Parent page: Managed Projects
The Workspace provides an advanced, manufacturing-oriented CAD-centric view of the project. This management interface offers Design, Supply, Releases, and History view options:
- Design – display and navigate source project design documents, view design object properties and place review comments. This view uses the Web Viewer interface to present your design across four distinct data sub-views, to show the source schematic(s), board in 2D, board in 3D and Bill of Materials respectively. This view is for the latest version of the source project data, rather than a specified release from that project, and so could be considered to be a work-in-progress (WIP) view. You can review both the base design and any defined variant thereof.
- Supply – allows you to interactively examine work-in-progress (WIP) BOM data extracted from the design documents, including entries for Manufacturer and Supplier parts data derived from a project's populated ActiveBOM document.
- Releases – view the releases for the project. Access is provided for opening the full release data, or a specific assembly package, which will be presented on a separate tab through a Manufacturing Portal. From this portal you can view and navigate the released file data, inspect the BOM, and view and comment on the snapshot of the design itself; the source for that released data. From either the Releases view, or through the Manufacturing Portal for a specific release, you'll have access to controls for downloading manufacturing data at various levels of granularity (from full data set(s) to individual generated output files). A chosen release can also be sent – as a Manufacturing Package – directly to your manufacturer. You even have the ability to compare Gerber data between releases or against a locally-generated file set, or compare Schematic data between releases and/or commit events.
- History – browse a progressive timeline of major events relating to the project, including its creation, commits, releases, clones and MCAD exchanges. Each time a supported event happens in association with the project, that event is added to the timeline as a dedicated tile with various actions supported where applicable. For release events, you can compare Gerber data between releases or against a locally-generated file set, or compare Schematic data between releases and/or commit events.
The detailed management page for the project is opened by selecting that project, clicking the control above the listing of projects, and choosing the Open entry on the associated menu. Alternatively, double-click directly on the required project entry in the list. The page will open in a new browser tab.
Accessing the detailed management page for a project.
The following sections take a closer look at the four views into the project design and its data, presented on the detailed management page.
Related page: Web Viewer
The Design view provides interactive visual access to the project's design documents, property data for objects within those documents, and the ability to collaboratively comment on definable document locations. This view is for the latest version of the source project data, rather than a specified release from that project, and so could be considered to be a work-in-progress (WIP) view. You can review both the base design and any defined variant thereof.
The Design view utilizes Altium 365's Web Viewer functionality to provide an immersive and interactive experience for reviewing the source schematic and PCB documents in your design project. Shown here is a schematic – hover over the image to see the PCB in 3D.
Based on an advanced web graphics engine and interface – Web Viewer – you are provided with all the features needed to locate and visually inspect the design and its objects. The view also includes fully rendered 2D and 3D PCB layout views, object search, selection and cross-probe capabilities, and tree-based design document navigation. It also provides an interface to the active Comments system – which dynamically interacts with the design space – and a comprehensive properties listing for any selected design object.
Support is provided for downloading a Zip archive containing a snapshot of the WIP design project (base design), as well as the ability to generate and download the following derived outputs, taking setup information directly from the applicable Output Job file (where one exists):
- A Zip archive containing Gerber and NC Drill files (generated for the base design only).
- Either a PDF of the full Draftsman-sourced documentation, which requires the Draftsman document to be present in the project (generated for the base design only – not for variants), or a PDF of just the Assembly drawings (generated for the active variant).
- A PDF of the schematic documents (generated for the active variant).
- A Zip archive containing the PCB in STEP format (generated for the active variant).
- A CSV-format BOM (generated for the active variant).
The Supply view allows you to interactively examine work-in-progress (WIP) BOM data extracted from the design documents. The main grid lists all unique BOM parts () in terms of the following information:
- Item ID
Select a BOM part entry to view its symbol, footprint and associated properties in the right-hand pane.
The Supply view enables you to examine the BOM data for the latest version of the source (WIP) project data.
When an ActiveBOM document (*.BomDoc) is part of the design project, each BOM part entry () will include the primary Manufacturer part () and Supplier part () information in a hierarchical view – select an entry to see further details in the side pane.
The Supply view contains hierarchical manufacturer and supplier part data, extracted when an ActiveBOM document is present in the design project. Shown here is the associated information for the selected manufacturer part. Hover over the image to see the information for the selected supplier part.
When the design uses managed components, an indicator is used (to the left of the component designator entry) to reflect the revision status of that component:
– Current (the latest revision of the component is being used).
