Releasing to a Workspace

This documentation page references Altium NEXUS/NEXUS Client (part of the deployed NEXUS solution), which has been discontinued. All your PCB design, data management and collaboration needs can now be delivered by Altium Designer and a connected Altium 365 Workspace. Check out the FAQs page for more information.

 

Parent page: Board Design Release

With the Release view in Online Mode, the release process is a staged flow, with the entries on the left-hand side of the view showing you at-a-glance, which stage you are currently at:

  1. Configure Server Release - this stage of the release process is where you specify the type(s) of data that you wish to generate: Source Data (always generated), Fabrication Data, Assembly Data (for base design and each detected variant).
  2. Validate Project – this next stage of the release process is run automatically when one or more Validation-type reports are detected in assigned OutJob file(s). All defined validation output generators, defined in an Output Job file assigned to the data item being released, are run.
  3. Generate Data – this next stage of the release process is run automatically. This is where all other outputs – defined in the OutJob file(s) assigned to the included Data Items – are run, to generate the data to be released into the relevant target items in the Workspace.
  4. Review Data – with all validation checks passed, and output data generated, this stage of the release process allows you to review the generated data.

    If you choose to use the Prepare & Release or Prepare & Release & Publish to PLM commands (from the menu associated with the button), the Project Releaser will not pause at the Review Data stage.
  5. Upload Data – after confirming the release in the previous stage, this next stage is automatically entered. It simply presents progress of data upload into the revisions of the relevant data Items in the target Workspace.
  6. Execution Report – this is the final stage of the process, providing a summary of the release. Navigation links are provided to quickly browse to the generated Item Revisions in the Explorer panel. If you have accessed the Project Releaser as part of a process to release and publish to a PLM, then the button will be presented. Click this to continue the underlying workflow for the process, to publish to the PLM.

    If you choose to use the Prepare & Release & Publish to PLM command (from the menu associated with the button), the Project Releaser will not pause at the Execution Report stage, and no button will be presented.
  7. Publish to PLM – this stage is only present when running the release under the relevant activated process (for releasing and then publishing to a PLM). This stage is entered automatically when the button is clicked in the previous stage (or entered directly if the Prepare & Release & Publish to PLM command (from the menu associated with the button), was used). The Login Credentials dialog will appear. Enter the Username and Password for your PLM instance, and select the PLM Template you want to use (which appears in the form <PLMInstance>:<PublishingTemplate>).

    Note that your PLM instance login credentials are only required for the first time you publish to that instance. These will then be stored with the Workspace. After that, any publishing of that project to that same PLM instance will proceed directly, in accordance with the defined workflow and chosen publishing template.
    If you're publishing for the first time and part numbers (on the PLM side) are not yet associated with the Workspace project, those part numbers will be created in the PLM and associated with the project as part of that initial publication. You also have the ability to define component entries for Workspace components in the PLM instance, as part of the publishing operation – to get a BOM of components within the PLM (optional, based on the publishing template defined and used when publishing the project to the PLM instance).

Online Stage 1 – Configure Server Release

This stage of the release process is where you specify the type(s) of data that you wish to generate. Data Items that can be released are:

  • Source Data – a snapshot of the source design.
  • Fabrication Data – the data required by a Fabrication House to create the bare board.
  • Assembly Data for the Base Design (no variations) – the data required by an Assembly House to fully populate the bare board in accordance with a Bill of Materials, and for the non-varied base design.
  • Assembly Data for Design Variant n – the data required by an Assembly House to populate the bare board in accordance with a Bill of Materials, and for Variant n of the base design.

The number of assembly data sets will correspond to the base (non-varied) design, and all detected variants defined for that design.

In addition, you can add and configure Custom Data sections – allowing you to create a customized set of release data. This is more for backward compatibility, or custom data flows. No references are created, except for the source data. Any number of custom data sets can be added and configured as part of the release (click the Add Section control beneath the list of currently defined data items).

