README file for FidoCadJ

Version 0.24.8

Copyright 2007-2020

This file has been written by Davide Bucci and Dante Loi

  1. Introduction
    • 1.1 What is FidoCadJ?
    • 1.2 Where can I find FidoCadJ?
    • 1.3 How can I run FidoCadJ?
    • 1.4 Where can I get help?
  2. Source files and the FidoCadJ Git directories
    • 2.1 Main directory
    • 2.2 Important classes
    • 2.3 Developers' tools
  3. Instructions about compiling and running FidoCadJ
    • 3.1 Build automation tool
    • 3.2 Compile and run the sources on a MacOSX or a Unix operating system
    • 3.3 Compile and run the sources on a Windows system
    • 3.4 Android
  4. Coding conventions
    • 4.1 General rules
    • 4.2 Automated tests
    • 4.3 Static code analysis and the quality of the FidoCadJ source code
  5. Help wanted!
    • 5.1 "I want to translate FidoCadJ in my language"
    • 5.2 "I would like to participate to the coding activity"
    • 5.3 Things to do
    • 5.4 Checklist for committers
  6. I found a bug...
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Licensing

1 - Introduction

1.1 What is FidoCadJ?

FidoCadJ is a very easy to use editor, with a vast library of electrical symbols and footprints (through hole and SMD). Its drawings can be exported in several graphic formats (PDF, EPS, PGF for LaTeX, SVG, PNG, JPG). Even if it is very simple to use, FidoCadJ can be very useful as a basic schematic capture and electronic design automation (EDA) software. FidoCadJ is inspired from the old FidoCAD (without "J"), which was a vector graphic editor for electrical schematics and printed circuit boards. FidoCAD used a file format containing text, very compact and perfect for copying and pasting from/into newsgroups and forum messages. This determined its success among the Italian Usenet community and forums, from late '90s, as it was quite versatile for simple mechanical drawings as well. No netlist concept lies behind the drawings, so there is all the graphical flexibility that a vector drawing software can offer (but no simulation).

FidoCadJ is the modern, multiplatform successor of FidoCAD, with full support of UTF-8 text, advanced features, internationalisation and a sleek, polished user interface with anti-aliasing.

The FidoCadJ user manual is available in English. Translations in French, Italian and Chinese are available, but may not have been updated regularly. The user interface has been translated into English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Chinese, Dutch, Japanese, Greek and Czech.

FidoCadJ runs on the following systems:

Java 1.9 at least is required for Windows, Linux and MacOSX.

1.2 Where can I find FidoCadJ?

Here are the two official FidoCadJ websites. The first one is the generic website presenting the project:

The second one is the GitHub project, for developers:

1.3 How can I run FidoCadJ?

If you own a PC running Linux or Windows (or any system supporting Java), you may download from the GitHub repository the file fidocadj.jar. If Java is correctly installed on your machine, you may just double click on it to run FidoCadJ. If you are a command line wizard, you may go to the directory where the file fidocadj.jar has been saved and type:

java -jar fidocadj.jar

If you are a Linux user, and you want install FidoCadJ, you may download from GitHub repository the source code packed on .zip or .tar.gz archive, unpack it, and in the FidoCadJ-x.xx.x/ directory type:

sudo make install

If you use Windows, you might find useful using the classical installer contained in the FidoCadJ_Windows.msi file. If you run it, it will install FidoCadJ on your system and you can launch it via the Start menu.

If you own an Apple Macintosh with MacOSX, you may download the FidoCadJ_MacOSX.dmg bundle and treat it just like any other native application. Since Apple does not seem to be very much prone to support Java, if you experience some problems running FidoCadJ, please check you do have a Java runtime correctly installed on your Mac. This is particularly true if you are using the MacOSX Lion/Mountain Lion/Mavericks/etc. operating system. Normally, you will have to download the Java runtime in a few clicks. I tried my best, but the situation in 2007 was different from the current one and Apple used to warmly welcome Java developers back then...

For Android, we had to develop a completely new application: you should download and install the APK file containing it. Most devices complain loudly when you install a file which does not come from a store. Check carefully where you downloaded it: the ONLY official location where distribution files are put for FidoCadJ project is on the official GitHub page.

If there is a Greek letter after the version number of FidoCadJ, this means that you are using a preliminary version of this program. Basically, you are warned: those versions may be unstable!

FidoCadJ is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

1.4 Where can I get help?

If you feel lost, you can have a look at the manuals. Languages different from English might be outdated or no more listed:

(search for the PDF files!)

If you need help, you can post a question as a GitHub issue.

