Parent page: Server Items
A managed content server provides a flexible and secure method of centralizing the storage and management of all types of design data used in Altium Designer. From the schematic model to the component, from managed sheets through to completed PCB designs, the server delivers an ideal method of storing and managing your electronic design data.
A powerful aspect of a manged content server is its support for Direct Editing. Just what does that mean, 'Direct Editing'? It means you can right-click on a model, or a component, or even a managed sheet in the server, and select Edit. Sure, a file opens in Altium Designer ready for you to edit - opened in a temporary editor - but when you are finished you simply save, then release it back to the server. As for the file you just edited, well you don't have to worry about it, it is no longer needed since your edits are securely stored back in the server, so it is destroyed, and the temporary editor instance is closed.
Direct editing frees you from the shackles of separate version-controlled source data. You can simply edit a supported Item type using a temporary editor loaded with the latest source direct from the managed content server itself. And once editing is complete, the entity is released (or re-released) into a subsequent planned revision of its parent Item, and the temporary editor closed. There are no files on your hard drive, no questioning whether you are working with the correct or latest source, and no having to maintain separate version control software. The server handles it all, with great integrity, and in a manner that greatly expedites changes to your data.
The following server Item types are supported with respect to Direct Editing:
From the Explorer panel, when you create one of the supported Item types, you have the option to edit and release the associated data entity into the initial revision of that item, after creation. So instead of creating the source data outside of the server and releasing it, you can start working on the source directly from the moment the empty Item is created, courtesy of direct editing. And when that editing is complete, the entity is released into the initial planned revision of its parent Item, and the temporary editor closed.
To take advantage of this feature, enable the Open for editing after creation option, found at the bottom of the Create Item dialog. Pre-empting the usefulness of this functionality, the option is enabled by default. The Item will be created and the relevant temporary editor will open, presenting the relevant document as the active document in the main design window. This document will be named according to the Item-Revision, in the format: <Item><Revision>.<DocumentExtension>.
The image below shows this in action for the creation of a new Symbol Item (SYM-001-0002). A temporary Schematic Library Editor is opened, presenting a Schematic Library document (SYM-001-0002-1.SchLib) as the active document in the main design window. Use the document to create the entity as required.
At any stage, you can come back to any revision of a supported Item type in the managed content server (through the Explorer panel) and edit it directly. Right-click on the revision and choose the Edit command from the context menu. Once again, the temporary editor will open, with the document contained in the revision opened for editing. Make changes as required, then commit the release of the document into the next revision of the item.
There are three relevant controls when direct editing, readily available from the Quick Access Bar (at the top-left of the main application window), or from the Standard toolbar for the active temporary editor (where available):
For many editors, these controls are also available as commands - Save (Shortcut: Ctrl+S), Release to Server (Shortcut: Alt+Ctrl+S), and Cancel Edit - from the main File menu.
To be able to edit server data, something must be created for you to edit in Altium Designer. What happens is that temporary files are created. For example when you right-click on a Symbol Item and select Edit, a temporary Sch Lib file is created and opened in Altium Designer. When you finish and perform a Release to Server, this file is destroyed as soon as the server data is updated.
However, if you do not release, but instead Save and Close the file, it will remain in the Projects panel. This is done so that you do not have to complete the updating process in a single editing session - you can save your work and close the file if you wish, Altium Designer understands that this is a special file so it retains it in the <ServerName> folder in the Projects panel (e.g. ), so that you can re-open it when you are ready, and complete the updating and re-releasing process.
In the day-in, day-out management of your managed components, direct editing is available from the Components panel - which you will tend to use more than the Explorer panel with respect to that particular managed item type. Browse for the required component, select it, then right-click and choose the Edit command from the context menu. A temporary instance of the Component Editor - in its Single Component Editing mode - will be opened, ready for you to make changes as needed.
When editing a managed component using the Component Editor in its Single Component Editing mode, you are able to edit the linked domain models using the direct editing paradigm. To modify a model that is currently being used (referenced) by the component, click the control at the top-right of its preview. The corresponding temporary editor for that model type will open, ready for you to make changes to the model as required. Once ready, just save and close the editor - the modified model will appear linked back in the Models region. Upon release of the component, the modified model will automatically be released to the server also, into the next revision of its parent Item.