Altium Designer, in conjunction with the Workspace, brings support for Managed Projects. Managed projects target the development stage of the project lifecycle, simplifying the creation and ongoing workflow for version controlled projects. Centralized storage under the control of the Workspace also enables this feature to be a foundation for other collaborative services.
Some key benefits to using managed projects are:
Simplified storage. No need to make decisions about storage locations. Backup and other basic services are taken care of.
Foundation for collaborative features.
Enforced version control.
Beneficiary of a dedicated commenting system.
Notifications and status. Document status including local modifications is visible to entire design teams.
Concurrent PCB design works without any complex setup.
Technically a managed project is the combination of meta information stored in the Workspace, along with tight integration with the Workspace's inherent GIT-based version control. The typical work flow is as follows:
A managed project can be created directly from the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface. The page lists all projects that have been made available to the Workspace, and which are shared with the currently signed-in user. To create a new project, click the button above the project list to open the Create Project window.
Creating a new managed project through the Workspace's browser interface.
The Create Project window will initially present in simplified view, with the following fields:
Project Name - enter the required name for the project
The project name should start with, and can contain A-Z, a-z, or 0-9. Underscores, dashes, and spaces are allowed, but the latter can only be used within the middle of the name (leading and trailing spaces will be ignored). You can not use the following words: AUX, COM1-COM9, LPT1-LPT9, CON, NUL, and PRN. In addition, the name cannot contain the following characters: \ . / ? % * : | " < >.
Template - choose a project template if available - the associated drop-down field will list all Managed Project Templates that exist in the Workspace (in the format <Comment> (<ItemID>)). Choosing a template will inherently define the project type. If you do not want to base the new project on an existing project template, simply specify the type of project to be created (using the PCB Project or Multiboard entries available from the list).
Description - enter an optional description for the project.
To access more controls click the button. The following fields will present:
Server Folder - use this field to specify where the folder for the project is to be created within the Workspace's folder structure. By default, this will be Projects\<ProjectName>. The default folder path for new projects is specified on the Admin - Settings - Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface.
After defining the new project as required, click to create the new project structure. You will come back to the summary-level project list, where you will now see an entry for the newly-created project.
The newly-created project, evident back on the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface.
The project will initially be shared for editing access with the designer who created it (Owner), and all Administrators for the Workspace. For more information on configuring project access permissions, see Sharing a Project.
Browsing Managed Projects
The projects listing on the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface includes all projects that are shared with you, and offers a range of controls to access project management features. Use the button to switch the page to its list view and the button to switch the page to its graphical view (the default view).
The Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface - command central for working with your managed projects. Here, the graphical view for the page is shown. Hover the mouse over the image to see the list view.
The list of managed projects is automatically sorted by the last modified date, with the most recently modified project appearing at the top-left of the list (in the graphical view) or at the top of the list (in the list view). In the graphical view, the button can be used to quickly sort the projects by project name, author, or last modified date. In the list view, the project listing can be sorted by Name, Author, or Last Modified, using the column header in each case. Click once to sort in ascending order, click again to sort in descending order. The arrows to the right of the column name will indicate the currently active sort direction. The chosen sorting method in one view is applied to both views.
In the graphical view, the tile for a managed project includes the name of the project and the last modified date. The tile also autopopulates with the 3D view of the project's PCB, where a PCB is available.
Example tile for a selected managed project when
the Projects page is set in its graphical view.
In the list view, each project entry includes the following information:
Name - the name of the project.
Description - the description entered for the project.
Author - the user who created the project.
Last Modified - the date and time when the project was last modified.
For both project views (graphical and list) the following controls are provided at the top-right of the list (and detailed in the linked sections that follow). They act on the currently selected project in the list :
(Share) - click to access the Project Sharing window, with all the controls necessary to share the project with other users.
(More) - click to access further options:
Open - click to open the CAD-centric Projects Management view for the project. This will open on a separate tab of the browser.
Edit - click to access the Project Editing window. From here, you can change the project's Name, Description and server Parameters. All other fields are non-editable, providing information only.
Clone - choose this command to access the Project Cloning window, providing the controls to make an identical copy of the project.
Watch - choose this command to follow the project. You will receive applicable notifications related to the project (e.g. updated, released, permission changes) through an email sent out from the Workspace (provided email notifications have been enabled for the Workspace by an Administrator). The creator of the project will automatically be set to watch that project.
UnWatch - choose this command to stop following the project and cease reception of notifications for events relating to that project.