– Historical (a previous revision of the component, and not the latest, is being used).
The Releases view presents all project release packages that have been generated from the design space (see Releasing a Project), where each package incorporates the released Source, Fabrication and Assembly data.
The Releases view gives you access to the released data packages, with the ability to open a package for closer inspection through a dedicated Manufacturing Portal, and also to send a release to your manufacturer as a Manufacturing Package.
From this view you can:
- Download any and all of the data sets included in a release. Click the button associated to the release to access a window in which to define which of that release's data sets to download. After clicking the button a single Zip archive containing a folder for each included data set will be downloaded to your browser's default downloads folder.
- Open a release, which will be presented on a separate tab through a Manufacturing Portal. From this portal you can view and navigate the released file data, inspect the BOM, and view and comment on the snapshot of the design itself; the source for that released data. You'll also have access to controls for downloading manufacturing data at various levels of granularity (from full data set(s) to individual generated output file(s)).
- Send a chosen release – as a Manufacturing Package – directly to your manufacturer.
- Compare fabrication or schematic data (Gerber Comparison and Schematic Comparison, respectively), and download the BOM data as a ZIP file.
- Change the lifecycle state for any of the data sets in a release.
- Toggle the display of releases that contain one or more data sets in an inapplicable revision state (using the Show hidden releases control).
The following sections take a closer look at these various features and functionality in closer detail.
Browsing a Release Package
To open the full release package for viewing, click on its associated button. Alternatively, click the button and choose what to view – either the full release package (Full Release) or a specific assembly (variant). An opened release package is presented in a new Manufacturing Portal browser tab.
Accessing the dedicated Manufacturing Portal tab, with which to more closely inspect a specific release of a managed project.
The Manufacturing Portal presents data for the release package across the following views:
The Design Snapshot view applies the Web Viewer interface to provide interactive visual access to the design documents, property data for objects within those documents, and the ability to collaboratively comment on definable document locations. Standard review features include layer visibility selection and comment markup, as well as the ability to search, select, and inspect components and nets. You can even take measurements. Remember that you are not viewing the latest version of the source design data but rather the snapshot of it, at the time when the design was released to create this specific release package.
In any of the three views:
- Click the button at the top-right of the view to access controls for changing the lifecycle state of the data sets contained in the release, and also the Gerber comparison and Schematic comparison features.
- Click the button to send the release of the project to your manufacturer – as a Manufacturing Package. The Sending to Manufacturer window will be presented in which to configure the content of the package, and to whom it will be sent. For more detail, see the next section.
Sending Data to Your Manufacturer
While you can download manufacturing data for a particular release of a managed project, then pass that over to your manufacturer, wouldn't it be great if you could share that package directly with the manufacturer, in a way that was far more collaborative and interactive? This is exactly what you can do, and is one of the powerful, enticing aspects of the Altium 365 infrastructure platform. You can nominate which release of a project to send, configure its data content and then send that package – then referred to as a Manufacturing Package – to the required manufacturer. In essence, the package is shared with that manufacturer, who then receives an email invite to view the package directly through the Altium 365 Platform Interface (https://365.altium.com), courtesy of a dedicated Manufacturing Package Viewer.
From within the Releases view of the detailed management page for the project, you can send a specific release of the project to your manufacturer – as a Manufacturing Package – by clicking the button associated with that release's entry.
The Sending to Manufacturer window will be presented in which to configure the content of the package, and to whom it will be sent.
You can send (share) a specific release of a project directly with your manufacturer.
A manufacturing package is defined by configuring the following:
- Data – you need to define the content of the manufacturing package, the release data included in it. By default, the fabrication and assembly data sets will be added to the package already. To configure the package further, click the Configure control. In the subsequent pop-up window, enable the data sets that you want included (source design snapshot, fabrication and assembly data sets). To quickly enable all data sets for inclusion, enable the entry at the top of the listing.
You need to define which sets of data are to be included in the manufacturing package.
After enabling the data sets as required click the button. Entries for those data sets will appear at the top of the Sending to Manufacturer window.
- Package Name – this will initially be that of the PCB Assembly itself. You can modify this as required.
- Revision – this field provides a simple string-based attribute that can be used to differentiate various manufacturing packages created from the same release. Initially this will be prefilled with '1', but you can enter what you need here. Be aware that this field is not auto-incremented in any way.
- Description – enter a description of what the package gives. This can help the manufacturer understand what it is they are getting in the package.
