Altium Designer Documentation

Free-File Storage in an Altium Vault

Modified by Jason Howie on Apr 11, 2017
All Contents

Parent page: Vault Items

Altium Designer, in conjunction with Altium Vault, caters for the ability to store free files. With relevant folder type and Item type support, Items can be created to accommodate one or more files of any format. This allows you to effectively take advantage of the vault's secure nature, and underlines the vault as being the perfect place to store anything, including your source binary files - from which releases into other vault Items are made - together in a single Item.

And facilitating the streamlined flow of data files, bi-directional drag-and-drop functionality is provided, enabling you to quickly move files between folders in your vault, and folders in your Windows Explorer.

Folder Type

When creating the folder in which to store a Binary File Item, you can specify the folder's type. This has no bearing on the content of the folder - uploading will always result in Binary File Item. It simply provides a visual 'clue' as to what is stored in a folder and can be beneficial when browsing a vault for particular content. To nominate a folder's use as a container for Binary File Items, set its Folder Type as Binary Files, when defining the folder properties in the Edit Folder dialog.

Specifying the folder type - its intended use - gives a visual indication of the content of that folder when browsing the vault!

Another important aspect of the parent folder is the Item Naming Scheme employed for it. This defines the format of the unique ID for each Item created in that particular folder. Several default example schemes are available, utilizing the short-form code for either the folder type (ABC - Altium Binary Catalog) or the content type (ABF - Altium Binary File):

  • $CONTENT_TYPE_CODE-001-{0000} - for example, ABF-001-0001.
  • $CONTENT_TYPE_CODE-001-{A00} - for example, ABF-001-A01.
  • $FOLDER_TYPE_CODE-001-{0000} - for example, ABC-001-0001.
  • $FOLDER_TYPE_CODE-001-{A000} - for example, ABC-001-A001.

Using a default naming scheme, the software will automatically assign the next available unique ID, based on that scheme, having scanned the entire vault and identifiers of existing Items. This can be a great time-saver when manually creating Binary File Items prior to release.

A custom scheme can also be defined for a folder, simply by typing it within the field, ensuring that the variable portion is enclosed in curly braces (e.g. BINFILE-001-{B000}).

The Item Naming Scheme of the parent folder is applied to the Unique ID for each Item
created within that folder.

The Item Naming Scheme employed for the parent folder can be changed at any time. The modified scheme will then be applied to any subsequent newly-created Items within that folder.

Item Type

When creating the target Binary File Item in which to store your source file(s), ensure that its Content Type is set to Binary File, in the Item Properties dialog. If you are creating the Item in a Binary Files type folder, this Item type will be available from the right-click context menu when creating the Item.

Creating a Binary File Item within a Binary Files folder - the correct Content Type is available on the context menu.

When defining the Binary File Item, to which the source file(s) are uploaded, be sure to specify the type of lifecycle management to be used for the Item, and the naming scheme employed for its revisions, respectively.

Control over which Item types can use a particular lifecycle definition or revision naming scheme, can be defined and enabled at a global level from within the Content Types dialog, when defining each schema. For a newly-installed vault, the default schemes assigned for use by a Binary File Item are: Basic Lifecycle and 1-Level Revision Scheme, respectively.

Once a file has been uploaded into the initial revision of a Binary File Item, these schemes cannot be changed for that particular Item.

Specify the required schemes in the Item Properties dialog, using the Lifecycle Definition and Revision Naming Scheme fields respectively.

If the option to control use of lifecycle definitions and revision naming schemes per content type is enabled for any definitions/schemes, and the Binary File Item type is not set to use a particular definition/scheme, then that definition/scheme will not be available in the applicable drop-down list.

Selecting the Lifecycle Definition and Revision Naming schemes for a manually created Item.

Observing standard revision naming schemes and lifecycle definitions, across the various types of design item in a vault ensures smooth, consistent management of those items.
It is a good idea to add a comment and description as part of the Item's definition. This information is used when searching the vault and enables quick identification of what a Binary File Item offers.

Uploading Files

So far, we've discussed the support for a Binary File Item in the vault, in terms of related folder and item types. Uploading one or more files into the revision of such an item can be performed in a couple of ways.

