Altium Designer Documentation

Working with Publishing Destinations

Modified by Jason Howie on Sep 22, 2020

Parent page: Board Design Release

Publishing Destinations offer you the ability to publish release data for a revision of a PCB Fabrication Data Item, PCB Assembly Data Item, or PCB Project Design Item, directly from a managed content server, or Output Job, to a storage space - such as Box.com, Amazon S3, an FTP server, or a simple folder location on a shared network. This enables you to host generated release data securely, while providing access to it on a global scale. From the manufacturing plant in China, to the design teams in Kiev, Stanstead Abbotts, and San Diego, and to the project director flying back and forth between all, the geographically-dispersed 'Product Team' - collectively responsible for getting the product from idea to physical reality - have shared (and controlled) access to view, discuss, and utilize the data to build the Item.

If you are enjoying Altium 365 and the benefits of an Altium 365 Workspace, why not take advantage of superior sharing of release data - through defined Manufacturing Packages - facilitated by the Altium 365 platform's Manufacturing Package Viewer. Take a look at the section Global Sharing of Manufacturing Package Data later in this document, for a teaser of what this offers. Alternatively, jump straight over to the Global Sharing section of the dedicated Altium 365 documentation.

Defining Publishing Destinations

Before looking at how the release data for the revision of a supported Item type is actually published, options must first be defined, to set up where that data is to be stored. This is performed from the Data Management - Publishing Destinations page of the Preferences dialog (click on the  control at the top-right of the main design window).

Publishing Destinations are specified as part of the Altium Designer preferences.

For each defined publishing destination, the following information is presented:

  • Name - a meaningful name for the destination. This could, for example, reflect the data to be published to that destination.
  • Type - the type of publishing destination. The following destination types can be defined:
    • Amazon S3 - Simple Storage Services hosted by Amazon AWS.
    • Box.com - a publishing destination hosted by Box.com.
    • Folder - a simple folder structure on, for example, a shared network.
    • FTP - for uploading to an FTP storage server, or a location on your web site.
  • Status - whether the connection between Altium Designer and the publishing destination is successful () or not (). If connection is unsuccessful a comment will be displayed, indicating the problem.

Adding a new Amazon S3 Publishing Destination

To add a new publishing destination hosted by Amazon Simple Storage Services (S3), click the  button and choose Amazon S3 from the associated menu - the Add Amazon S3 Publishing Destination dialog will appear.

Define the connection to an Amazon S3 publishing destination.

Define the destination as follows:

  1. Give the destination a meaningful Name.
  2. Enter your Amazon Web Services Account credentials. You will need an existing Amazon Web Services Account. If you don't already have one, sign up at aws.amazon.com. During your account setup process, you would have created a 20-character Access Key ID (or public key) and a corresponding 40-character Secret Access Key (or private key). You may have more than one of such key pairs. As indicated by the name, your Secret Access Key should be kept secure and only known by you and Amazon Web Services.
  3. Specify the name of the bucket which will store the published files. Buckets can be created by tools such as the AWS Management Console. You can optionally specify a sub-folder within the bucket to store your files. Type the path in the Key Prefix field, or click the  button to browse and select a folder.
  4. Define additional publishing options as required.
  5. To manually test the connection, click the  button. This is not a requirement however, since the connection will automatically be tested when you click OK.
  6. Click OK.

A connection from Altium Designer is made, and an entry will appear for it in the listing of publishing destinations, back on the Data Management - Publishing Destinations page of the Preferences dialog.

Adding a new Box.com Publishing Destination

To add a new publishing destination whose folder structure will reside within your cloud-based Box (hosted by Box.com) click the  button and choose Box.com from the associated menu - the Add Box.com Publishing Destination dialog will appear.

Define the connection to a Box.com publishing destination.

Define the destination as follows:

  1. Give the destination a meaningful Name.
  2. Activate your Box.com account. This process allows Altium Designer to access your Box. To activate your Box.com account for the first time:
    1. click the  button in the Box.com Account region of the dialog. The Activate Box.com Account dialog will appear, prompting you to login to your account.

