
application from the Window 3.1 era, but somehow they've made it look
even worse!

One example, now we have lovely icons to remind us the meaning of
'Errors' and 'Warnings' on the tabs for the messages window - they
weren't there in in 6.3.

Okay so looks aren't everything. So maybe this release they've updated
the menu to show a function key shortcut for commonly used actions,
such as process|re-run, it would be nice just to press F5 or something
for this.

Have they done this? No. Maybe I'll check the help just in case. Select
help from the menu, select search, okay so where do I type in my search
word? This just looks like an index to me not a search facility !
ARGGGGG

Okay, I could go on and on about the lack of usability. Perhaps coming
from a programming background I've just been spoilt by wonderful IDE's
like IntelliJ IDEA that have been designed with the engineer in mind.

I use the ISE Web Version at the moment, but I really don't ever want
to shell out $2,500 for the Foundation version given my opinion of this
software.... are there other alternatives around the same price
bracket?

Andy.

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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2005, 04:57 PM
Paul Leventis \(at home\)
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Hi Andy,

> I use the ISE Web Version at the moment, but I really don't ever want
> to shell out $2,500 for the Foundation version given my opinion of this
> software.... are there other alternatives around the same price
> bracket?


Try out Quartus II. You can download the free version (called "Web
Edition") from our website www.altera.com. The Quartus GUI is generally
pretty easy-to-use and has the look-and-feel of a modern Windows
application.

If you need help understanding the Altera flow, see AN307: Altera Design
Flow for Xilinx Users (http://www.altera.com/literature/an/an307.pdf). Also
useful is the Xilinx to Altera design migration website
(http://www.altera.com/products/softw...migration.html).

Regards,

Paul Leventis
Altera Corp.




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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2005, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

When I purchased a development kit for my own projects, the development
software played as much a factor in my decision as the target device.
What it came down to was, me asking myself, what is going to effect my
design more, the device or the design software? No matter what the
specs are on the device if the design software had short comings, flaws
or limited what I could do with the device, the target device no longer
mattered as much.

Searching this group I found users having problems installing and
maintaing their development environment. Xilinx tech support seemed to
help them find a solution but in the process how do you get back the
time that you spent fixing your environment - some of these engineers
had spent 1 -3 days fixing their environment.

Going back to something my grandfather taught me, "Don't fix something
that isn't broken." In the software world is if you have a working
environment and the software vendor comes out with a new release don't
upgrade unless there is a feature that you can't live without. Let the
people who need the new features get burned by the new releases. Wait 2
-3 months for fixes and services packs come out to fix issues with a
new release.

Some of this is just plain common sense but find people today ignore
the obvious.

Derek

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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 03-21-2005, 09:20 PM
Lukasz Salwinski
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Paul Leventis (at home) wrote:
> Hi Andy,
>
>
>>I use the ISE Web Version at the moment, but I really don't ever want
>>to shell out $2,500 for the Foundation version given my opinion of this
>>software.... are there other alternatives around the same price
>>bracket?

>
>
> Try out Quartus II. You can download the free version (called "Web
> Edition") from our website www.altera.com. The Quartus GUI is generally
> pretty easy-to-use and has the look-and-feel of a modern Windows
> application.
>


does it support V II Pro and the likes ? (nope, i don't
mean migration;o)

sorry, couldn't resist ;o)
l
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old 03-22-2005, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

If you create the device files, it does.

Don't worry I have a sense of humor.

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  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-22-2005, 03:36 PM
Rudolf Usselmann
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?



I too dislike the user interfaces of todays leading FPGA
providers. I don't think that either A or X have a useful
or productive tool.

BUT, what works for me very well, is to understand the flow,
and use makefiles and scripts to drive the command line tools.
I have been very successful with this method. My development
cycle looks like this: 1) create a deign in verilog (including
verification); 2) edit ucf file; 3) run my script to create a
bit file from my rtl; 4) bring up FPGA.

Once in a blue moon I still start up xps (EDK) to configure
an SoC. But I usually just use the tools for the basic build,
and than manually edit the appropriate configuration files,
and rerun gmake ...

Cheers,
rudi
================================================== ===========
Rudolf Usselmann, ASICS World Services, http://www.asics.ws
Your Partner for IP Cores, Design, Verification and Synthesis
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old 03-22-2005, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

"Paul Leventis \(at home\)" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
>
> Try out Quartus II. You can download the free version (called "Web
> Edition") from our website www.altera.com. The Quartus GUI is generally
> pretty easy-to-use and has the look-and-feel of a modern Windows
> application.
>
>
> Paul Leventis
> Altera Corp.