- Manufacturer Email – use this field to enter the email of your manufacturer (clicking away from the field, or pressing Enter to add that email). Typically you might have a single manufacturing point of contact, who will run with the data supplied in the package to get your board fabricated and then assembled. However, you can add as many unique email addresses as required. To remove an added email click the cross at its right.
With the package defined, click the button. The package will be shared with you (as the author of the package) and the specified manufacturer(s) and an entry for it will appear in the Sent region of the Releases view. The package will be named in the format Name.Revision.
After sending a manufacturing package an entry will appear for it back in the Releases view, in the Sent region.
Click the control at the top-right of a sent manufacturing package tile to access the following commands:
- Open – use this command to open the package within Altium 365's Manufacturing Package Viewer. The Viewer opens in its own browser tab and provides a summary overview of the design, with key board data, along with the ability to browse the structure of the shared data (and to download any individual file thereof as needed). You can also download the full package from this view. Fabrication, Assembly and Bill of Materials data sub-pages of the viewer are also provided, with the Fabrication and Assembly views utilizing the Web Viewer interface, providing a powerful interactive experience and allowing for comments to be added by all users to which the package has been shared. The Fabrication view presents the Gerber data for the release.
- Share – access a window with which to share the package with others, by email invite. Controls, accessed by clicking the Advanced Settings control in the Sharing window, allow you to determine whether the person you share the package with can share with others or not, and whether they are allowed to download the package or any derived data thereof.
- Download – use this command to download the package as a Zip archive.
- Delete – use this command to delete the manufacturing package, moving it to the isolated Trash area of the Workspace. Click the button in the confirmation pop-up to effect the deletion. This is a 'soft delete', the package can be restored or permanently deleted from the Trash area by the creator of the package, or an administrator of the Workspace.
Manufacturer Access to the Package
The manufacturer to whom you sent the package will receive an email invite to access that package through Altium 365. Once they click the button in the email they will be taken to the Altium 365 Sign In page (unless already signed in to the platform, or AltiumLive). Upon signing in, they will be taken to the Manufacturing Package Viewer, with the shared package loaded.
Accessing the shared manufacturing package from the email invite that is received by the manufacturer.
Any manufacturing package that has been sent will also be available from the Shared with Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface. A manufacturing package is denoted by the icon within its tile.
Example manufacturing package readily available from a users' Shared with Me page, once they are signed in to the Altium 365 Platform Interface.
Making a final check of your fabricated board data prior to sending out to the manufacturer is always a good thing. The Gerber comparison feature facilitates just that, with the ability to quickly check to ensure no differences in your fabrication output between released iterations of your design project. It provides a purely graphical, layer-by-layer comparison, highlighting areas with changes using a bounding box and a number.
The Gerber comparison feature can be accessed by:
- Clicking the button associated with a specific release of a project in the Releases view of the detailed management page for that project. Choose the Gerber to option and which other release's fabrication data to compare against, or compare against an uploaded file set.
- Clicking the button at the top-right of the Manufacturing Portal tab, when viewing a specific release package for a design project. Choose the Gerber to option and which other release's fabrication data to compare against, or compare against an uploaded file set.
- Clicking the control at the top-right of a Project Released event tile in the History view of the detailed management page for the project, and choosing the Gerber to option. Compare against the previous release's fabrication data, select from all possible releases, or compare against an uploaded file set.
Comparing with a File Set
You have the ability to compare the Gerber data in a release package against an uploaded Gerber file set. This enables you to compare against, for example, Gerber data that has been generated locally from the latest live design, prior to making the next formal release of the project to your Workspace.
As mentioned previously in the Access section, this comparison is performed by choosing the Gerber to » Files entry in the applicable menu. The Compare Gerber window will appear. Either click on an existing zip of Gerber files, or upload a fresh set.
The Gerber Comparison feature supports the comparison of data in a release package against a locally generated file set.
With the existing Gerber file set chosen, or uploaded, the result of the comparison will be presented momentarily – see the next section.
Once the comparison release or uploaded file set has been chosen, the results of the comparison are presented in the Gerber Compare view, which opens in a separate browser tab.
Example comparison of the generated Gerber data between a release package and a locally-generated (and uploaded) file set.
By default, the Compare tab of the view is presented, to instantly view the differences between the two sets of Gerber data. Color coding is used to distinguish the older Gerber data (Red) from the new Gerber data (Green). Switch to view the Gerber data for either of the compared sets as required – the view switches to standard Gerber viewing mode, keeping the location and zoom level the same.
