Altium Designer Documentation

Accessing a Server from Altium Designer

Modified by Jason Howie on Aug 27, 2019

Parent page: Working with a Managed Content Server

When working with Altium Designer, the following types of managed content server can be used:

While you can continue to use your existing Altium NEXUS Server with Altium Designer, bear in mind that the Altium NEXUS Server, as a standalone product, is no longer developed. Altium NEXUS Server 1.1 was the last release, beyond which only maintenance updates would be made. To ensure you have access to the latest features and functionality, you are encouraged to switch to using Altium Concord Pro. Alternatively, should you require an agile solution for managed flows and enterprise integrations, switch to Altium NEXUS. Altium NEXUS is a turnkey solution for structured, workflow-driven PCB design by teams. It includes the capability for design, component data management, design data management, workflow authoring, process management, and more. As a complete or turnkey solution, It is comprised of configurable off-the-shelf modules and deployed with assistance from Altium professionals.

While interaction with the server can be made from various areas, there are two main places:

From a purely component management perspective, much of the day-to-day interaction with your server will be performed from within Altium Designer, through the Components panel.

This page takes a look at accessing your managed content server from within Altium Designer.

Signing in to Your Server - First Time

Sign in to your managed content server from within Altium Designer by clicking the Current User control, at the top-right of the main application window (e.g. ). This will be the user that is currently signed into AltiumLive through this instance of Altium Designer. In the subsequent menu choose the Custom command, in the CONNECT TO grouping. The Sign in dialog will appear, with which to sign in to the target server. Enter the URL for the server, and your server access credentials, then click the  button.

It can be a good idea to enable the Sign in automatically option, so that the entered URL and access credentials are stored, and you don't have to repeatedly enter them to access the server when starting Altium Designer.

Signing in to your managed content server from within Altium Designer.

You can also access your server for the first time from the Create Project dialog, when you are wanting to create a new managed project. Select the server-based location on the left-hand side of the dialog, then click the  button on the right-hand side, to access the Sign in dialog.
The server's URL (Server Address) will be in the format http://<ComputerName>:<PortNumber> (e.g. http://impala:9780 for a server installed using the default port assignment). If the server is being accessed from an instance of Altium Designer that is running on the same computer on which the server is installed, you may also use http://localhost:9780. If you want to sign in using your Windows login credentials - taking advantage of the server's support for Windows Authentication - enable the Use Windows Session credentials option.

Altium Concord Pro relies on a number of Microsoft runtime components for successful operation and access, in some situations these may not be present on the target machine. If you receive an error message about a missing library (DLL) when you attempt to sign into Altium Concord Pro, it indicates that there are missing Microsoft runtime components.

Use this link to download and install these missing components: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=29

Connecting to Your Server - When Already Known

If you have previously connected to your managed content server from within the same instance of Altium Designer, it will become a Known Server. If this is the case, you can sign in to that server from within Altium Designer in a more streamlined fashion.

Click the Current User control, at the top-right of the main application window (e.g. ). This will be the user that is currently signed into AltiumLive through this instance of Altium Designer. In the subsequent menu choose the entry for your server, in the CONNECT TO grouping. If you enabled the Sign in automatically option when accessing that server previously, you will be signed in straight away. If this option was not enabled, the Sign in dialog will appear, with which to sign in to the server. Enter the URL for the server, and your server access credentials, then click the  button.

Signing in to your managed content server from within Altium
Designer, when that server is already known.

Note that when the Sign in automatically option is enabled, you will be signed in to the server as the user that last signed in through the Sign in dialog. If you need to sign in as a different user, you can simply use the Custom command in the menu.
You can also access your 'known' server from the Create Project dialog, when you are wanting to create a new managed project. Select the server-based location on the left-hand side of the dialog, then click the button relevant to that server on the right-hand side. Again, if you need to sign in as a different user, you can simply click the  button to access the Sign in dialog.

Checking Sign-in Status

You can check whether you are currently signed in to your managed content server from the following places:

  • The menu associated to the Current User control, at the top-right of the main application window. When actively signed into a server, a CONNECTED TO section will be presented on the menu, showing the name of the server and its URL. Clicking the entry provides access to browse the content of that server through the Explorer panel.

Verification of being signed in to your managed content server.

The Current User control itself reflects the user that is currently signed in to the active server (e.g. ).
  • The Data Management - Servers page of the Preferences dialog. When signed in to the server, that server will be presented as the Active Server, reflecting that you are both connected to that server (On) and that it is Active (you are actively signed in to it rather than just connected). Remember that while it is possible to have connections to different servers (these are listed as Known Servers), you can only be actively signed in to one managed content server through the software at a time.

Once signed in to the target server, it will become the Active Server, as can be seen here.

  • The Explorer panel. When signed in, the relevant server will be available from the menu associated with clicking on the name of the server currently being browsed.
Note that all connected servers will be listed, but only one will be active - the one that you are currently signed in to - and is distinguished by the  icon.

Browsing the Active Server through the Explorer panel in Altium Designer.

Switching Servers

If you have previously connected to different managed content servers from within the same instance of Altium Designer, those servers will be Known Servers. In this case, you can quickly switch between servers.

Click the Current User control, at the top-right of the main application window (e.g. ). This will reflect the user that is currently signed in to the active server. In the subsequent menu choose the entry for the server you wish to switch to, in the SWITCH TO grouping. If you enabled the Sign in automatically option when accessing that server previously, you will be signed in straight away. If this option was not enabled, the Sign in dialog will appear, with which to sign in to the server. Enter the URL for the server, and your server access credentials, then click the  button.

When other servers are already known to the same instance of
Altium Designer, you can quickly switch between them.

