Approach to terminals

At the highest level circuits are a collection of components and a collection of nets that define the connection between the various terminals of those components.

A component consists of a schematic symbol that have a number of terminals and one or more footprints that have a number of pads. The schematic terminals are mapped to the pads of the footprints, which allows you to connect terminals in the schematic view and automatically have airwires between the pads in the PCB view.

Terminals of a schematic symbol have a name that describes the function of the terminal, e.g. +, - and out for an op-amp. Pads of a footprint also have a name which are independent of the functionality, e.g. 1 to 8 for the pads of a DIP-8 footprint.

In the design of the software we are doing our best to enable a two phased approach to electronics design. First, we design functionality represented as a schematic. Second, the physical design is done in the PCB view. In this second phase we define physical aspects like which package is used for a certain component and how exactly the connections between the footprint pads will be implemented in the copper of the board.

Because of this decoupled design approach we don't show physical aspects in the schematic view, e.g. we don't show pad names in the schematic as is sometimes done for documentation. In the future we might enable the generation of a documentation schematic that does contain pad names, but not during the design process.  

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