Remove - choose this command to access the Delete Project window, from where you can remove the project from the Workspace's design repository, rendering it no longer managed. This does not affect the local working copy.
In the graphical view all commands can be accessed directly from the project tile - click the control to access the corresponding menu. In addition, double-clicking the tile for a project in this view (or clicking on its name) will access the CAD-centric Projects Management view for the project. In the list view all commands can be accessed from the menu associated to the control, located at the far right of a project's entry.
Also included is a project Search feature that can filter the project listing by Name, Description and Author. Type any part of a search string in the field at the top of the browser interface. The list will update to include only those project entries whose attributes include the search string.
Example use of the search feature, in this case finding a project based on its Description.
To clear the search filtering, either click on the main Projects page entry in the left-hand navigation pane, or clear the search field.
If not already showing, click Properties at the top of the right-hand pane to access the Properties pane. This pane shows detailed property information for the currently selected project.
Access more detailed information for the currently selected project on the Properties pane.
The property data that is available in the Properties pane has been extracted or generated by the Workspace from the currently selected project. The uppermost region of the pane presents the 3D view of the board (where a PCB is available for the project), along with general high-level information, including the project's name, description, author and when it was created and last modified.
Additional properties are arranged under the following expandable headings (with example imagery to illustrate):
Shared With - the users and/or roles who have access to the project. Hover over an entry to see the full name of the user/role.
Parameters - a comprehensive collection of detailed data extracted or computed from the project design itself. Click the Show control to expand the full list, click Hide to contract again.
Releases - a list of the releases for the project. Multiple releases are shown in sequential order, with the most recent at the top. Click on an entry to open that release, which will be presented on a separate tab through a Manufacturing Portal. From this portal you can view and navigate the released Assembly and Fabrication data, inspect the BOM, and ultimately download the data into a manufacturing Build Package.
If not already showing, click Activity at the top of the right-hand pane to access the Activity pane. This pane shows activity information for the currently selected project. Each message highlights an event which took place in relation to the project (property change, new commit, release, etc). The most recent event appears at the top of the list.
Access a history of events that have taken place for the currently selected project on the Activity pane.
Click on the entry for the project in any of the event messages to access the CAD-centric Projects Management view for the project.
Sharing a Managed Project
Once a project is managed (available in the Workspace), you'll want to determine which users can actually access that project. This is done by sharing the project, or rather, by configuring its access permissions. Remember that a managed project - newly created or made available in the Workspace - is shared, by default, with the following:
The Owner of the project, which is usually the designer who created it (or made it available in the Workspace): with full editing access.
The Administrators role: with full editing access.
To configure access permissions for a project from the Workspace's browser interface, select the project entry on the Projects page of the interface and click the button.
Also available in the graphical view of the Projects page by selecting the tile for the required project, then clicking the control and choosing the Share command from the context menu. When the Projects page is presented in its list view, click the control at the far right of the entry for the required project and choose the Share command from the associated menu.
The Share window will appear, with all the controls necessary to share the project with other users.
With your design projects centrally managed in an Workspace, sharing with others is simply a case of managing each project's permissions.
Things to be aware of:
In terms of permissions, a user/role has full editing access to the project when the Can Edit option is selected. Otherwise, they have View-only access.
The Owner and the Administrators role always have full editing access (Can Edit).
With the exception of the Owner and the Administrators role, permissions for all included users/roles may be individually set as Can View or Can Edit, or access rights completely removed.
A project may be explicitly shared with particular Users and/or Roles, or simply shared with all Team members.
You can share a project with users outside of your Workspace team for editing, or for viewing and commenting only. You can share with other AltiumLive users from within your own organization, AltiumLive users from different organizations, and non-AltiumLive users (who will need to then register for AltiumLive accounts). For a user outside of your team, the Sharing Outside of the Workspace window will appear, offering the following options:
Share for Viewing - click this option to proceed with sharing the project, but with view-only permissions.
Share for Editing - click this option to proceed with sharing the project, with editing rights.
You can share the project with anyone outside of the team, for editing or viewing.
Sharing with a user outside of the Workspace team for editing is perfect for contractors - where you want them to actively work on the design, but without bringing them in to your team.
Support for sharing a project outside of the Workspace from within Altium Designer - for viewing and commenting only - was made available in Altium Designer 20.1. To be able to share a project outside of the Workspace for editing from within Altium Designer, and indeed to open such a shared project for editing, requires Altium Designer 20.2 or later.
