The Altium Concord Pro Web Review feature provides universal access to PCB project documents through a standard web browser. Much more than just a static web-based viewer, Web Review's advanced browser technology allows users to navigate through the project structure, interact with design documents, extract information about elements in the design and highlight areas or objects for commenting notes.
When viewing documents the visual quality of schematics and PCBs are not compromised by its web format, which also provides full pan and zoom capabilities, and in the case of PCB documents, a high-quality interactive 3D view of the board.
Altium's Web Review functionality provides an immersive and interactive experience for reviewing the source schematic and PCB documents in your design project. Shown here is a schematic – hover over the image to see the PCB.
As an independent browser-based view platform, the Web Review feature offers interactive read-only access to design documents without the need to open the project in the design editing environment. Others that are working on the design, such as the engineer who 'owns' it, will not be affected by actions in the Web Review space – except for any related comment notifications.
The browser-based Web Review feature can be accessed from Altium Designer, which generates and then opens a specific URL in your web browser. That URL can be shared with other users, such as a team manager or librarian for example, allowing them to interact in detail with project documents and data via the Web Review interface. All that's required is a Concord Pro user account and appropriate access privileges.
For a smooth experience with Concord Pro's Web Interface, ensure you have the latest version of a supported browser installed (Chrome, Firefox, or Safari), that WebGL is enabled for it, and that the video drivers for your computer are up to date.
Web Review Access
The Web Review interface is utilized in the following instances:
As an integral part of Concord Pro's Projects Management interface, when managing a specific project. Its Design view mode represents 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.
As a standalone entity in your web browser, when wanting to review the source schematics and PCB in a released design package.
As a trimmed-down variation when viewing the Fabrication and Assembly data for a released design package, through the Manufacturing Portal.
The following sections detail how each of these instances is accessed.
Web Review of Design Project Source
In this instance, the Web Review interface is presented through the Design view of Concord Pro's Projects Management page. The latter can be accessed in the following ways:
From the Projects page of the browser interface by double-clicking on the project entry, or by selecting the project and choosing the Open option from the upper menu.
Accessing the CAD-centric Projects Management page for a project from the Projects page of Concord Pro's browser interface. Web Review functionality is presented through the page's Design view.
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.
Accessing the CAD-centric Projects Management page for a project from Altium Designer's Explorer panel. Web Review functionality is presented through the page's Design view.
The Projects Management page can also be accessed in two additional ways 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.
Web Review of Design Project Source (Released)
In this instance, the Web Review interface is presented as a standalone entity in your default web browser. Access is made from Altium Designer's Explorer panel as follows:
In the Server Folders tree on the left-hand side browse to, and select, the folder for the required project.
In the main Project view, make the Releases tab the active tab.
Click to select the required release, in the list of releases.
Click the control, to the far right of the panel.
Accessing Web Review functionality to inspect the source project snapshot contained within a specific release of a design project. In this case, Web Review is presented as a standalone entity within your default web browser.
Web Review of Fabrication and Assembly Data for a Released Design Package
In this instance, the Web Review interface – or a trimmed variant of it – is presented through the Fabrication and Assembly views of the Manufacturing Portal, for the chosen release package of the project actively being inspected. To access the portal:
From the Projects page of Concord Pro's browser interface select the required project and choose the Open option from the upper menu, or double-click directly on the required project entry in the list.
On the Projects Management page, switch to the Manufacturing view.
Click to select the required release package, then choose the Open option from the associated menu to access a dedicated Manufacturing Portal browser tab.
Accessing Web Review functionality through the Manufacturing Portal, to inspect the fabrication and assembly data contained within a specific release package of a design project.
From the Manufacturing Portal, switch between Fabrication and Assembly views to interact with those elements through the Web Review interface:
Fabrication – the PCB fabrication view applies the Web Review interface to show a 2D rendering of the board layout. Standard review features include Layer Visibility selection, Comment markup, object search and object property data.