Each detected difference is numbered and outlined. Click on an entry in the left-hand pane to focus on that specific difference in the main viewing area.
Browsing controls for the main viewing area are as follows:
- Mouse wheel forward/backward to zoom in/out.
- Click & hold (or right-click & hold), then drag to pan document.
Along with the comparison of Gerber data (see above), the project view also provides the ability to compare project schematic documents in a simple interactive interface. This offers a quick and convenient way to see only what changes have occurred between schematic iterations.
The Schematic Comparison feature presents differences graphically and as parametric data, which are listed in an associated Compare pane that allows cross-probing to the related schematic object(s). A comparison can be invoked between project Releases, project Commits, or between project Commits and Releases (available from the History view).
The Schematic comparison feature can be accessed by:
- Choosing the Schematic to option from the button menu in the Releases view, and then which other release's design source data to compare against. Or by choosing the same option in the Manufacturing Portal tab when viewing a specific project release package, and then which other release's source data to compare against.
Open the Schematic Compare feature from the ellipsis menu in the Releases or Manufacturing Portal view.
- Choosing the Schematic to option from the control at the top-right of a Commit or Release event tile in the History view, and then another Commit/Release event to compare against. Schematic data from the last release can be selected (Previous Release), or the data from any Commit/Release event by choosing the Select Commit or Release option – select the target comparison event by clicking on its tile.
Open Schematic Compare from the History view in Altium Designer or the Altium 365 browser interface.
When the comparison Commit/Release pair has been selected, the results of that comparison are opened as the Schematic differences view in a new browser tab. The first schematic in the source documents is presented by default, and the logical differences found (changed Component and Net data) for all schematics presented as a selectable list in the associated Compare pane. Note that purely graphical changes, such as a moved component, are not included at this time.
Select an item in the Compare list to expose its parametric information and cross-probe to its symbol in the associated schematic document.
Select a listed element in the Compare pane to expose any available change details and cross probe to its schematic graphic. Each element in the list has an associated icon indicating its general change status – red: removed, green: added, yellow/orange: modified. The same coding is used in the cross-probed schematic graphics.
The pane's differences list is grouped by Components and Nets:
- Components – Each entry includes the names of affected components, and when selected, expands a list of any changed component parameters (highlighted in red) and unchanged parameters (green). Select the RefDes of a component included in the entry (highlighted in blue) to cross probe to its schematic graphic.
- Nets – Each entry includes the names of any components affected by a net modification, or conversely, the name of components that caused a net modification. Select a Net entry in the pane to cross probe to the entire net on the active schematic, or a RefDes included in the entry to focus on that net component.
Select a Component or Net entry in the Compare pane to cross-probe to its highlighted graphic representation in the schematic document.
A icon associated with a Net entry in the Compare pane indicates the presence of that net in other schematic documents. Select the icon to access a drop-down list of those schematic documents, where each document affected by the net change is indicated by yellow highlighting. Choose a schematic document from the menu to cross probe to the net on that schematic, which is highlighted accordingly.
The entry for a modified Net includes a link to other schematic documents that also include the Net.
The project view also provides a quick BOM Comparison feature to detect and show any design component data changes that have occurred between release iterations. The differences are reported in text (CSV) form and made available as a local download.
The BOM Comparison feature can be accessed by:
- Choosing the BOM to option from the button menu in the Releases view, and then which other release's data to compare against. Or by choosing the same option in the Manufacturing Portal tab when viewing a specific project release package, and then which other release's data to compare against.
Open the BOM Compare feature from the ellipsis menu in the Releases or Manufacturing Portal view.
- Choosing the BOM to option from the control at the top-right of a Release event tile in the History view, and then another Release event to compare against. BOM data from the previous or release can be selected (Previous Release), or the data from any Release event by choosing the Select Release option – select the target comparison event by clicking on its tile.
Open Schematic Compare from the History view in Altium Designer or the Altium 365 browser interface.
The system will compare the BOM data between the specified project releases and generate a summary of any updates in a standard CSV format. BOM comparison summaries are generated for all available Variants of the design, which are then packaged in a ZIP archive file for downloading. The included CSV file(s) show details of BOM data that has changed – been updated – between the specified project releases.
The downloaded BOM comparison CSV files show data that has been updated between the project releases specified when invoking the compare feature.
