Parent page: Altium 365 Workspace
Give the same design project to a variety of designers and the results are likely to differ, since each designer exhibits their own set of design traits, level of experience, and working preferences. While the extent of these different approaches may not be an issue across different companies and product disciplines, the visibility of such differences can become significant when they are working for the same design team within the same organization.
The Altium 365 Workspace, when activated by an Altium Designer Enterprise Subscription, allows enterprise-level enforcement of a designer's work environment – to ensure that they are following the required standards expected by that organization for design, documentation, and production – through its Team Configuration Center.
The role of the Team Configuration Center is to give the organization centralized control over the environment its designers operate in. It achieves this through the definition and management of Environment Configurations. These are used to constrain each designer's Altium Designer working environment to only use company-ratified design elements, including schematic templates, output job configuration files, and workspace preferences. In other words, it facilitates Centralized Environment Configuration Management.
Any number of environment configurations may be defined through the Workspace Configurations page. The data used and enforced by each configuration on the design side – referred to as Configuration Data Items – are sourced from the Workspace. And by associating each environment configuration with a specific user role, and in turn assigning users to those roles, the correct working environment is loaded into Altium Designer as soon as the user connects to the Workspace. Using this role-based approach ensures that a designer always gets the setup they are entitled to, no matter whether they have their own PC, or are sharing a single PC with fellow designers.
The following image provides a graphical overview of the concept of Centralized Environment Configuration Management.
Before you can delve into the creation and definition of environment configurations, you need to first define the required configuration data items – the constituent elements of the configurations. These are the design elements that the user – whose assigned role(s) determine the configuration(s) available – is permitted to use. In other words, a configuration defines and enforces the set of configuration data items available to the user.
Currently, the following types of content can be used with environment configurations:
Related article: Managing Environment Configurations
With revisions of configuration data items defined and released into an Altium 365 Workspace, you now have the fundamental blocks with which to define the environment configurations themselves. Environment configurations are defined from within the Team Configuration Center, accessed through the Workspace browser interface.
The interface allows for an administrator to craft one or more environment configurations, depending on the needs of the organization. Each configuration requires the definition of:
Related page: Access from within the Design Software
In order to facilitate environment configuration management and to enforce environment configurations applicable to each and every user in an organization, based on their assigned role(s), each user needs to be signed in to the Workspace from Altium Designer. This is required to:
Once a user is signed into the Workspace from Altium Designer, the configuration service determines the environment configuration to be used for that user, and changes the relevant areas of the design environment to enforce the permitted data elements of that configuration. If the user is assigned to several roles, and multiple environment configurations can apply, the user will be given the choice of which environment configuration to be applied when they sign-in. Choice is made from the Select a Configuration dialog.
If the user is also an Administrator for the Workspace, they have the option to Work as administrator. This allows them to work within Altium Designer, and with the Workspace, without any restrictions.
If no configuration is available for a user, then their working environment will simply be configured with the latest revision of all released Items that are supported by an environment configuration – as though a default configuration were being applied. If there is at least one released revision of a particular Data Item in the Workspace, then that Item Revision will be used – no local file-based entities (e.g. templates) will be available for use.
Related page: Board Design Release
When it comes time to release a board design project, the process involved ensures the highest integrity for the design data and, more importantly, the generated manufacturing data which the Supply Chain will ultimately use to turn your design labor into physical reality. As part of the release process, validation checks can be inserted to ensure, for example, that electrical and design rules are checked and are being adhered to. After all, stringent validation can pick up any missed issues that can lead to costly re-spins.
As part of this validation stage in the release process, you can also include an Environment Configuration Compliance Check. This provides a means to conclusively test and enforce the use of company-authorized data elements in a design. Simply put, if you are not using data items permitted through the environment configuration available for use by your assigned role, the release will fail. This prevents a 'loose cannon' approach to design and ensures adherence to, and compliance with, the working design environments determined centrally at the enterprise level.
To include this compliance check, add an output generator of this type from the Validation Outputs section of the OutJob file used in the configuration. Specifying the conditions of the check is performed in the Environment configuration compliance setup dialog. These conditions determine: