I've just been playing with the demo version of Pulsonix, which is the best competitor to the aging Cadsoft Eagle PCB design software that is the standard in our industry. It looks fantastic, improving on Eagle in loads of ways such as easy viewing of the front or back side of the board without clicking on dozens of check boxes (a pet peeve of mine about Eagle) and built-in 3D viewing. It can also import Eagle files and part libraries with the use of a translation utility. (A full list of features is here
The only downside (and this is a big one) is that the free demo
has save disabled, and the cheapest full-featured version of the software costs
. [CORRECTION: This price actually refers to a lower-end version of the software, called Easy PC. Pulsonix is the top end of their range and sells for around $2,000. The bottom end of the range is the free, stripped-down but fully functional version of this software, which is called PCB Artist. It's very good, but doesn't support the Eagle file and library conversion utilities.]
Here's the description from Pulsonix's US distributor, Advanced Circuits
…the 1st completely NEW, High Level combined Schematics Capture & PCB Layout Software announced in many years.
• Pulsonix has been developed from the ground up by PCB design industry professionals using the very latest techniques in graphics and data handling.
• Competitive products originate from the 80’s and 90’s and look antiquated by comparison.
• Pulsonix uses Microsoft Office menu structure and is immediately familiar and attractive.
• Usually does not require formal training. Designed for the casual user and the professional.
• Directly imports schematics, PCB Designs, and Libraries from other PCB software products.
• Built in features at no extra cost; ie, Design Variants, DRC, and Report Maker.
• Can be purchased with or without an Autorouter.
• Product includes all features for design, checking and manufacturing PCBs. All outputs are included (Gerber, ODB++, Excellon, etc.)
• Pulsonix is delivered with an informative Users Guide and up to date, context sensitive on-line HTML help.