Altium Designer Documentation

Accessing a Server from Altium Designer

Modified by Jason Howie on Jun 21, 2018

Parent page: Working with a Managed Content Server

When working with Altium Designer, the target server used to store your managed content is an Altium NEXUS Server.

The Server can be accessed from two places:

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

Signing in to Your Server

Sign in to your managed content server from within Altium Designer by clicking the  button, at the top-right of the main application window, then choosing the Sign in command from the associated menu. The Sign in to Server 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 Automatically sign in after start 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 (an Altium NEXUS Server) from within Altium Designer.

The Sign in to Server dialog will also appear if you are not currently signed in to your managed content server, and attempt to create a new Managed Project - by accessing the New Project dialog and setting the Project Kind to Managed.
The Server's URL (Server Address) will be in the format http://<ComputerName>:<PortNumber> (e.g. http://designerhome:9780 for a NEXUS Server installed using the default port assignment). And 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.

The Altium NEXUS Server 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 an Altium NEXUS Server, 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

Checking Sign-in Status

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

  • The current user button (e.g. ), at the top-right of the main application window. This reflects the user that is currently signed in to the active managed content server.
  • The current server information - reflected on the menu associated with the current user button. The name of the server to which you are currently signed in is presented, along with 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 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.

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 NEXUS Servers, or if you still had some legacy server technology (e.g. Personal Vault, Satellite Vault). Only one Altium NEXUS Server can be active at any given time. To access another, you would need to sign out from one, and sign in to the other.

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 connect to a legacy Altium Personal Vault, or Altium Satellite Vault. Sign out of your active server, then use the Sign in to Server dialog to connect to the Personal Vault or Satellite Vault. Remember that for a Personal or Satellite 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 and/or Satellite Vault.

If you have a previous flavor of Vault running on the same PC, ensure that the communication ports are unique. An Altium Personal Vault uses the default port 9680, while a legacy Altium Satellite Vault uses default port 9880.
While legacy Vault technologies can still be connected to, and used, there is no further development to these types of Vault. You will therefore not enjoy the current enhancements found in, and future improvements gained by, using the Altium NEXUS Server.

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 or Satellite Vault. For an 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 an Altium NEXUS Server using the same credentials, but from different computers. 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.
You will only be able to login from the current computer as well, provided you have enough Server Connector licenses 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 button that displays the currently signed in user (e.g. ), at the top-right of the main application window, then choosing the Sign out command from the associated menu.
  • By clicking the Off button, associated to the Active Server, on the Data Management - Servers page of the Preferences dialog. A confirmation dialog will appear - click Yes.
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.

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 button that displays the currently signed in user (e.g. ), at the top-right of the main application window, then click the entry for the Server on 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 Server content through the Explorer panel.

 

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