Atomic vs Loosely coupled

I saw the presentation at KiCad and Reid Landsrud asked for feedback about the KiCad library and tooling in general to help customers.

KiCad is fairly extensible, and I would love to see a different tactic from Digi-Key. Instead of spending endless hours of schematic/footprint design, I think the focus would be to integrate KiCad to the Digi-Key Search/Inventory facility. I.e. an extension to KiCad that would take the “Manufacturer” and “MPN” from the part, try to find it from the footprint name (probably ask user if missing, can’t be found, ‘obsolete’ or ‘not in stock’) and populate the Digi-Key metadata into the attributes. Furthermore, the tool can (optionally) be actively connected to and continually calculate “cost of design” at user-settable quantities of the board, something rather important when we have budgets.

As a user of KiCad and a (small, but long time) customer at Digi-Key, not only does it fit better with my workflow (separating the schematics and PCB layout phases), but also provides support for parts that I make myself, from third-parties, or from the KiCad standard library, which is nowadays evolving quickly both in size as well as in quality. I would also think that such solution would convince the “atomic part” proponents (I used to be there) to change their mind.

I am primarily a programmer, and my gut estimate of getting the above to a “good enough” level is less than a man-year for one solid programmer, or an external consultant, to make it happen.

Hope this feedback is useful.


Thank you for the feedback. It is much appreciated. The Digi-Key KiCad Library does add a lot of value to the subset of parts it applies to, especially having all of that meta data available.

I do agree with you that a tool such as that which you described would be valuable as well, and we have had many discussions about creating such an add-in.

It sure is great to hear from customers how they use KiCad and what they would like to see us create to help the user base.

Thanks again,
Reid Landsrud
Sr. Applications Engrg Technician
Digi-Key Electronics
701 Brooks Ave S
Thief River Falls, MN 56701 USA