Altium Concord Pro provides an elegant solution to the need for a historical overview of project activity in the form of a dedicated, interactive History view. Accessible through the Concord Pro's browser interface or from within Altium Designer, the project History view provides a progressive timeline of major events relating to the project. The events include the project's creation, commits, releases, clones and MCAD exchanges, which in turn will offer event action commands where applicable.
Accessing the Project History
Access to the History view for a project is gained from the detailed CAD-centric management page for that project – the Projects Management page. Click the History option in the left-hand pane.
The Projects Management page itself is opened from the main Projects page by double-clicking on a project entry, by clicking on its title, or by choosing the Open option from the menu. For more information see Management of a Specific Project.
Access the history for a project from that project's detailed management page.
The project History view generated by Concord Pro is also available in Altium Designer. To load the view in Altium Designer, select the History option from the project name right-click context menu in the Projects panel.
Note that the available History event actions on the Altium Designer side differ from those on the Concord Pro side. Specifically, on the Altium Designer side you are able to revert the project to a previously Committed snapshot (Revert to) and also open a Release in the editing environment (Open Snapshot).
The History view presents a timeline of basic events that have occurred during the project's evolution. It can essentially be broken down into three key elements, as shown in the following image and information.
Identifying the three key components of the History view.
Main trunk of the timeline. 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 (see below) occurs in association with the project, it 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 an association icon next to it (as is the case for MCAD Exchange events; ).
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. For more information, see Filtered Searching.
The timeline shows a progression of events that happen during the life of a project. Each of these events appears along the timeline as a dedicated 'event tile'. The following sections take a look at the range of events currently supported and presentable as part of a project's historical timeline.
When a project is created, the Project Created event tile will be added to the timeline. This event marks the beginning of the historical timeline for the project. As such, it can always be found as the entry at the bottom of the timeline. The tile for this event can appear in two distinct variations:
When the project is newly created within the server. The creator of the project is presented by name (and picture/symbol), along with the time of the project's creation. The description for the project, if one was entered at the time of creation, is also displayed within the tile.
When the project is a clone of an existing project. The person who created the cloned project is presented by name (and picture/symbol), along with the time of the project's creation. The description for the project,i f one was entered at the time of cloning, is also displayed within the tile. A link is provided to the original source project – clicking this will access the detailed management page for that project, which opens on a separate tab of the browser.
The Project Created event tile is physically connected to the main trunk of the timeline with a solid blue connection line and node:
Each time you perform a Commit & Push of the project to Concord Pro (where the project is managed under the server's internal Versioned Storage Git repository), a Project Committed event (revision) tile will be added to the timeline. The person who performed the commit and push is presented by name and picture/icon, along with the date and time. If a comment was added at the time of the commit and push – through the Commit to Version Control dialog – then that will also be displayed within the tile.
If the project was a local, unmanaged project that was subsequently made available online, then the description that was entered in the Make Available Online dialog will be used in both the Project Created event tile and the initial Project Committed event tile, since the commit and push of the project is performed as part of making the project available online – provided of course that the dialog's option to Enable Formal Version Control was enabled.
Example initial Project Committed event tile.
The tile also supports and presents design diffing information, showing more detailed information on what has changed between the current and previous commits. Elements supported include files, components, nets, variants, and PCB structure. The diffing section of the tile summarizes the various elements affected by the commit event, grouped by the following states:
– element added.
– element removed.
– element modified.
Clicking on the control in the tile will expand this diffing section to present the affected elements by name.
Use the available Show More and Show Less controls to interrogate the full listing for each element type. Click on the control in the tile to return to the summary display.
Click the control at the tile's top-right corner to access a menu with the following commands:
Clone – use this command to create a clone from that specific revision (commit) of the project. The Clone Project window will appear with which to determine the project Name, Description, and under the Advanced options, the target Server Folder and Repository. Note that the window's banner text reflects from which revision of the project the clone is being created. With the information defined as required, click the button. The project will be created and a Project Cloned event tile will be added to the timeline.
You can make a clone from any specific revision of the active project – directly from the corresponding Project Committed event tile for that revision.
Download Snapshot – use this command to download the project source for that specific revision of the project, in a Zip archive. The name of the Zip file and the PCB project file will include the date and time (in UTC time) at which that revision of the project was committed and pushed to the server.
A Project Committed event tile is physically connected to the main trunk of the timeline with a solid blue connection line and node: . The latest revision of the project (i.e. the last commit) is distinguished by having a white fill for its node: .