Not that I expect any different from the group Altera pusher, but have
you ever tried ISE???

I can't believe that even you would even suggest Quartus, it is just
as backwards as the ISE interface!
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  #8 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2005, 03:15 AM
Subroto Datta
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Hi Big,

We'd like to hear your view about how Quartus can be made better for
your needs.

- Subroto Datta
Altera Corp.

<[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected] om...
> "Paul Leventis \(at home\)" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> news:<[email protected]>...
>>
>> Try out Quartus II. You can download the free version (called "Web
>> Edition") from our website www.altera.com. The Quartus GUI is generally
>> pretty easy-to-use and has the look-and-feel of a modern Windows
>> application.
>>
>>
>> Paul Leventis
>> Altera Corp.

>
> Not that I expect any different from the group Altera pusher, but have
> you ever tried ISE???
>
> I can't believe that even you would even suggest Quartus, it is just
> as backwards as the ISE interface!



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  #9 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2005, 07:24 AM
John Retta
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

I agree with script based design flow. In fact, once you have
tried it, you will never ... ever ... go back to gui. The backend
Xilinx flow (ngdbuild ... map .... par .... bitgen) have not changed
in years. Individual tool options have obviously to match new
architectures.

In a shameless plug of my website, I have a dos based script
avaiable for download. It accepts command line two command
line options ... name of the base design.edf and the revision
number. It uses the revision number as an appendix for
final output of filename, and pretty importantly, uses to fill
in the user ID as a bitgen option. This is a quick way of
scanning a device chain an determining revision levels of
on board devices.

Key point though is that these script based approach defines
the design flow and synthesis parameters in a way which is
absolutely portable and self-documenting, are frees user
from the vagaries of GUI releases.

--
Regards,
John Retta
Owner and Designer
Retta Technical Consulting Inc.

A Colorado based Xilinx design consultant.

email : [email protected]
web : www.rtc-inc.com


"Rudolf Usselmann" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]
>
>
> I too dislike the user interfaces of todays leading FPGA
> providers. I don't think that either A or X have a useful
> or productive tool.
>
> BUT, what works for me very well, is to understand the flow,
> and use makefiles and scripts to drive the command line tools.
> I have been very successful with this method. My development
> cycle looks like this: 1) create a deign in verilog (including
> verification); 2) edit ucf file; 3) run my script to create a
> bit file from my rtl; 4) bring up FPGA.
>
> Once in a blue moon I still start up xps (EDK) to configure
> an SoC. But I usually just use the tools for the basic build,
> and than manually edit the appropriate configuration files,
> and rerun gmake ...
>
> Cheers,
> rudi
> ================================================== ===========
> Rudolf Usselmann, ASICS World Services, http://www.asics.ws
> Your Partner for IP Cores, Design, Verification and Synthesis



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  #10 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2005, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

I am still waiting on the latest ISE to show up so I can't comment. I
will say that I like the new Quartus software, although I do not use
anything but text entry, so most of my work is done in Multiedit for
both tools.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 03-23-2005, 02:32 PM
Jedi
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Subroto Datta wrote:
> Hi Big,
>
> We'd like to hear your view about how Quartus can be made better for
> your needs.
>


Always like the topological display of VHDL modules in other tools
like ispLever or Actel's Libero...

It is painful to import a VHDL design into Quartus and manually
arrange the file order...

Ah yeah..when is Altera striking with a free Linux version? (o;



rick
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 12:23 AM
Ben Twijnstra
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Hi Jedi,

> Always like the topological display of VHDL modules in other tools
> like ispLever or Actel's Libero...


Can you expand on this? Haven't got the slightest idea what you mean. I'm
envisioning a Mercator projection of desing blocks on a map...

> It is painful to import a VHDL design into Quartus and manually
> arrange the file order...


Yep. Dunno whether there's work on this, but you're right, doing a 2-pass
parse/compile/elaborate would be handy. Then again, this would mostly make
sense when building a project for the first time. Maybe something for the
New Project Wizard.

> Ah yeah..when is Altera striking with a free Linux version? (o;


I'm pushing for this as well. Would you be OK with a GUI-less version?
(anyone interested raise their hands!). Altera pays royalties on the GUI
under Linux and Solaris, so if you can get by without a GUI, Altera can
truly ship something free.