A managed project in the Workspace is shared with specified users and/or roles by adding the user/role name(s) in the Share Project With field in the Share window. To add an entry, begin typing the desired name/email/role in the field so the matching user/role can be selected from the dynamic list - which will only contain filtered users in your team or within your organization, and existing roles defined for the Workspace. Multiple users/roles can be chosen. To remove an entered user/role, click the control associated with the entry.
To share with a user outside of your organization - irrespective of whether they have an AltiumLive account or not - you must enter their full email address and press Enter.
Set the sharing access permissions for the added users/roles from the associated drop-down menu by selecting Can View or Can Edit, where the latter option inherently includes viewing capability. The setting initially applies to all entries (user/roles) included in the Share Project With field. Click the control to access a textual area if you wish to include information that relates to the sharing arrangement for this project.
Click the Shared With control to present the users/roles with whom the project is currently (and specifically) shared, which by default includes the Owner and the Administrators role. In the image below, the project has already been shared with the user and role in the previous image, just to illustrate this section better.
With the exception of the Owner and the Administrators role, permissions for all included users/roles may be individually set as Can View or Can Edit, or access rights completely removed. Click on the current permission state to access controls.
To open access to all users, enable the Everyone in the team option and then set access rights to the required level - either Can View (Read-only access), or Can Edit (full Read/Write access). This option is disabled by default.
Click the button to confirm the updated sharing permissions for the project. What happens next depends on the type of user being invited:
A user that is already part of your Workspace Team will be added to the access list for the project directly. They will receive an email notifying them that the project has been shared with them (and what access rights they have to it). They can open the project in Altium Designer, or access it through the Altium 365 Platform Interface (from the Projects page).
An existing role for the Workspace will be added to the access list for the project directly. All members of the role will receive an email notifying them that the project has been shared with them (and what access rights they have to it). They can open the project in Altium Designer, or access it through the Altium 365 Platform Interface (from the Projects page).
For a person outside of your Workspace team, the project will be shared with them and they will receive an email notifying them that the project has been shared with them. They can open the project in Altium Designer, or access it through the Altium 365 Platform Interface (from the Shared with Me page). The email provides direct access to the design 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 their AltiumLive account). Upon signing in, they will be taken to the Viewer, with the shared design loaded.
If the person does not have an AltiumLive account, they will need to sign up for one first - a link is provided on the Altium 365 Sign In page.
Within Altium Designer, access the project using the File » Open Project command, and the associated Open Project dialog. If you are a Workspace team member, you can choose which managed project to open from your connected Workspace (when connected to a Workspace, that Workspace will appear in the Locations region of the dialog, distinguished by the icon, and appearing with the name given to the Workspace). Only those managed projects that have been shared with you (you have permission to access) will be listed. If you are a non-Workspace team member with whom the project has been shared, you can choose which managed project to open from the Shared With Me location of the dialog (requires Altium Designer 20.2 or later).
The Workspace provides an advanced, manufacturing-oriented CAD-centric view of the project, opened by selecting the required 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.
Also available in the graphical view of the Projects page by selecting the tile for the required project, then clicking the control and choosing the Open command from the context menu. When the Projects page is presented in its list view, click the control at the far right of the entry for the required project and choose the Open command from the associated menu.
The Projects Management page for that project opens in a new browser tab incorporating the CAD-centric interface, which offers Design, Supply, Manufacture, 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.
You'll be able to search, select, cross-probe, and inspect components and nets throughout the design and across the various sub-views as applicable. And when viewing the board in 2D, you can even take measurements.
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.
Manufacture - view the releases for the project. Access is provided for opening a release, which will be presented on a separate tab through a Manufacturing Portal. From this portal you can view and navigate the released Assembly and Fabrication data, inspect the BOM, and ultimately download the data into a manufacturing Build Package. A chosen release can also be sent - as a Manufacturing Package - directly to your manufacturer.
The Altium 365 platform provides a dedicated Manufacturing Package Viewer - an element of the platform's Global Sharing support - which allows others to view a manufacturing package from any web browser - anywhere in the world - but outside of your Workspace, so that your designs themselves, and other valuable IP, are kept off limits. For more information, see Global Sharing and Manufacturing Package Viewer.
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.
The Projects Management page can also be accessed from within Altium Designer. For the active managed project, use the Project » Show in Web Browser command, from the main menus. Alternatively, right-click on the entry for the project in the Projects panel and choose the Show in Web Browser command from the context menu. When browsing the project through Altium Designer's Explorer panel - configured in its default Project View rather than Classic View - access to the Projects Management page is made by clicking the button.