Each time you perform a release of the project – using Altium Designer's Project Releaser – a Project Released event tile will be added to the timeline. The person who performed the release is presented by name (and icon/picture), along with the date and time. If a release note was added at the time of releasing the generated data to Concord Pro – through the Confirm Release dialog – then that will also be displayed within the tile. Each of the data sets included in the release will also be listed.
Example Project Released event tile.
Click the control at the tile's top-right corner to access a menu with the following commands:
View – opens a dedicated manufacturing portal (on a separate browser tab) with which to more closely inspect the released data. 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)). A chosen release can also be sent – as a Manufacturing Package – directly to your manufacturer. For more information, see browsing a Release Package in the Manufacturing Portal.
Accessing the dedicated Manufacturing Portal tab, with which to more closely inspect the release of the project.
BOM to – provides a convenient way to quickly determine Bill of Materials (BoM) changes that have occurred between project releases. The data comparison feature detects differences in raw BOM data between specified project releases, and is also accessible from the Releases view. The comparison results are provided through a CSV file download.
Download – allows you to choose, through a subsequent window, which of the data sets in the release package to download. With choices made, click the button. A single Zip archive will be downloaded, containing folders for each of the chosen data sets.
Download Snapshot – allows you to download the snapshot of the version of the design that was used to create that release package, as a Zip archive.
As a release of a project is a very significant event, the Project Released event tile is made more prominent – rather than just a 'connected' event, it straddles the timeline as a 'major' event.
Each time you clone the project – either through Concord Pro's browser interface, or from within Altium Designer – a Project Cloned event tile will be added to the timeline. The person who performed the clone is presented by name (and picture), along with the date and time. A generated description is added to the tile at the time of cloning, which can be overridden by entering a new description A link is provided to the cloned project – clicking this will access the detailed management page for that project, which opens on a separate tab of the browser.
Example Project Cloned event tile.
The main Clone commands are available from the menu options in the Projects page of Concord Pro's browser interface, or from the History view by choosing the Clone option from the menu within a Project Committed event tile. The latter option will clone that specific revision of a project rather than the latest (Head) revision of the project.
From within Altium Designer, right-click on the project entry in the Projects panel and choose the Clone option, or in the Explorer panel choose the Clone option from the menu when viewing a project.
The Project Cloned event tile is physically associated (but not connected) to the main trunk of the timeline with a dotted green connection line and an unfilled node.
When working between the electronic and mechanical design domains, Concord Pro acts as the bridge between the two – facilitating direct ECAD-MCAD codesign. Whenever changes are made to the project's PCB design and those changes are pushed to the server through the relevant CoDesigner panel, an MCAD Changes Suggested event tile will be added to the timeline. The person who performed the push is presented by name (and picture), along with the date and time. If a message was posted at the time of pushing – through the MCAD CoDesigner panel (Altium Designer), or Altium CoDesigner panel (in the supported MCAD software) – then that will also be displayed within the tile.
Only Push events are currently supported.
When the MCAD engineer makes changes to the PCB in their supported MCAD software and pushes them back to Concord Pro, the corresponding push event will be available on the project's history timeline after pulling the changes from the server into Altium Designer.
Example showing a MCAD-related event, representing a push event from the MCAD side.
The MCAD Changes Suggested event tile is not physically connected to the main trunk of the timeline. Instead, a directional arrow symbol is used, which points towards the trunk.
Click the control at the top-right of the view to access a search field with which to quickly find events of interest along the timeline. The search facility supports basic searching of the project history, with dynamic filtering applied as you type your search string – leaving only the events relevant to that search displayed on the page. The matching text within an event tile is highlighted.
The search facility is not case-sensitive.
Example search of a project's history. The timeline is dynamically filtered as you type your (case insensitive) search term, with matching entries highlighted within each relevant event tile.
A box is provided above the filtered selection that summarizes how many events are currently being shown, along with controls to quickly remove the filter/search string.
The search facility works with the following information:
Event tile title.
Person's name who performed the event.
Descriptive text (the text sourced from a comment/note/description when the relevant event occurred).
Diffing data text – in a Project Committed event tile.
Data set name – in a Project Released event tile.
Project name – in a Project Cloned event tile and Project Created event tile (when created through cloning).
To clear the current filtering and return to the full timeline, clear the search field – either by selecting the current text and pressing the Backspace key, or by clicking the control at the far right of the field. Alternatively, click on the Clear Filter control in the box summarizing how many events are being shown (at the top of the view).
Updating with New Events
Whenever a supported event happens in relation to the project, that event will be detected and made available to the History view automatically. Notification will appear at the bottom of the view shortly after the event takes place – click the control to update the timeline with the new event.
A manual refresh is also provided, performed by clicking the control at the top-right of the view.