Development Highlight: Third Party Content Improvements

We are fast approaching the eventual release of 6.0 targeted for very early next year with the tagging of the 6.0 RC 1.

Plugin & Content Manager

One final new feature that has been snuck in is the new Plugin & Content Manager (PCM) contributed by Andrew Lutsenko in MR #841

The KiCad community has created an array of valuable python tools and libraries over the years. The PCM now provides the greater KiCad audience an easier way to both learn of these tools and install them with more ease.

As of right now the following content is supported:

  • Python plugins

  • Color themes

  • Libraries

By default all users receive a feed of content from the KiCad official repository but support exists for third party’s to run their own content repositories which users can add.

Unfortunately, there is currently no automatic update or notification functionality. Plugins that require pip packages need the pip packages installed manually by the user.

These are issues we hope to solve in the future beyond the 6.0 release but the current PCM iteration lays down great ground work for future expansion.release.

Adding your content to the KiCad official repository

Got a plugin, library or theme you created and want to share? Find out how to submit it to the kicad official repository

Python / Pip Package Access Improvement on Windows

Mark Roszko in a recent change to Windows packages has added a new KiCad Command Prompt entry to the Windows start menu post-install. This is coupled with customization of python to fix the heavy handed path defaults that Python is hardcoded to perform on Windows regardless of the fact we are embedding it.

The PATH variable is adjusted in the KiCad Command Prompt specifically to prioritize KiCad’s distributed python and pip over any system install you may have. pip packages now install to C:\Users\<username>\Documents\KiCad\6.0\3rdparty\Python39\site-packages to match the new PCM

Example of KiCad Command Prompt entry in Start Menu
Example of KiCad Command Prompt open