Best regards,



Ben
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 01:15 AM
Pablo Bleyer Kocik
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Ben Twijnstra wrote:
> > Ah yeah..when is Altera striking with a free Linux version? (o;

>
> I'm pushing for this as well. Would you be OK with a GUI-less

version?
> (anyone interested raise their hands!). Altera pays royalties on the

GUI
> under Linux and Solaris, so if you can get by without a GUI, Altera

can
> truly ship something free.


I second that.

I guess marketing puts today a lot of pressure about user appealing
IDEs, but if it were up to me I would put all my effort in getting out
efficient, heavily tested and well documented shell tools before
shipping monolithic, un-intuitive, visually bloated software. It would
be nice to have Altera tools for Linux that way, or with a very light
but well-thought interface (Synplify comes to my mind).

If licensing is an issue, there are very good cross-platform free GUI
tools. I think Lattice is using wxWidgets for their new IDE. Altera and
Xilinx already use Eclipse for their CPU SDKs, maybe they should unify
all with it (perhaps that is what they are planning to do?).

C'mon, people went to the moon using slide rules, and the first ICs
were layout with scissor-cut mylar over kitchen tables. It can't be
*that* hard!

My 2 cents.

--
PabloBleyerKocik /
pablo /"Reliable software must kill people reliably."
@bleyer.org / -- Andy Mickel

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  #14 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 08:22 AM
Tommy Thorn
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Hi Ben

> I'm pushing for this as well. Would you be OK with a GUI-less version?
> (anyone interested raise their hands!). Altera pays royalties on the GUI
> under Linux and Solaris, so if you can get by without a GUI, Altera can
> truly ship something free.


Oh yes. I can't be the only one here who would much rather run
everything from a Makefile.

Many moons ago I went through the agony of reverse engineering how to
run XST, map, par, etc. from the commandline (under Wine), but that was
ISE and I didn't keep it up.

Cheers,
Tommy
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 11:18 AM
Tuukka Toivonen
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

On 2005-03-23, Ben Twijnstra <[email protected]> wrote:
> I'm pushing for this as well. Would you be OK with a GUI-less version?


If I'd have Altera FPGA, definitely yes. I probably would have considered
purchasing Altera, if there would have been decent Linux software out to try.
Now it's a bit late, though.

There needs to be an easy tutorial on using the CLI tools, but I trust
Altera can do it, or they already have.

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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 05:18 PM
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

I am up and running with 7.1 now. I have not seen Foundation after
version 3. I guess it looks alright. I do not plan on using anything
but text driven designs so the all of the graphical data entry won't
help me. It's going to take me some time to really give good feedback
on it.

Maybe something for both Altera and Xilinx. If you are really
interested in some feedback, I would personally take the time to enter
data into an on-line survey about your tools if you set one up. Just a
thought.

I had hopes of going back to Foundation (I need to stop having those)
of being able to port some older designs. It seems it is able to read
projects from version 4, forward. I have written Xilinx to see if I
can get a copy of version 4 to port older designs to it and then to 7.
Has anyone tried this for fun?

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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 05:49 PM
Paul Leventis
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Hi,

Yes, I have tried ISE -- the OP asked for an alternative. Quartus
isn't perfect, but I think the GUI is more intuitive and has a lower
learning curve, and the tool is generally more integrated. Or for
those script-lovers, you can script up the various pieces of the tool
to run without having to ever look at the GUI.

The OP was asking for an alteranative, and I provided one.

Regards,

Paul

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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 07:24 PM
Petter Gustad
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Tommy Thorn <[email protected]> writes:

> Oh yes. I can't be the only one here who would much rather run
> everything from a Makefile.


No, you're not the only one. I run both Quartus and ISE on Linux with
Makefiles (well in the Quartus case most of the work is done in Tcl).
I prefer to check all the files out from CVS, run make which will run
synthesis, ngdbuild, map, par, bitgen, trce, netgen, and optionally
upload the bit file (using impact in batch mode) to the FPGA.

The only FPGA GUI tool I use every now and then is the FPGA editor (I
use signalscan for my simulations).


If GUI is Driving Under Influence, then what does GUI mean?

Petter

--
A: Because it messes up the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 09:10 PM
Ben Twijnstra
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Hi Tuukka,

> On 2005-03-23, Ben Twijnstra <[email protected]> wrote:
>> I'm pushing for this as well. Would you be OK with a GUI-less version?