Note that when the Sign in automatically option is enabled, you will be signed in to the server as the user that last signed in through the Sign in dialog. If you need to sign in as a different user, you can simply use the Custom command in the menu.

Managing Your Servers

Management of the connections to servers is performed from the Data Management - Servers page of the Preferences dialog. The Servers region of the page is broken down into two areas:

  • Active - presenting the active server to which you are currently connected AND signed in.
  • Known Servers - lists all servers that you are connected to (or have connected to in the past) from that instance of Altium Designer.

Server management is performed through your software preferences.

Typically, you would access one server for your organization. You can however connect to other servers, for example if your organization does have multiple Altium Concord Pro instances, or if you still had some legacy server technology (e.g. Altium NEXUS Server, Altium Personal Vault). Only one server can be active at any given time. To make another server active, you would need to sign out from one, and sign in to the other, or switch to the other server (when it is already a known server).

For an Altium Personal Vault, you are connecting, not signing in - so the Altium Designer GUI will not show you as being signed in to any server after successful connection to such a vault.

In addition, you can connect to the Altium Content Vault - Altium's very own cloud-based managed content server, offering design collateral (including board templates, vendor-specific families of components, as well as generic components including capacitors and resistors). You can even setup the software to automatically connect to this server by enabling the Automatically connect Altium Content Vault option (at the bottom of the Known Servers list).

From Altium Designer, you can still sign in to a legacy Altium NEXUS Server, or connect to a legacy Altium Personal Vault:

  • Altium NEXUS Server - sign out of your active server, then use the Sign in dialog (click Custom entry in the menu associated to the Current User control) to sign in to the Altium NEXUS Server. Alternatively, if it is a known server for your instance of Altium Designer, use the available entry in the menu associated to the Current User control to either connect to, or switch to that server.
  • Altium Personal Vault - sign out of your active server, then use the Sign in dialog (click Custom entry in the menu associated to the Current User control) to connect to the Personal Vault. Remember that for a Personal Vault, you are connecting, not signing in - so the Altium Designer GUI will not show you as being signed in to any server after successful connection to such a vault. You can then sign back in to the Server that was active previously, while continuing to enjoy connection to your Personal Vault.
If you have a previous flavor of Vault running on the same PC, ensure that the communication ports are unique. Altium Concord Pro uses the default port 9780, while an Altium Personal Vault uses the default port 9680.
While legacy server/vault technologies can still be connected to, and used, there is no further development to these types of server/vault. You will therefore not enjoy the current enhancements found in, and future improvements gained by, using Altium Concord Pro.

Server Properties

Click the Properties control associated with a server to access commands for various aspects of server management. The following is the full list of commands, when accessed for the active server:

  • Server - use this command to access the server's browser interface in your default Web Browser.
  • Lifecycles - use this command to access the Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog, with which to manage the defined lifecycles for the server.
  • Naming Schemas - use this command to access the Edit Revision Naming Schemes dialog, with which to manage the defined revision naming schemes for the server.
  • Operations - use this command to access the Edit Operation Permissions dialog, with which to define and manage global operation permissions for the server.
  • Connection - use this command to access the Connection Properties dialog, with which to configure your connection to the server.
Properties cannot be changed for the Altium Content Vault, nor for a legacy Personal Vault. For another Altium Concord Pro instance (or legacy Altium NEXUS Server) to which you have a connection (connected or disconnected), you will only have access to the Server and Connection commands.

Signing into a Server from Different Computers

Support is provided for signing into your managed content server using the same credentials, but from different computers (other than the computer on which the server is installed). If you attempt to sign in to a server that you are already signed into from another computer - either through Altium Designer, or the server's browser-based interface - a pop-up dialog will alert you to this. You can choose from two options offered in the dialog:

  • Terminate existing session - close the existing session that you have on the other computer, and continue to login to the server from the current computer.
  • Start new session - login to the server from the current computer by using an additional connection license, and thereby keep logged into the server from the other computer as well.
The same user can be accessing the managed content server concurrently in different ways (e.g. connected through Altium Designer AND signed-in through an external Web Browser) and it only counts as a single connection from the licensing perspective, when access is made from the same PC. If the same user accesses that managed content server from different PCs, each different PC access will require a separate connection (so extra seat of a Client Access License). You will therefore only be able to login from the current computer as well, provided you have enough server Connector licenses (CAL) remaining.

Signing Out from Your Server

You can sign out from your managed content server from within Altium Designer, in the following ways:

  • By clicking the Current User control, at the top-right of the main application window (e.g. ), then clicking the sign out control () at the top-right of the CONNECTED TO section of the associated menu.

Your access to the server will also be terminated when you exit Altium Designer. In addition, and for an Administrator of your server, there is the provision to kill a session from the Users - Sessions page of the server's browser interface. This can be used to terminate an existing session, and thereby free up a connection to that server.

Working in the Server

Related page: Working with the Explorer Panel - Feature How-Tos

Once you are signed-in to your managed content server, you can access and create content. The primary interface to the server from Altium Designer is the Explorer panel.

From a purely component management perspective, much of the day-to-day interaction with your server will be performed from within Altium Designer, through the Components panel.

To display the Explorer panel:

  • Click the  button at the bottom-right of Altium Designer, and select Explorer from the menu that appears.
  • Click the Current User control, at the top-right of the main application window (e.g. ), then click on the entry for the active server in the CONNECTED TO section of the associated menu.

  • Choose View » Panels » Explorer from the main menus.
Click the text at the top-left of the panel (the name of the server currently being browsed) to display a menu listing all currently connected servers. The active server- the one to which you are currently signed in - is distinguished by the  icon.

When you are working in Altium Designer, you access full server content through the Explorer panel. For component management only, you'll tend to use the Components panel.

 

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