  1. Enter your Box.com account credentials, then click Authorize.
  2. Once you are successfully logged in to your Box, click the Grant access to Box button to allow the AltiumBoxApplication to have Read/Write access to the Box.

  1. You will automatically be returned to the Add Box.com Publishing Destination dialog. The dialog will now reflect your account as activated.

If the Box.com account has been previously activated, you can simply enter the activation key (if you copied it when you first activated the account). To do this, click the  button and enter the activation code into the Box.com Activation Key dialog that appears. If you have lost the original activation key, don't know it, or wish to obtain a new key, you can simply activate again. The account will be activated with a new key and the old key will be invalidated.
If you need to access your Box account from multiple computers, or require to connect to multiple publishing folders within the same Box account, you can do so by copying and using your Box.com activation key. To do this, click on the  button and copy the key from the dialog that appears.
  1. Specify the location for storing published data - either an existing, or new folder within your Box - using the Folder field in the Location region of the dialog. Use the  button to access the Choose the Destination Root Folder dialog, from where you can browse all currently defined folders in your Box, or click  to create a new one. Choose the required folder and click OK.

  1. Define additional publishing options as required.
  2. Click OK.

A connection to the nominated folder from Altium Designer is made, and an entry will appear for it in the listing of publishing destinations, back on the Data Management - Publishing Destinations page of the Preferences dialog.

To use the same Box.com hosted publishing destination for collaboration purposes, it is recommended that you create separate Box.com accounts for each individual user, then add them as a collaborator for the destination's top-level folder. For more information on the types of account available, working with an account, and to sign up for an account, go to www.box.com.

Adding a new Folder Publishing Destination

To add a new local folder-based publishing destination, click the  button and choose Folder from the associated menu - the Add Folder Publishing Destination dialog will appear.

Define the connection to a folder publishing destination.

Define the destination as follows:

  1. Give the destination a meaningful Name.
  2. Specify the location of the root folder. Either enter the location for the folder directly into the Folder field, or click the  icon to access the Browse For Folder dialog, from where you can browse for an existing local or network folder, or create a new one, as required.
  3. Define additional publishing options as required.
  4. Click OK.

A connection to the nominated folder from Altium Designer is made, and an entry will appear for it in the listing of publishing destinations, back on the Data Management - Publishing Destinations page of the Preferences dialog.

Adding a new FTP Publishing Destination

To add a new publishing destination hosted by an FTP server, click the  button and choose FTP from the associated menu - the Add FTP Publishing Destination dialog will appear.

Define the connection to an FTP server.

Define the destination as follows:

  1. Enter your FTP Account credentials.
    1. Enter the Server Name - this may be an IP address (such as 123.45.1.1), a domain name (such as myserver.com), or a hostname if located on your local area network (such as myserver).
    2. Enter your User Name and Password to log into your FTP server.
  2. Give the destination a meaningful Name.
  3. Optionally specify a directory on your FTP server to store the published data. Type the path directly in the Directory field, or click the  button to browse and select a folder.
  4. Define additional publishing options as required.
  5. To manually test the connection, click the  button. This is not a requirement however, since the connection will automatically be tested when you click OK.
  6. Click OK.

A connection to the nominated folder from Altium Designer is made, and an entry will appear for it in the listing of publishing destinations, back on the Data Management - Publishing Destinations page of the Preferences dialog.

Editing the Connection to a Publishing Destination

You can edit the connection to a Publishing Destination at any time, for example if the location of the publishing destination changes. To do this, double-click on the entry for the destination in the listing of destinations, or select the entry and click the  button. A dialog will appear, from where you can modify the connection properties.

Removing a Publishing Destination

To remove a publishing destination, select its entry in the listing of destinations, then click the  button.

Additional Publishing Options

The following additional publishing options are provided (where applicable) when defining a publishing destination:

  • Zip Contents - enable this option to have data compressed into a zip archive before being published. The zip archive can also be password protected if required. This option is available for all publishing destination types.
  • Present Contents in a HTML page - enable this option to generate a HTML index page to list the contents of the published data and aid navigation of the files in a web browser. This option is available for Amazon S3, Folder, and FTP publishing destination types.
Only one option can be chosen for a publishing destination at any given time.

