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1. Introduction

Capture of board–level electronic designs has progressed from manual drawings to the latest CAD software. Manual drawings are now inappropriate for capturing all designs except the most simple. As the complexity of components, systems, and layout tools increases, schematic capture applications are also becoming inappropriate. This is not necessarily a reflection of the quality of the tools, but rather a result of the limitations of the medium. Graphical schematic representations severely hinder management of complexity.

1.1. Overview of CBOLD

CBOLD is a C++ framework for capturing board–level electronic designs.

What CBOLD Is:
a schematicless means of capturing a design's structure, components, connectivity, layout rules, etc.
a means of automating post–processing

What CBOLD Is Not:
a design compiler
a behaviorial design description
a design simulator
a proprietary design language

When you capture a design with CBOLD, you do not enter a schematic into a CAD application. Instead, you create a C++ program that describes the design and the desired outputs. The program is compiled with a standard C++ compiler. When the resulting executable is run, it verifies the legality of the design and writes output files (netlist, bill of materials, FPGA constraint files, etc.) to disk.

The CBOLD framework contains the bulk of the C++ code needed to create a design, freeing you to concentrate on the C++ code specific to your design task. This code primarily consists of module definitions, which are analogous to pages of a schematic design. Because CBOLD is extensible, you may also add custom C++ code that automates otherwise tedious tasks, such as generating autorouter command files.

CBOLD was designed specifically to address the challenges presented by modern board-level designs. Similar challenges have been faced by software engineers for decades and drove the development of improved languages and improved development environments. CBOLD parlays these software improvements and extends them to the realm of board-level design.

You do not need to be a C++ expert to use CBOLD, but some experience with C is recommended. The C++ Primer is suggested reading for designers with limited C++ experience.


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