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ADS and project managment

ADS  (advanced Design System, from Agilent) is electronic design automation software for RF, microwave, and signal integrity applications.

Project Management 

At Thales the microwave designers were accustomed to use MDS, the predecessor of ADS, and its project management.
With the introduction of ADS this project management was lacking.
Within MDS we had the "blue screen" with its icons (collectors) which represent projects and libraries.
mds bluescreen
Opening a project will give you a page with more icons representing circuits, layouts, workbenches (sub folders) and more, which give the user a very good impression of the hierarchy of all the files within a project.
In ADS all this was (is) missing;


When doing a total design the number of files (design, datasets, presentation pages) soon becomes huge ( > 100 ). 
  1. The structure amongst the designs is not clear;
  2. Which datasets belong to which designs is not clear.
  3. The presentation page has the choice amongst all data sets, while in practice they are limited to just the datasets of specific designs.
  4. Knowledge transfer to other developers is close to zero. 


  1. We needed a viewing/working project structure on top of designs, layouts, datasets, presentation data etc.
  2. The user browses his project data via that structure, paths to components and designs are found via the same project structure.
  3. The storage of project data into files on the file system is of no interest to the user, he only wants to see his project data via his project structure 
  4. The viewing structure is a hierarchy of collector items (icons) in a 2D fashion, where at the bottom of the hierarchy one will find designs, datasets etc. 
  5. Such a system was already available for 15 years in MDS.


The other solution is to give each design, sub designs, layouts, data files, presentation pages etc, a logical name, in a way that you can see the relation between the files. Some people even write down the meaning of a file and its relation between the other files in a log book so that they can find, after a few months, their way in their own project.
If every designer uses the MDS way of setting up a project then it is much easier for another designer to take over the project, even after many years.
At Thales (Hengelo) we made a design kit called MDS_DK. For each item (circuit, layout etc) there is a collector (icon).
These icons are placed, from the MDS collectors library, on a design page and all items can be opened by selecting the icon and choosing, from the main menu: MDS_DK->Open item.
You create a new design by placing a new design icon on a design page, give it a unique name and selecting: MDS_DK->New design.


Create a short cut for opening and creating new files, this saves you a few mouse clicks.
Name the TOP design page (the main container for all your designs) something like AA_TOP
(In this way the top design page will show up at the top of the file list)

Movie of ADS with MDS_DK designkit

If you want to try it out, you can download the design kit here: MDS_DK.
If you need any help you can send an email email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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