Stage 1 of the project release process – configuring what is to be included in the release (what data to generate).
Stage 1 of the project release process – configuring what is to be included in the release (what data to generate).

The Source Data item is always included for a release. The other data items can be optionally included.

With the data items that are to be created as part of the release configured as required, click the button at the bottom-right of the view to proceed.

The button has two states. Clicking it will launch the standard Prepare command. This will proceed with the release up to the Review Data stage – allowing you to essentially double-check that all is in order before committing the release of the data. If you don't want to pause for review, use the drop-down menu associated with the button and choose the Prepare & Release command.

Several pre-release checks are performed as part of the preparation, including:

  • Making sure that the project and all files have been saved.
  • Making sure that the project and all relevant file(s) are committed to VCS if applicable.
  • Making sure that each enabled data item has been given a name.
  • Ensuring that the user has rights to create the target item (and revision).
  • Creating the required target Items (and planned revisions) in the Workspace, where they do not currently exist, and ensuring the next revision is used for those items that do.

If any issues are found, you will be offered solutions with which to resolve them (such as saving locally modified files and committing to VCS).

The Source Data Item is generated at this time – with a snapshot of the source design project files released to the target item revision.

Online Stage 2 – Validate Project

After Stage 1 completes without issue, this next stage of the release process is run automatically when one or more Validation-type reports are detected in assigned OutJob file(s). All defined validation output generators, defined in an Output Job file assigned to the data item being released, are run. This includes running any of:

  • Differences Report – using the comparator to determine if the source and PCB design documents are correctly in-sync.
  • Electrical Rules Check – checking the electrical/drafting validity of the captured source design.
  • Design Rules Check – checking the validity of the PCB document in relation to specified board-level design constraints.
  • BOM Checks – checking for possible violations associated with Design Items or Part Choices in the source BOM document (*.BomDoc), where available.
  • Footprint Comparison Report – comparing footprints on the board against their source library to ensure they are up-to-date, and matched.
  • Component State Checking – checking for components that are in restricted states. As part of configuration, you determine the action to be taken for each currently defined state, of each currently defined Lifecycle Definition in the target managed content server; no action, a warning, or generate an error. The latter will prevent release of the design. In addition, running the check will generate a handy HTML-based report, allowing you to see at-a-glance which design components are not in valid states.
  • Environment Configuration Compliance Check – checking that only data items permitted through the environment configuration available for use by your assigned role (if applicable), are being used. This check can also ensure that all design items are sourced from a Workspace.

If validation is successful, the icon is presented, with the text Passed. If not, the icon will be displayed, with the text Failed.

The release will fail if any validation checks are not passed successfully.
Clicking at the bottom-right of the view will stop the release process.

Online Stage 3 – Generate Data

After Stage 2 completes without issue, this next stage of the release process is run automatically. This is where all other outputs – defined in the OutJob file(s) assigned to the included Data Items – are run, to generate the data to be released into the relevant target items in the Workspace.

As with the other stages, but more noticeable with this stage, since it takes longer to run, icons are used to present the progress of generation:

– not yet run/generated.

– being run/generated.

– generated successfully.

– generation failed.

Clicking at the bottom-right of the view will stop the release process.

Online Stage 4 – Review Data

With all validation checks passed, and output data generated, this stage of the release process allows you to review the generated data.

If you chose to use the Prepare & Release command (from the menu associated to the button), the Project Releaser will not pause at the Review Data stage.

Review generated data, checking that all is as it should be, prior to committing to the release, and uploading the data to the Workspace.
Review generated data, checking that all is as it should be, prior to committing to the release, and uploading the data to the Workspace.

The page defaults to present a simple (compact) view of the generated data. Switch to a more detailed view by clicking the Details control associated with a section of interest.