Assembly – the PCB assembly view applies the Web Review interface to show a 3D rendering of the board layout. The view may be zoomed, panned and angled to provide a realistic graphical view into the PCB and its constituent objects.
Web Review Features
The Web Review interface offers a range of integrated capabilities that allow detailed access to the design's data and layout. Other features such as the Comments system communicate directly, and in real-time, with Altium Designer.
The Web Review interface offers a choice of a Dark (default) or Light GUI theme. Switch themes from the interface's settings menu associated with the user icon at the upper-right.
Switch the shell look and feel for the interface by choosing from one of two themes. The Dark theme (shown) is enabled by default.
Choosing a Variant
When using the Web Review interface to inspect the design project source (either the source project or a release from it), if that project includes defined variants, you will be able to inspect them too. The control for doing so is a suffix menu to the right of the project name, in the interface's upper-left area. By default, this will be set to [No Variations] – presenting the base design.
Choose a defined variant from the list of all variants defined for the project. The view will update to reflect that variant, including the visual options enabled for not fitted components.
The interface caters for variants. By default, the base design ([No Variations]) will be presented (shown here). Use the highlighted control to switch to a different variant.
The interface's Navigator pane on the left allows the selection of a project design document for display and analysis. All schematic source documents and PCB document(s) are presented.
Use the control in the interface's upper margin to enable/disable the Navigator pane.
The Navigator pane presents the schematic and PCB documents for your design project and is where you come to select which document to analyze next.
Click on a document entry to have it loaded within the main viewing area of the interface. If the project contains a sizeable number of documents, enable the search filter field () at the top of the pane to quickly get to the required document – the list will dynamically filter as you type.
To navigate within the design document display:
Hold the right mouse button and drag to pan.
Use the mouse wheel to zoom.
Use the menu to manually zoom in/out, or to fit the document to the window or to the full screen size (press Esc to return to normal view mode).
When viewing a PCB in 3D mode hold the left mouse button and drag to alter the viewing angle.
When inspecting a PCB document, use the 2D and 3D buttons to switch view modes – see below for more PCB view options, such as object selection and layer visibility.
A PCB document is, by default, presented in 2D viewing mode, as shown here. Using the highlighted control you can quickly switch to 3D viewing mode. Hover over the image to see the result and the highlighted control that can be used to take you back to 2D viewing mode again.
In-Document Navigation of Design Hierarchy
When inspecting a schematic document that is part of a hierarchical design project, the rendered document display itself can provide interactive navigation between the levels in the project structure hierarchy:
Double-click on a sheet symbol object to load the target schematic document (hover over the image to see the expected result).
Double-click on a sheet entry object within a sheet symbol to be taken to the corresponding port on the target child schematic below (hover over the image to see the expected result).
Hover the mouse over any object to see a pop-up information summary, or hints for optional actions.
The Web Review interface supports cross-probing between schematic and PCB documents. This functionality, which is enabled by default, can be controlled from the interface's settings menu – accessed by clicking the menu associated with the user icon at the top-right.
Cross-probing only works provided the relevant source and target documents are both open in separate Web Review instances (on separate browser tabs/windows). It can be useful to have the browser views separated and docked side by side on your desktop. In addition, the PCB Viewing mode must be 2D.
Click to select an object on a schematic source document to have the corresponding object selected on the PCB document, and vice-versa. The following are examples:
Schematic Part <---> PCB Component
Schematic Pin <---> PCB Pad
Schematic net (e.g. click a Wire/Port/Power Port) <---> PCB net (selects all tracks in that net)
The relevant object(s) on the target document will be zoomed and centered (where possible) within the main viewing area of the interface.
An example of cross-probing in action. Here, the part U3 is selected on a source schematic document. Hover over the image to see the result of the cross-probe, whereby the corresponding component U3 is selected on the PCB document.
The last object you choose is the one displayed/highlighted. Cross-probe filtering is not cumulative.
Along with hover summary information associated with a selected design object (when viewing a schematic), the Web Review interface also provides a more comprehensive data listing for selected objects in its Properties pane, which is presented on the right-hand side.