2 - Source files and the FidoCadJ Git directories

You may download the complete source repository by using Git from the GitHub repository.

git clone

2.1 Main directory

In the following table you find a description of the main directory of FidoCadJ source files.

File DIR Comments
bin/ X All the compiled classes and resources
busy being born/ X Screenshots of FidoCadJ
dev_tools X Developers' tools for compile, run and test
doc/ X Contains all Javadoc produced HTML files
gpl-3.0.txt GNU General Public Licence version 3
icons/ X All icons (made with Gimp)
jar/ X Directory for jar and manifest files
makefile File which defines automated build system rules
manual/ X All the LaTeX manuals sources
NEWS.txt The big news, for each version tagged
OSes/ X Specific things for some OSes; Android app here This file
src/ X Contains all the Java source files
test/ X Automated tests for FidoCadJ

2.2 Important classes

Important classes in src/net/sourceforge/fidocadj/ are:

Path Description Starting point, with "main" Editor windows
primitives/*.java The graphic primitives
dialogs/*.java All the Swing dialogs
circuit/ Swing editor panel
circuit/* Low level editing classes (MVC)

2.3 Developers' tools

The dev_tools directory, contains all the scripts for compile, build, run and test FidoCadJ.

Tool Description Launch Checkstyle with rules in rules.xml
clean Erase all the compiled classes
cleanall Do a clean, erase fidocadj.jar, Javadocs
compile Compile FidoCadJ
count Do a wc (word count!) on all Java sources
createdoc Run Javadoc on all source files
createjar Prepare fidocadj.jar
createdist-macos Create a distribution package for MacOS
fidocadj_check.txt Current result of
fidocadj_cpd.txt Current result of copy/paste detector (pmd)
fidocadj_pmd.html Current result of pmd checks Launch pmd for warnings and copy/paste detector
profile Launch a profiler (jip)
rules.xml Set of coding style rules for Checklist
run Run FidoCadJ Create the signature for the applet
winbuild.bat Build and run script for Windows (see ยง3.2)

3 - Instructions about compiling and running FidoCadJ

Ok, you just forked the FidoCadJ project in GitHub.

Good :smile:

FidoCadJ is a pure Java project, and for many reasons I prefer to use a good text editor as well as a few command line scripts, in order to compile and run the code on which I am working. You will thus find in the main directory (see section 2 of this file) several scripts which will be useful for you, especially if you are working in a Unix-like environment. If you prefer to use some kind of IDE such as Eclipse, you may try, but I do not provide assistance about it and I will always refer to the scripts I wrote. And no, I will not change my habits, sorry :smile:

3.1 Build automation tool

The FidoCadJ project has a build automation system, based on make. The tabled make rules have been implemented.

Rule Description
make Compile FidoCadJ (implicit)
make clean Erase all the compiled classes
make cleanall Do a clean, erase fidocadj.jar, Javadocs
make compile Compile FidoCadJ (explicit)
make createdoc Run Javadoc on all source files
make createjar Prepare jar/fidocadj.jar
make rebuild Do a clean and then run FidoCadJ
make run Run FidoCadJ

3.2 Compile and run the sources on a MacOSX or a Unix operating system

If you are using MacOSX (>=10.8) or an Unix system (GNU/Linux included), just open up a terminal window, go into the main directory of FidoCadJ and type:

make rebuild

FidoCadJ should be automatically compiled and launched. You can use the following script to create a JAR archive in the jar/ directory:

make createjar

If you want to study the FidoCadJ source code, run the make createdoc script to obtain the Javadoc description.

3.3 Compile and run the sources on a Windows system

The provided scripts do not work on Microsoft Windows. Kohta Ozaki has written a build/run script for Windows, called winbuild.bat that is present in the dev_tools directory. It must be used with the action to be accomplished, as an argument:

Argument Description
run Launch application
clean Delete all class files under .\bin
compile Compile and related sources[^1]
force Compile source files of all directories[^2]
rebuild Clean and compile

[^1]: This option refers to the compiler resolving dependency. [^2]: The compiler starts on each source file. Very slow.

Alternatively, you might handle manually the compilation with the following command, into the main directory:

javac  -g -O -sourcepath src -classpath bin .\src\ -d bin

To launch the compiled program, you should type:

java  -classpath .\bin;.\jar;.\jar\  FidoMain

FidoCadJ should start.

3.4 Android

Android deserves an application which is well separated from the one you can use on a PC or on a Mac: a smartphone or a table is a quite different device than a laptop or a desktop computer. Therefore, a lot of effort had to be put in the development of an appropriate Android app.

You can find the complete sources in OSes/android/fidocadj/; there is a separate file which gives some relevant information.

