By   January 6, 2017

Angus and I are working on a project together and he decided to try to do the PCB using Upverter. He’s had some limited success with it at one of his customer sites and as we all know, KiCad isn’t exactly the easiest tool in the bench…

I haven’t been interacting with the design much, mostly just hovering around and doing some schematic review.. Conceptually, the Upverter collaborative approach has potential but in practice, seems to mostly fall flat on its face.  I’m not sure you can expect much more from something written in javascript and I’m surprised they got this far with it.  Thus far I’m finding that it can grind Google Chrome to an absolutely stand-still on my brand-new MacbookPro to the point where my radioparadise stream has to rebuffer  (and I have 175mbps link to the internets) and if you look at it wrong, it hangs the tab that it’s in.

Upverter might be an ok hobbyist tool but $100/month/seat, they’re dreaming.  Maybe at $5.00/month for hobbyists but in no universe is any enterprise going to buy into this.  I’ve spent time using Mentor Graphics which is an actual enterprise tool and Upverter is like comparing Sketchup to Autodesk Inventor.

In addition to instabilities, I haven’t quite figured out how to communicate with my collaborator(s) in Upverter and it would seem that there isn’t actually a way.  That’s a very obvious omission for which there is a lot of precedent (google docs anyone?)… I want to highlight an area of the schematic and refer to it in a chat window… I feel kind of stupid because I can’t see how something like this isn’t prominent in the app but I just can’t find it.

The next major irritation is screen real-estate.. When I’m doing CAD, I want to see as much of my design as possible.  I try to make toolbars go away but with the Upverter app running inside a browser tab, I lose a ton of screen real estate to the URL bar and the tab bar. Then inside the tab is the Upverter toolbar that also doesn’t appear to want to be hidden away in any fashion.

This is all just from browsing around.  I haven’t even tried to design anything with it.   It just reinforces my conclusion that online ‘software as a service’ type applications are a waste of time and I’m taking bets on just how long Upverter will be around.  I certainly wouldn’t put any of my designs on there because I don’t see them being around in a year or maybe two at the most.