Use the control – in the interface's upper margin – to hide/show the Properties pane.
The Properties pane presents a detailed listing of the properties for the currently selected object.
When viewing a PCB document, getting at an object can sometimes be a little tricky. The Web Review interface provides a couple of features to help you with this:
Collocated Objects – where objects overlay each other, such as when they occupy the same 2D space on different layers, clicking on the layout will open a listing of collocated objects so the desired object may be selected. As you move the mouse over an entry in the list, the potential object is highlighted, so that you can see exactly what will be selected.
Where objects are collocated, use the pop-up list of objects to choose the right one. As you move the cursor over the list, the potential selection will highlight in the main view.
Layer Visibility – Use the menu (bottom-left) to manipulate the display of PCB layers used in the board design. The options include:
Layer Name Length – select the level of detail shown by the layer name entries.
Show Layers – the current list of layers that are not displayed. Select an entry to enable the visibility of that layer, or make all layers visible (Show All Layers).
Hide Layers – the current list of layers that are displayed. Select an entry to disable the visibility of that layer, or disable the visibility of all layers (Hide All Layers).
Clicking on a layer entry in a list will toggle its visibility. This is also the case with the layer list in the interface's bottom margin, which provides quick access to all available layers – move through the available layer range using the controls..
Toggle layer visibility to get at the object(s) you need. Here, getting at components for this project is made easier by enabling the display of just the relevant Courtyard layer.
The Web Review interface includes an advanced search capability that can be used to find any object in the design, including objects with a specific parameter. Select the icon in the left pane header to invoke the object Search mode and its filter entry field.
The Search pane facilitates powerful searching of your design project to find any object contained on a source schematic or the PCB.
Notes on working with the search feature:
Click in the blank search field to see a list of object types that are included in a search. Select an entry from the list of object types to include it as a prefix in your search string, and therefore constrain the search results to just that object type.
As you type within the search field, a dynamic listing of matching objects will be presented below. Each entry in the results list highlights the matching string, and also indicates its object type by an accompanying icon – hover over the entry to see which document it resides on. The number of objects found in each category, based on the current search string, will be indicated along with its heading (eg: NETS)
Click an entry in the results list to zoom to the selected object. If the object does not reside on the active document (the document currently being viewed), its parent document will be opened automatically, and will become the active document.
Selecting a property type match in the search returns, indicated by the icon, will cause the object associated with that property to be opened – as indicated in the Properties pane listing on the right. Conversely, performing a search such as property:thick film array will return all resistor array components where they are identified by a property Value that contains that string.
DRC and ERC Reports
Web Review provides interactive access to both ERC and DRC reports that have been generated in the design space, which are accessed by choosing the DRC Reports or ERC Reports option from the left pane header menu.
The DRC/ERC Reports listing is populated with data created on the design side for the current project:
ERC Reports – the listed ERC results are those generated from the project's most recent compilation in Altium Designer.
DRC Reports – the listed DRC results are those generated by the most recent batch DRC run in Altium Designer. These become available when the project has been committed to the server.
The included compiler violations are grouped by type in expandable row entries, where each row is associated with color-coded icons indicating warnings and/or errors. In both the ERC and DRC report listings, hover over an individual entry to see more detail, or click on an entry to view the related schematic or PCB area. The document is opened and the violating area zoomed to and centered in the view.
If a report includes a large number of violations, select the icon at the top of the pane and use the filter field to quickly locate the required violation – the list will dynamically filter as you type.
The Web Review interface supports commenting on your design documents. Comments correspond to, and interact with, the Comments system in Altium Designer. A comment is a user-added note that is assigned to a specific area, object or point on a schematic or PCB document, can include @ mentions, and may be replied to by other users. Comments promote collaboration between users without altering the project itself, or its constituent documents, because comments are stored by Altium Concord Pro independently of the design project. Comments are accessed through the Comments pane.
Use the control – in the interface's upper margin – to hide/show the Properties pane.