Changing Lifecycle State
For a release of a project you can change the lifecycle state for each of the data sets (items released to the Workspace) in that release, directly from within the Releases view. This is performed from the Change Lifecycle State window, accessed by clicking the button associated with the release and choosing Change Lifecycle State from the menu.
Change the lifecycle state for the data sets within a release package, directly from within the Releases view.
Each data set is listed by name, along with its current lifecycle state and the next. Click within the Next State cell to access a list of possible states, in accordance with the lifecycle definition employed for that item. To exclude a data set from the list – so that its state will not be changed – click the control at the far right.
All possible transition states will be presented in the drop-down listing for the Next State cell. These are based on the Current State (two examples shown here) and are defined as part of the parent lifecycle definition.
After configuring the state changes as required, click . The lifecycle state information for each affected data set will be updated for that release, back in the main Releases view.
Example of having changed the lifecycle state twice for all data sets in a release – taking them from New From Design, through In Prototype, and ultimately to In Production.
Hiding Inapplicable Releases
The Releases view provides the ability to toggle the display of releases that are considered to be no longer 'for consumption'. This allows you to hide away any release package that contains one or more data sets in an inapplicable lifecycle state (e.g. Deprecated, Obsolete, Abandoned). This is determined by the applied Lifecycle definition itself, which can set those states as not to be used in designs.
The process to do this is as follows:
- Consider the following image showing two releases for a project, both of which have their constituent data sets sitting in the In Production state. The earlier release is considered to be obsolete (not to be used) and should be hidden – leaving just the latest release displayed.
A subsequent release of a design has gone into production, and the earlier release should be made obsolete and hidden from the Releases view.
- The visibility of a release in the list is based on whether a data item, when it enters a particular lifecycle state, is permitted to be used in a design. In the applicable Lifecycle definition (Admin – Lifecycle Definitions) this is controlled by the state property Allowed to be used in designs. With this property disabled a release will be hidden, by default, when one of its data items enters that lifecycle state. In this example, we just need to check that the Obsolete state within the lifecycle definition that applies to released design items, has this property disabled – double-click on the state's graphic to open its State Properties window.
Checking that the Obsolete state has its Allowed to be used in designs property disabled – the key to being able to hide releases back in the Releases view.
- Now we just need to change the lifecycle state for the data items in the earlier release – setting them to be in the Obsolete state. This is achieved using the Change Lifecycle State window (click the button associated with the release and choose Change Lifecycle State from the menu), as described in the previous section. In this way, a design release that is obsolete and should not be used is unavailable to users.
Upon changing its data items to a lifecycle state that is not permitted for use, the release is hidden from the Releases view.
- Use the Show hidden releases control at the top-right of the Releases view to toggle the display of these hidden releases.
Use the Show hidden releases control to reveal/hide those releases that are not for consumption. Shown here is the default state of the control, showing only applicable releases – hover over the image to see the control enabled and the inapplicable release also shown.
Related page: Project History
The History view provides a progressive timeline of major events relating to the project – its creation, commits, releases, clones and MCAD exchanges – with various actions supported where applicable.
The History view presents a timeline of basic events that have occurred during the project's evolution.
The view can essentially be broken down into three key sections:
- Main trunk of the timeline. The direction of event chronology is from the bottom up. The first event – the creation of the project – will appear at the bottom of the timeline. Subsequent events appear above, with the latest (the most current event) appearing at the top of the timeline.
- Events. Each time a supported event happens in association with the project, that event is added to the timeline as a dedicated tile. Each type of event will have a different colored tile and will either be linked directly to the main trunk of the timeline, or have some additional icon next to it (as is the case for MCAD Exchange events). For Commit events design diffing is supported, showing basic information on what has changed between the current and previous commits (including files, components, nets, PCB structure, variants). For the following two event types, additional operations are accessible from the event tile:
- Commit event – ability to create a clone of the project using that version of the design, and also the ability to download a snapshot of that version of the design.
- Release event – the ability to open that release package for viewing through a manufacturing portal and the ability to download either the full release package or the snapshot of the version of the design that was used to create that release package. You can also access the Gerber comparison and Schematic comparison features. Use the associated sub-menu to compare the Gerber data of the release with that of the previous release, select from all releases that have been made for the project, or compare with a chosen locally-generated (and uploaded) file set.
- Search. Click the control at the top-right of the view to access a search field that facilitates basic searching of the project history. As you type your search string, filtering will be applied to the timeline to present only the events relevant to that search.