Last week MetaMorph released an initial version of it's stand-alone Component Browser. In the future, the browser will be fully integrated with the web version of our tools. This browser will allow users to easily find components, download them, and then import them into their projects. We are following a similar category listing as seen on Octopart.
Two of our engineers that did a majority of the planning and work, Blake McBride and Adam Nagel, talked about their thinking behind the browser and their experience developing it.
Read instructions on using the Component Browser.
Objectives for the Initial Design
We wanted to create a platform for the end-user to search through, select, and incorporate predefined components into the user’s current design. We were building up a large library of components, but we didn't have any great way of searching through it to find the component you needed. After surveying the searching capabilities of the other design tools out there, we felt that we could do better.
Also, finding and incorporating electronic components should be as natural and unobtrusive as possible. Designing electronic circuits can be challenging enough without making the user have to stop and figure out a new tool.
Challenges in Developing the Browser
A chief goal was to make the tool highly responsive and scale well with many users. The biggest challenge was to incorporate all of the latest web-design tools into this new application in order to achieve this goal. We designed the application with node, AngularJS, Bootstrap, and elasticsearch. This allowed us to achieve our goal while making the application responsive, attractive, and easy to use.
Integrating the Stand-alone Browser with the Web Tools
Ultimately, the Component Browser will be fully incorporated into the MetaMorph web design tools, thus enabling the user to perform all the desired function from within a single environment. This version is geared towards the Metamorphosys Desktop user, or anyone looking to pull other assets, like EAGLE or SPICE models, from our library for other uses.
We plan on improving the sorting and selection functionality. There will also be ever increasing integration between the Component Browser and the Web design tools.