Editing a Managed Project
To edit the properties of an existing managed project in the Workspace, select its entry on the Projects page, click the control above the listing of projects, and choose the Edit entry on the associated menu. In the following Edit Project window - which opens in simplified view - you can change the project's Name and Description.
Also available in the graphical view of the Projects page by selecting the tile for the required project, then clicking the control and choosing the Edit command from the context menu. When the Projects page is presented in its list view, click the control at the far right of the entry for the required project and choose the Edit command from the associated menu.
You can edit the Name and Description for a managed project at any stage.
Click the button to access additional fields.
Additional fields accessed by clicking the Advanced button.
Click on the Parameters control to expand the area in which you can manage server-side parameters for the project. Parameter Name/Valuepairs my be added (), edited, or removed ().
Edit server-side parameters for the project.
Server-side project parameters are saved in the Workspace with the project, and can only be edited within the Workspace. By contrast, design-side project parameters are saved in the project file (*.PrjPcb), and can be edited in Altium Designer. Both parameter types may be used as Special Strings in Altium Designer - access from the Properties panel with a placed Text String selected in the design workspace. All parameters defined for the project - design-side and server-side - can be viewed on the corresponding tab of the Project Options dialog (Project » Project Options).
The Server Folderfield is non-editable and provides information only.
Click the button to confirm any changes you have made.
Cloning a Managed Project
To clone an existing managed project, select its entry on the Projects page, click the control above the listing of projects, and choose the Clone entry on the associated menu. The Clone Project window will appear.
Also available in the graphical view of the Projects page by selecting the tile for the required project, then clicking the control and choosing the Clone command from the context menu. When the Projects page is presented in its list view, click the control at the far right of the entry for the required project and choose the Clone command from the associated menu.
You can clone a managed project to create an identical copy of it, along with its working files.
Use the window to set the naming, description and storage path for the cloned project (the latter accessed by clicking the button). By default, the original project name will be used with the suffix ' - Copy'.
When changing the field entries, note that the cloned project name and server folder must comply to the system naming requirements - hover over a icon for more information - and cannot use the same name or path as the source project.
After setting the fields as required, click the button. The original project will be cloned (duplicated) along with its constituent files and data, and be added as a new project entry to the Projects page listing.
To delete (remove) an existing managed project from the Workspace, select its entry on the Projects page, click the control above the listing of projects, and choose the Delete entry on the associated menu.
Deletion is only possible provided you are the owner of the project, or a Workspace Administrator.
Also available in the graphical view of the Projects page by selecting the tile for the required project, then clicking the control and choosing the Delete command from the context menu. When the Projects page is presented in its list view, click the control at the far right of the entry for the required project and choose the Delete command from the associated menu.
The Delete window will appear, in which to confirm the deletion. The action is actually a 'soft delete', whereby the project repository will be moved into the Trash area of the Workspace. The Delete window will appear differently, depending on whether the project has been released or not:
Project never released - in this case, the Delete window simply conveys that the project repository will be moved to the Trash.
Project released - in this case, the Delete window conveys that the project repository will be moved to the Trash and also summarizes the number of Releases and Packages (Manufacturing Packages) that will be deleted also.
To proceed with the deletion, click the button. The project will be removed from the main listing of projects. Your local working copy is not affected by this action, but you will no longer be able to commit changes to the server. In Altium Designer, you can simply close and reopen the local working copy to access a range of suggested actions, since the local project now references a VCS repository that no longer exists.
All projects deleted in this manner can be found on the Trash page of the interface. Note that you can only view projects (and any other items for that matter) that you have personally soft deleted. Administrators will be able to see the full content of the Trash page - so all items that have been soft deleted.
Things to consider in relation to a soft deleted project:
The project will not be available to open and browse from your design software, or from within the Web interface.
If the project had been shared externally outside of the Workspace team, the related tile for it will be removed from the Shared with Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface, for all external people involved.
Any shared Manufacturing Packages that have been deleted with the project will also be removed from the Shared with Me page of the Altium 365 Platform Interface, for all people involved.
When browsing any items that have been used in a project, the Where Used entry for the project will reflect that the project has been deleted.
A project can be restored, or permanently deleted from the Trash page, only by the owner of that project or a Workspace Administrator.
Note that if you have soft deleted a project - moving it to the Trash - you can create a new project with that same name again. If you were to subsequently restore the project, and the original name is taken, an integer suffix will be used, to keep its name unique within the Workspace.