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The Configurator is a small and simple program designed to take all the fun out of being a CAD Manager. Though it took a handful of days to write, test and document, the program actually doesn't do very much by itself, instead, it's just a piece of the much larger puzzle of managing user preference settings.

Although the feature was hidden for the first release, the other DesignTools programs, such as the Destubifier, have actually been written to allow saving user preferences. Saving user preferences is simple to do when you've got a single user working on a single system loaded with it's own a full installation of the Cadence tools. The trouble is trying to manage user preferences across multiple users and multiple systems. Things can get very complicated and confusing in a hury when dealing with multiplicity.

To solve the big complex problem, we simplify it by breaking it down into managable chunks. There are basically three levels of possible configuration:

  • FILE
    The FILE level configuration settings are simply what you've chosen to use on this particular FILE or project. If you choose some setting, your choice is saved to the your current working directory so you don't have to enter it again. For example, if you want to use a particular set of filters settings in the Destubifier on this particular design and only on this particular design, you'll be able to save them to your current working directory.

  • USER
    Your personal choices for colors, filters and many other things are USER level decisions and just to make things complicated, your capricious nature and ever changing situation means having only one (1) default configuration will never be enough. You want a default but you also want a stack of other possible configurations that you regularly use and can jump to in an instant. All of the sets of these USER level configurations are stored in your "$home/.DesignTools/" directory.

  • SITE
    Your company CAD Manager simply doesn't care if you prefer mauve or chartreuse, so there is no need for a company-wide SITE level policy dictating what colors you are allowed to use. On the other hand, your CAD Manager is probably very picky about the exact way you package the deliverables on a finished design (possibly with the DesignTools Deliver program). In fact, I'd be willing to bet your CAD Manager has a written policy regarding the "CORRECT" deliverables and said policy is enforced with threats of death, dismemberment and rubber hoses (but not necessarily in that order).

The Configurator allows you to tell all your DesignTools software where to look for SITE level configuation files. Though this will most likely take all of the sadistic fun out of being a CAD Manager, your new found ability to comply with their whims will help to prevent the death, dismemberment and rubber hoses previously mentioned. (You may want to note, if *I* was your CAD Manager, I'd probably still use the rubber hoses every once in a while, regardless of your compliance, -mainly because I can).

You probably noticed that funny looking "Promote" button. This is how a CAD Manager would create and maintain SITE level configuation files. All they need to do is simply configure their own personal USER level configuration, test that it works according to their current wims and then "Promote" a configuration to become the new SITE level policy.

Similarly, within the various DesignTools programs if a user had saved a FILE level configuration for a particular tool on this particular project and thought it might be useful elsewhere, they could "Promote" it to become one of the posible choices in their set of USER level configurations.

As you can see, managing configuration information can get pretty complex and the above is nothing more than the best solution I've come up with so far. If you've got a better idea, please let me know.

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