Great care has been put in sharing as much code as possible between the computer application and the Android one. Therefore, you will always find the same release number synchronized between the two.

4 - Coding conventions

Who wants to work on the FidoCadJ sourcecode should take care the following style conventions.

4.1 General rules

The following coding conventions have been applied for the FidoCadJ source code:

for(i=0; i<10; ++i) {   // Curly brace here
    // indented code (4 spaces)
    System.out.println("I counted up to "+i);
}   // close brace here at the same level of the 'for'
void dummy(int i, int j)
{   // put the starting brace here
    System.out.println("Indent code");
}   // put the closing brace here
class Dummy
{                           // Curly brace here.
    // the rest of the class.
int dummy(int i)
    int j;
    switch(i) {
        case 1:
        case 2:
    return j;

A Checkstyle ruleset (called dev_tools/rules.xml) is employed so to ensure that those rules will be automatically checked. Points for which a rule has been activated have been marked with :ok: in the previous list.

Be sure to run checkstyle with dev_tools/rules.xml before sending a pull request! Have a look at paragraph 4.4 and follow the checklist!

4.2 Automated tests

To ease the maintain of a certain degree of quality control when working on the source code, the FidoCadJ source repository comes with a number of automated test scripts contained in the directory test/. You may launch all the tests by using the script dev_tools/ contained in this directory, or you may run the tests individually by browsing the sub-directories containing them. The program is called by using the fidocadj.jar archive which must be contained in the jar/ directory. Ensure that this archive is updated with the make createjar rule before launching any test.

The following list briefly describes the provided tests:

test/ : Run all the available tests.

test/export/ : Test the export on all available file formats. A set of reference files is provided, so it might be updated if differences on the export are introduced by purpose. If a test has failed, this tells just that the exported file is not identical to the model which has been used. You may have a look at the log file and at the result of the export. You may decide that it is OK.

test/messages/ : Test the coherence of all installed interface languages against the reference (which is the English resource file!)

test/size/ : Test if the size calculated for all elements is the same as the one stored as a reference. Any change to the way the size is calculated will invalidate the test if the size is invalid.

Note that the way those tests are written, they compare the results of an operation involving FidoCadJ with a reference. In some cases, the reference can be improved or updated. In other cases, the differences might just contain unimportant data (such as version numbers and so on).

4.3 Static code analysis and the quality of the FidoCadJ source code

Static code analysis is a powerful tool to ensure code quality. It cannot do miracles, but it is an useful way to avoid common errors. Two tools are routinely used to ensure that FidoCadJ is of the highest quality possible. They are PMD and FindBugs; those programs are different and somewhat complementary.

PMD works on the source files directly (see the dev_tools/ script) and the results are contained in the file dev_tools/fidocadj_pmd.html. This file is contained in the source file repository and it provides a sort of a traceable metric of the overall code quality. A copy/paste detection in the code is performed too and the results are stored in dev_tools/fidocadj_cpd.txt. Effort will be done to reduce the size of those files in the future.

FindBugs runs interactively and analyzes the JAR file resulting after the compilation and packaging. The great care applied to the code quality has made sort that FidoCadJ has had some good results in a quality assessment analysis done by researchers working in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Saskatchewan.

If you work on FidoCadJ code, please do all your best to keep high the quality of the code you are writing.

As already presented in section 4.1, another tool is employed to ensure that the coding style is uniform: Checkstyle. The coding rules for Checkstyle are specified in the dev_tools/rules.xml file. Be sure you run Checkstyle with this ruleset to see what it has to be corrected before creating a pull request.

5 - Help wanted!

I am seeking for people interested in participating to the FidoCadJ project. If you spot a typo (I am not a native English speaker), or an error in the manual or in the program, any correction is very welcome. I will be very happy to know what do you think about FidoCadJ. I would be glad to receive some help: if you know Java and you want to work on the source code you will be welcome. If your Java coding is not fluent, you can participate to the project by improving the manuals or translating the interface, or just giving an advice. Feel free to contact me at [email protected], or in the GitHub discussions (the email address is valid without the nope part, but no attachments, please). It is probably better to open a discussion on GitHub, in order that the work can eventually be shared and organised between all developers.

5.1 "I want to translate FidoCadJ in my language"

FidoCadJ is written in such a way that translating its interface is particularly easy and does not need any programming skill. If you have downloaded the source file repository, you should find the interface resource files in the bin/ directory. A language resource file has the name, where xx is the code for the language to which the translation is targeted. Language code should follow ISO 639-1.