Click on a Details control to switch from simple to detailed view of the generated data for the associated section. Switch back again by clicking the Hide Details control.
Click on a Details control to switch from simple to detailed view of the generated data for the associated section. Switch back again by clicking the Hide Details control.

In the compact view of the generated data, click a View link to open the associated data file, or file set, either within the relevant editor within Altium NEXUS (e.g. the CAM editor) or within the relevant external application (e.g. Microsoft Excel). In the detailed view, double-click on an entry to view just that file.

A common ready-for-release test used by many designers is to compare the Gerber files generated from the current release with the Gerber files from the previous release. For a project release to an Altium 365 Workspace, click the Compare Gerber link next to a Gerber output and select a previous release from the drop-down menu to compare prepared Gerber data with that from the chosen release. The comparison is performed in the Altium 365 platform. Your default Browser will open your Company Workspace and display the results.

Accessing the Gerber comparison feature from the Project Releaser, prior to releasing the data to an Altium 365 Workspace.
Accessing the Gerber comparison feature from the Project Releaser, prior to releasing the data to an Altium 365 Workspace.

Learn more about the Gerber Comparison feature.

In the Source Data section, in compact view, clicking the View link will open Windows File Explorer at the temporary folder in which the snapshot of the source files for the project has been saved. This functionality is also provided through the Explore link, at the right of the sections header. In fact, each section has such a control, to quickly jump to the sub-folder for that data, within the temporary folder.
In the detailed view, commands on the right-click context menu provide the ability to open a document and explore to where it has been generated (in the temporary folder). You can also add data columns for folder location and creation date – right-click on the heading area for a grid and choose the Select Columns command, giving access to a dialog with which to tailor the data presented.

If, after reviewing the data, you find you need to make modifications, click the button at the bottom-right of the view. A confirmation dialog will appear, alerting you to the fact that all generated data will be lost – clicking OK will cancel the release and you will be returned to Stage 1 of the process.

The system naturally prevents any modification of design files between preparing the release and releasing the data to the Workspace. If you do change design files in any way, the release process will terminate, and you will return to the initial stage, prior to release preparation.

If the generated data all looks good, proceed with the release by clicking the button (also at the bottom-right of the view). The Confirm Release dialog will appear, summarizing the configurations of the project that will be released to the managed content server. You also have the opportunity here to add a Name (by default the entry here is [ProjectName]), Description, and to add any pertinent release notes.

Confirmation of what will be released, in terms of the Item-Revisions generated, and the ability to change Name/Description and add release notes.
Confirmation of what will be released, in terms of the Item-Revisions generated, and the ability to change Name/Description and add release notes.

Online Stage 5 – Upload Data

After confirming the release in the previous stage, this next stage is automatically entered. It simply presents progress of data upload into the revisions of the relevant data Items in the Workspace.

This stage simply reflects progress of the upload of generated data to the linked Item-Revisions in the Workspace.
This stage simply reflects progress of the upload of generated data to the linked Item-Revisions in the Workspace.

Online Stage 6 – Execution Report

This is the final stage of the process, providing a summary of the release.

The final report for the release.
The final report for the release.

Use the Navigation Links to quickly access the associated Item Revision, containing the released data (Fabrication Data, Assembly Data, and any Custom Data sets), in the Explorer panel – your portal to your Workspace.

Viewing the released data for the project, directly in the Workspace, courtesy of the Explorer panel.
Viewing the released data for the project, directly in the Workspace, courtesy of the Explorer panel.

That's it – with your project released, you can simply close the Release view (using the button at the bottom-right of the view). And when you need to re-release the same project in the future, the Project Releaser facilitates this quickly and easily, and increments the target Item-Revisions automatically.

Each time you perform a release of the project, a Project Released event tile will be added to the timeline of the project's History view. The person who performed the release is presented by name (and picture), along with the date and time. If a release note was added at the time of releasing the generated data to the Workspace – through the Confirm Release dialog – then that will also be displayed within the tile. Each of the data sets included in the release will also be listed.

Example Project Released event tile in the project's History view.
Example Project Released event tile in the project's History view.

Learn more about the Project History.

 

Publishing to a PLM Instance

Related pages: PLM Integration, Publishing to a PLM

You have the ability to publish a design to a PLM instance, as part of running the Project Releaser in Altium NEXUS. The publishing operation uses a publishing template – defined as part of that PLM instances' integration configuration – to control how data should be propagated to the PLM. This feature is available through an appropriately configured process. A sample process definition is provided as part of the installation – Project Releaser with Publish – whose underlying workflow enables publishing to the integrated PLM instance as an additional stage of the Project Releaser. The workflow diagram is shown below.

This process definition cannot be activated and used as is. It is therefore more like a 'template' – edit to suit your company's requirements, name, and save as a new process definition, which you can then activate and use.

The workflow diagram of the default Project Releaser with Publish sample process definition
The workflow diagram of the default Project Releaser with Publish sample process definition

Once activated, the process for publishing to a PLM instance as part of the Project Releaser can be accessed from within Altium NEXUS from the Project » Project Releaser sub-menu for the active project.

Accessing the process for publishing to a PLM instance as part of the Project Releaser
Accessing the process for publishing to a PLM instance as part of the Project Releaser

Also accessible from the Project Releaser context sub-menu, accessed by right-clicking on the entry for the design project in the Projects panel.

The Project Releaser will appear, with an additional stage – 7. Publish to PLM. In addition, a command is available from the menu associated to the button – Prepare & Release & Publish to PLM – should you wish to run the Project Releaser without stopping to review the generated data and execution report.

An additional command for running the Project Releaser without stopping to review the generated data and execution report
An additional command for running the Project Releaser without stopping to review the generated data and execution report

If you run the Project Releaser with the standard Prepare command, after reviewing and releasing the data, the button will be presented at the Execution Report stage. Click this to continue the underlying workflow for the process, to publish to the PLM. The Login Credentials dialog will appear. Enter the Username and Password for your PLM instance, and select the PLM Template you want to use (which appears in the form <PLMInstance>:<PublishingTemplate>).

If you chose to use the Prepare & Release & Publish to PLM command, you will ultimately be presented with the Login Credentials dialog directly. The Project Releaser will not pause at the Execution Report stage, and no button will be presented.
Note that your PLM instance login credentials are only required for the first time you publish to that instance. These will then be stored with the Workspace. After that, any publishing of that project to that same PLM instance will proceed directly, in accordance with the defined workflow and chosen publishing template.

The Login Credentials dialog accessed during the first publishing to the PLM instance.
The Login Credentials dialog accessed during the first publishing to the PLM instance.

Click on the Diagram tab to see the underlying workflow for the process.

The Diagram tab of the Login Credentials dialog
The Diagram tab of the Login Credentials dialog

Click the button to proceed with the publishing process, in accordance with that workflow.

If you're publishing for the first time and part numbers (on the PLM side) are not yet associated with the Workspace project, those part numbers will be created in the PLM and associated with the project as part of that initial publication. You also have the ability to define component entries for Workspace components in the PLM instance, as part of the publishing operation – to get a BOM of components within the PLM (optional, based on the publishing template defined and used when publishing the project to the PLM instance).

Check the status of the publish to PLM process through the Workspace's browser interface, from the Activities view on the detailed management page for the project.

The detailed management page for the project page is opened by selecting the required project on the Projects page of the Workspace's browser interface, clicking the control above the listing of projects, and choosing the Open entry on the associated menu. Alternatively, double-click directly on the required project entry in the list. The page will open in a new browser tab.

The Activities view on the detailed management page for the project where the status of the publish to PLM process can be checked
The Activities view on the detailed management page for the project where the status of the publish to PLM process can be checked

You will always be able to see exactly what has been created, such as part numbers in the PLM instance, as part of the process workflow's history (History tab).
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