Example HTML page listing the contents of published data.

Publishing the Data

With Publishing Destinations defined as required, you are able to publish release data for a board design either from the detailed Item view, the Explorer panel, or from an OutputJob file:

  • From the Item view, select the specific revision of the Item you wish to publish documents for. Publishing commands are available from the right-click menu for the Released Documents region. While you can publish just the Released Documents, a command is also available for publishing all documents (released plus the System BOM) in a single hit.
To access the Item view locate the required Item in the Explorer panel, right-click on it, then select History from the context menu.
Definition and use of revision naming schemes and lifecycle definitions are not supported in Altium 365 Standard. As such, revision status and lifecycle information will not be presented in the Item view when connected to an Altium 365 Workspace with this level of access to Altium 365.

The publishing sub-menu lists all available Publishing Destinations, by name, as defined on the Data Management - Publishing Destinations page of the Preferences dialog.

Access publishing-related commands for a particular revision of an Item from within the detailed Item view.

  • From the Explorer panel, switch to the Classic view of the project ( - Classic View), select the specific revision of the PCB Fabrication Data, PCB Assembly Data, or PCB Project Design Item you wish to publish documents for, and ensure the Preview aspect view tab is active. Publishing commands are available from the right-click menu for the Released Documents region. Again, while you can publish just the Released Documents, a command is also available for publishing all documents (released plus the System BOM) in a single hit.
Definition and use of revision naming schemes and lifecycle definitions are not supported in Altium 365 Standard. As such, revision status and lifecycle information will not be presented in the Explorer panel when connected to an Altium 365 Workspace with this level of access to Altium 365.

The publishing sub-menu lists all available Publishing Destinations, by name, as defined on the Data Management - Publishing Destinations page of the Preferences dialog.

Access publishing-related commands for a particular revision of an Item from within the Explorer panel.

  • From an Output Job file, click on the Generate and publish control for the required Output Container to access publishing commands.
While publishing to a defined Publishing Destination is possible directly from within an Output Job Configuration file, it is advised to publish data only after it has been released to a managed content server, thereby using data that is guaranteed in its integrity, having passed through the rigorous verification and security of the design release process.

Access publishing commands from within an OutJob file.

In each case, use the subsequent Publish to dialog to define the required destination sub-folder in which to store the data.

Once published, set access rights for the folder, FTP site or Amazon S3 area as required (and if not already), then communicate availability of data to the required people. With a Box publishing destination, determine - through email - with whom to share the published data, at the time of publishing (in the Publish to dialog).

Global Sharing of Manufacturing Package Data

A key aspect of design projects managed within a Workspace is the ability to create and share a release Build Package with others. When shared directly with your manufacturer, it can then be thought of as a Manufacturing Package, since it is the package that the manufacturer can browse, download and use to fabricate and assemble the board.

Supporting the ability to share such a package with others, and with your manufacturer (who is typically outside of your organization), 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.

Each shared user will receive an email invite with a link to view a manufacturing package through the Manufacturing Package Viewer. Shared manufacturing packages are presented on the Shared with Me page of the browser-based Altium 365 Platform Interface.

The Manufacturing Package Viewer itself allows key stakeholders - and primarily the manufacturing personnel - to see a summary overview of the design, with key board data, along with the ability to browse the structure of the source, fabrication and assembly data (and to download any individual file thereof as needed). Fabrication, Assembly and BOM data sub-pages of the viewer are also provided, with the Fabrication page presenting a Gerber Viewer and allowing for comments to be added by all users whom the package has been shared with.

Ultimately, the manufacturing personnel can download a Build Package of the release they have viewed - and from any page of the Viewer - with which to get that revision of the board physically realized.

A manufacturing package that has been shared with you can be accessed from the Shared with Me page. The person with whom you shared the manufacturing package will receive an email invite to access that package 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 Manufacturing Package Viewer, with the package loaded. If the person does not have an AltiumLive account, they will need to register for one first - a link is provided on the Altium 365 Sign In page.

 

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