Example comments overlayed on a child schematic sheet of a managed project. The Comments pane reflects all comments for the sheet.
A comment markup, which defines where or what the comment note applies to, is added by selecting one of the available types from their respective controls located at the top of the document view:
Comment on object – click the control and then click on an object on the active document being reviewed (schematic or PCB) to automatically create a comment area that applies to that object.
Comment on area – click the control and then hold the left mouse button and drag to define an area that the comment will apply to.
Freehand comment – click the control and then use the mouse to draw line shapes on the schematic. Hold the left mouse button and drag to create a freehand line, and then repeat as needed.
When a markup has been placed, a comment icon () will appear next to it in the view and a blank text window will open in the Comments pane, ready for your comment note. After completing the note, click the button to submit the comment.
If you wish to mention another user in your comment, type the @ key while entering the note to enable a list of server users that can be referenced. Select a user from the list, and then the button to submit the assigned comment.
Hover over a comment icon () to access a pop-up with information showing the original comment and author that started the thread.
Comments applied in the Web Review interface become available in Altium Designer, and vice-versa, and all changes to comments are reflected in both spaces.
Any comments made through the Web Review interface will appear directly in Altium Designer.
The following points relate to working with comments and the Web Review interface's Active Comments pane:
When a comment is added, it is seen instantly by all other users that have that same managed project and document open – either in a Web Review instance, or in their Altium Designer instance.
The Active Comments pane will track the entire thread of a specific comment, whereas only the first comment in that thread is displayed in the document view – hover the cursor over the comment icon () to see this.
Within a comment thread on the Comments pane, the latest reply is always added to the bottom of that thread. Where multiple comment threads are present in a document, the latest thread is presented at the top of the panel.
The active/selected comment on the Comments pane is highlighted. In the document view, the markup that is the focus of the active/selected comment is zoomed and centered in the view (where applicable).
To reply to a comment, select that comment in the Comments pane, type your text in the field provided, then click the control to commit. To exit without replying, click .
A comment can be edited or deleted, through the pane only. Select the comment in the pane, and then use the Edit or Remove commands available from the comment's menu. Note that these controls will only be available for a comment that you yourself have made – you cannot edit or remove a comment made by another user. If you edit an existing comment, type your text in the field provided, then click the control to commit. To exit without replying, either click .
Resolving and Reopening Comments
To resolve a comment, select it, then choose the Resolve option from the comment's menu. The comment will be removed from the document view and by default, dimmed in Comments pane. To disable the (dimmed) visibility of resolved comments in the pane, uncheck the Show resolved comments option in the menu at the top of the pane.
You also have the ability to resurrect comments that have been resolved. To do so, select the Unresolve option from the comment's menu to a resolved comment you want to bring back. The comment will be reinstated, both on the Comments pane and in the document view.
Resolving a comment essentially closes and removed it. A resolved comment can be reinstated using the Unresolve option.
Updating with New Data
To ensure that the latest design data is available for review, the Web Review interface provides a status pop-up that is triggered by an update in the current project data.
When viewing a document in Concord Pro's Web Review page, a coincident project update on the Altium Designer side such as a new Project Release will cause the server to reprocess the design data. Since the currently viewed data is out of date, the status pop-up provides an alert and real-time indication of the reprocessing state, and then offers the option to Open (reload) the page with the new data.
If you make changes to the design, then the Web Review interface will automatically detect and make the new data available to you open, once those changes have been committed back to the design repository in Concord Pro.
Note that the above condition only can occur when viewing WIP design data, such as when using the Web Review interface through the Design view of the Projects Management page of Concord Pro's browser interface. The design data is dynamic in that case, whereas when viewing documents from a project design Release, the data is a static capture and cannot be updated.
Logging Out of the Interface
The settings menu of the Web Review interface – accessed by clicking the menu associated with the user icon at the top-right – offers a Log out command. Note that you will be logged out of the browser interface entirely, unless you are also signed in to Concord Pro from Altium Designer. In the latter case, you will be automatically signed back into the Web Review interface.