>
> If I'd have Altera FPGA, definitely yes. I probably would have considered
> purchasing Altera, if there would have been decent Linux software out to
> try. Now it's a bit late, though.
>
> There needs to be an easy tutorial on using the CLI tools, but I trust
> Altera can do it, or they already have.


There's a whopping big TCL scripting manual in dead-tree format (200+ pages
if I'm correct) that comes with Quartus 4.2. Also, work is under way to
document each and every setting that can be set in the GUI and that the
Quartus TCL interpreter understands.

Then of course there's the quartus_sh --qhelp command that will give you
online help for the command-line option of every Quartus command.

Best regards,


Ben

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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2005, 10:07 PM
Subroto Datta
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?


Ben Twijnstra wrote:
> Hi Tuukka,
>


>
> There's a whopping big TCL scripting manual in dead-tree format (200+

pages
> if I'm correct) that comes with Quartus 4.2. Also, work is under way

to
> document each and every setting that can be set in the GUI and that

the
> Quartus TCL interpreter understands.
>


You can save the trees and read the 358 page document from
http://www.altera.com/literature/man...riptRefMnl.pdf

The document being referred to by Ben is the Quartus Scripting
Reference Manual. It is slight misnomer to call it a Tcl scripting
reference. This document covers two different approaches for scripting,
each with their own strengths.

One is command line scripting, where you call the different command
line executables quartus_map, quartus_fit, quartus_tan, quartus_eda,
quartus_asm and quartus_pgm with command line options. If you are
familiar with the Xilinx compiler executables with their - switches on
the command line this will be very easy to understand.

The second approach allows you to use the Tcl programming language for
creating your design flows. This is more powerful than command line
scripting as you can use the rich Tcl API supported by the Quartus
executables to script and automate your design flows, right from
setting up your project, through compilation and verification. For e.g.
if you wanted to control our flow based on the condition of certain
design objects in your compiler report, or create custom timing
analysis reports the Tcl approach is the way to go.

Hope this helps,
Subroto Datta
Altera Corp.

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  #21 (permalink)  
Old 03-26-2005, 04:49 AM
Jaime Andrés Aranguren Cardona
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Hi,

Subroto Datta wrote:
> Hi Big,
>
> We'd like to hear your view about how Quartus can be made better

for
> your needs.


Remove the 150 day restriction for the web edition. make it time
unlimited as the ISE WebPack.

This is the main factor for me to use Xilinx instead of Altera. And I
am sure that for many more too.

It is prefereable that it does not work for high-end FPGAs, CPLDs or
Structured ASICs, and only for low/mid range devices, but works
unlimited in time.

> - Subroto Datta
> Altera Corp.


JaaC

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  #22 (permalink)  
Old 03-26-2005, 09:31 AM
Hendra
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Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?

Subroto Datta wrote:
> We'd like to hear your view about how Quartus can be made better

for
> your needs.
>
> - Subroto Datta
> Altera Corp.


Please couple Quartus with the free version of ModelSim or whatever
other Simulator that supports TestBench. A prof. in my Alma Mater
insisted on using MaxPlus II and Quartus, and I hated it so much
because the simulator that comes with it doesn't support testbench at
all. Not to mention its clumsy user interface. I would just use Altera
software for synthesis, map and PR, but for the simulation I prefer
ModelSim or any other dedicated Simulator.

Hendra

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  #23 (permalink)  
Old 03-27-2005, 04:38 PM
Alex Gibson
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Posts: n/a
Default Re: Xilinx ISE 7.1 - Can this get any worse?


"Jaime Andrés Aranguren Cardona" <[email protected]> wrote in
message news:[email protected] oups.com...
> Hi,
>
> Subroto Datta wrote:
>> Hi Big,
>>
>> We'd like to hear your view about how Quartus can be made better

> for
>> your needs.

>
> Remove the 150 day restriction for the web edition. make it time
> unlimited as the ISE WebPack.
>
> This is the main factor for me to use Xilinx instead of Altera. And I
> am sure that for many more too.
>
> It is prefereable that it does not work for high-end FPGAs, CPLDs or
> Structured ASICs, and only for low/mid range devices, but works
> unlimited in time.
>
> JaaC


Problem ?
Just request another license like the rest of us.
If your lucky you get it same day and keep going as before
(even though last time it took a couple of days)

I wish Altera would do service packs, instead of having to
download the whole thing for the web edtion.

But thats my biggest annoyance with xilinx webpack and ise.
The stupidly sized service packs.
Download 200MB one day then few days later need to
download another 300MB for the service pack.

Alex


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