Upload Menu

File(s) can be uploaded by right-clicking on the required Binary File Item in the Vaults panel, and choosing the Upload command from the context menu. The Release File dialog will appear. Add a Comment, Description, and any Release Notes as required, then define the source - the file(s) to be stored in the next planned revision of the Item. Source files can be added manually by clicking the Add button, and browsing for the required file(s) using the subsequent Add Files dialog. Alternatively, select the file(s), or folder(s) in Windows Explorer and drag and drop them onto the Sources area of the Release File dialog.

If the Item has no planned revision, upload will be to the next planned revision, created on-the-fly as part of the upload process.

Manually specifying the files to be uploaded to the target Binary File Item.

The chosen file(s) will be added, and listed, in the Sources area of the dialog. If you need to adjust the content of the list, simply add additional files, or select and remove files (click the Remove button) as required.

The Sources area supports selection of multiple files using standard multi-select techniques (Ctrl+click, Shift+click, and click-and-drag).

Once the desired file list is ready, proceed with the upload by clicking the OK button. The uploaded fileset will be available in the Details aspect view for the Item Revision, in the Vaults panel.

Uploaded files are listed in the Details aspect view for the Item Revision.

Drag and Drop from Windows Explorer

One or more source files can also be uploaded by dragging the selected file(s) from a source folder in your Windows Explorer, and dropping onto the required target Binary File Item in the Vaults panel. The Release File dialog will appear, with the dragged file(s) listed in the Sources area. Add a Comment, Description, and any Release Notes as required. If you need to add additional files, this can be done by clicking the Add button, and browsing for the file(s), or by dragging and dropping file(s)/folder(s) onto the Sources area. If you need to remove files, simply select them in the list and click the Remove button.

If the target Binary File Item has no planned revision, upload will be to the next planned revision, created on-the-fly as part of the upload process. If dropping files into a Binary Files folder that has no pre-created Binary File Items, a new Binary File Item (and planned revision) will be created, as part of the upload process. Initial naming of the new Item will be in accordance with the Item Naming scheme defined at the folder level. This can be changed from within the Release File dialog, prior to executing the upload.

Once the desired file list is ready, proceed with the upload by clicking the OK button. The uploaded fileset will be available in the Details aspect view for the Item Revision, in the Vaults panel.

Uploading files using the drag and drop method.

Downloading Files

Downloading the files stored in a Binary File Item can be performed from the Vaults panel in the following ways:

  • By right-clicking on the required Item Revision and choosing the Operations » Download command from the context menu. All files stored in that revision will be downloaded into a sub-folder under the chosen directory, named using the Item Revision name. The files can be found in the Released folder therein.
Access the Download command from the top-level entry for a Binary File Item itself, to download the files stored in the latest revision of that Item.
Click the Explore button in the Download from Vault dialog, to quickly explore to the download folder.
  • By selecting the required file(s) for the Item Revision, in its Details aspect view, right-clicking, and choosing the Download command from the context menu. Simply nominate the target folder to receive the file(s), in the subsequent Browse For Folder dialog.
  • While holding Ctrl, click on the entry for the required Item Revision, then drag and drop to the target folder in your Windows Explorer. All files stored in that revision will be downloaded directly into that folder.
Ctrl+click, drag and drop the top-level entry for a Binary File Item itself, to download the files stored in the latest revision of that Item.

Downloading the files stored in a revision of a Binary File Item is streamlined through support for drag and drop. In this case, dragging the Item Revision
will download all files stored in that revision.

  • Select the file(s) to be downloaded directly in the list of files stored in the Binary File Item - from its Details aspect view. Once selected, hold Ctrl, and click, drag and drop, into the target folder in your Windows Explorer. Only the selected file(s) will be downloaded.
As pressing Ctrl toggles inclusion of a file in a selection, you may need to press Ctrl again, to ensure that when you hold Ctrl for the selection (in order to drag), the file over which you do so does not inadvertently become deselected.

An example of using drag and drop to download only selected files stored in a Binary File Item.

Opening a File

To open a file that is stored in a revision of a Binary File Item, simply select that file - in the Details aspect view for the revision - then right-click and choose the Open command from the context menu. The relevant application (or Altium Designer itself) will be used to present the file, where applicable to do so.

 

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