If you have a look at the beginning of the file bin/, you should read something as follow:

File = File
New = New
Open = Open file
Save = Save
SaveName = Save as...
Export = Export
Print = Print
Close = Close


The resources strings are organised in the form key = value. For example, here is the head of the corresponding file for the interface in French, in the file bin/

File = Fichier
New = Nouveau dessin
Open = Ouvre un fichier
Save = Enregistrer
SaveName = Enregistrer sous un autre nom
Export = Exporter
Print = Impression
Close = Fermer


That is all. If you want to translate FidoCadJ in your language, you just have to translate line by line the values in a language resource file, name it accordingly to your locale and place it in the bin/ directory. Pay attention that sometimes there are spaces at the end of the value strings which need to be kept in place. You may be careful about always providing complete files, since if a resource is missing, FidoCadJ can abort.

5.2 "I would like to participate to the coding activity"

This is very nice from you. We will be happy for that.

You can open an issue on GitHub and declare what you would like to do. We will discuss a little in order to see if we can find an intersection between what you can do with the FidoCadJ development strategy. The idea is to keep the work a little bit organised and to know who does what.

Have a peek to section 4.1 of this file to see what coding style should be applied to the sources.

Apart from that, FidoCadJ is GPL v.3 and this means that if you have the mood for, you can download with Git the source files and play as you want with them. But keep in mind that if you want your contributions be included in the FidoCadJ main stream, you MUST keep in touch with us via GitHub and you must discuss about what are you willing to do.

Once you decide what you want to do, you can run the Javadoc utility in order to get an HTML description of all classes used in FidoCadJ. You will find that useful to understand the underpinnings of the program. To do that, you can run make createdoc, if you are in a Unix system.

Then comes the hard work... We can help you! Please come to the GitHub discussions dedicated to FidoCadJ!

5.3 Things to do

Translate user interface : Everything is done on FidoCadJ to make it easy to translate its interface in any language. You can contribute to spread FidoCadJ in your country!

Translate manual : This is an hard work, but it will be very welcomed by the users of your country. You will probably need an idea on how LaTeX works.

YouTube video tutorial : People love YouTube videos!

Report bugs : Use the bug and artefact tracking system on GitHub.

Export in Gerber format : Exporting in graphical vector formats is easy with FidoCadJ. If you want to add a file format you just need to know it and implement a Java interface. Gerber is highly requested by people working on PCBs.

Unit testing : Actually, only high level tests are available. Serious unit testing would be much beneficial.

Linux packaging : FidoCadJ could be distributed as a deb or a RPM package. Can you prepare one?

5.4 Checklist for committers

For the PC and Android app:

For the PC app:

6 - I found a bug...

Every program contains bugs and FidoCadJ is not an exception. Even if all the people involved in the development of FidoCadJ pay a lot of attention at each release, some details could just go unnoticed. If you are familiar with the GitHub interface, do not hesitate to fill a bug report at the following address:

7 - Acknowledgments

Code : Davide Bucci, josmil1, phylum2, Kohta Ozaki, Dante Loi, miklos80

Beta testers : Kagliostro, Bruno Valente, simo85, Stefano Martini, F. Bertolazzi, Emanuele Baggetta, Celsius, Andrea D'Amore, Olaf Marzocchi, Werner Randelshofer, Zeno Martini, Electrodomus, IsidoroKZ, Gustavo ... and many others!

Documentation review : Carlo Stemberger, Dante Loi (

Translations : Davide Bucci (it, en, fr), Pasu (en), Olaf Marzocchi (ge), Geo Cherchetout (fr), androu1 (es), sbcne (es), Miles Qin "qhg007" (zh), DirtyDeeds (en), chokewood (nl), Kohta Ozaki (ja), Chemik582 (cs), Pietro Baima (it), simo85 (es)

Libraries : Lorenzo Lutti, Fabrizio Mileto, DirtyDeeds, Electrodomus, IHRaM group, EY group coordinated by simo85

Website : Davide Bucci, Federica Garin, Emanuele Baggetta, Sergio Juanez

Code snippets included in FidoCadJ : -

When possible, the authors of the snippets have been contacted to gain explicit permission of using the code in an open source project. If you own the copyright of some of the reused code and you do not agree on its inclusion in the FidoCadJ project, open an Issue on GitHub and we will remove the offending code as fast as we can.

8 - Licensing

FidoCadJ is distributed with the GPL v. 3 license:

FidoCadJ is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

FidoCadJ is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with FidoCadJ.  If not, see <>.

The file glyphlist.txt employed for the export towards the PDF format is distributed using the Apache license 2.0. You may obtain a copy of the License at: