In addition to connecting to an Altium NEXUS Server through Altium NEXUS, and interfacing to it through the Explorer panel, you can also connect to it through a dedicated browser interface. In fact, connection in this way is more than just a connection to the NEXUS Server itself. Rather it is a connection into the Altium NEXUS Server platform, with access to management interfaces for the various services available as part of the wider NEXUS Server installation. Indeed, with some of these services, your only interaction with them is through this browser-based interface.
Accessing the Interface
To access your local Altium NEXUS Server through its browser-based interface, use a preferred external Web browser and type the address for the NEXUS Server in one of the following formats:
http://localhost:<PortNumber> - if accessing from the same computer on which the NEXUS Server is installed.
(e.g. http://designerhome:9780, or http://localhost:9780, for an Altium NEXUS Server installed using the default port assignment). You will be presented with a Sign-in page.
Depending on your browser, you can drop the http:// part, and simply enter <ComputerName>:<PortNumber>, or localhost:<PortNumber>.
Sign in through the browser interface using the same NEXUS Server credentials used to connect through Altium NEXUS. For a newly installed Altium NEXUS Server, there is a default administrative user with the credentials:
While the default admin user could be left for general entry to the NEXUS Server by administrators, it is a good idea to change the First Name, Last Name and Username to something more meaningful for your organization. And it's definitely a good idea to change the default password from admin to something only known/passed to authorized administrators - otherwise everyone could access the NEXUS Server as an administrator!
If you want to sign in using your Windows login credentials - taking advantage of the NEXUS Server's support for Windows Authentication - enable the Use Windows Session option.
Access an Altium NEXUS Server, and its associated platform services, through a preferred external Web browser. Roll the mouse over the image to see the effect of successfully signing in to the interface.
The interface provides a number of key technologies and services, and can be coarsely divided into two groupings, as shown in the following image, and listed thereafter.
The overall browser interface can be divided into two distinct sets of interface elements - those accessible in general by all users of the NEXUS Server, and those accessible only by NEXUS Server Administrators.
Interface elements that can be accessed by any NEXUS Server user. Note that some sub-elements may be admin-only, and they will be highlighted in the detailed sections that follow. To access a page, click on its name within the left-hand navigation tree.
Interface elements that can only be accessed by a NEXUS Server Administrator. A single, administrative user is provided, admin. This user, and any additional user, is bestowed administrative powers by membership to the role Administrators. To access a page, choose the required entry within the Admin section of the left-hand navigation tree.
The banner area at the top of the interface reflects the user that is currently signed into the NEXUS Server, along with a picture (if defined), and the current page of the interface being browsed. The drop-down menu associated with the entry provides a control for logging out. The Notifications control () will flag any notifications - click this to access your Stream page, from where you can browse and read these notifications. Many such notifications can also be sent from the NEXUS Server through its email notifications service. For more information, see Configuring Server Email Notifications through the Browser Interface. In addition, and for administrators only, the Health Monitor control () will flag a count of any warnings and errors detected by the server's Health Monitor. Click this to access the Health page of the interface.
General Access Interface Elements
The following sections summarize the elements of the NEXUS Server's browser interface that can be accessed by all users of the NEXUS Server - both administrators and standard users.
This page provides quick reference information, tailored to, and relevant for, the NEXUS Server user who is currently signed in through the interface.
Example content for a user on their Home page.
The page presents two lists:
Recent Activity - this is very much a reflection of the real-time notifications found on the Stream page of the interface. Each message includes a link to the entity affected by the event, on the relevant page of the interface. The most recent event appears at the top of the list.
My Projects - this is a listing of managed projects, complete with description (where available), that have been created by the signed-in user. The name of a project acts as a link to that project, on the Projects page of the interface. The most recently created project appears at the top of the list.
The URL to the Server - the Server Address - is also provided. This is the URL to use when connecting to the NEXUS Server from Altium NEXUS. Use the button to quickly grab the URL for pasting into the Server Address field, in Altium NEXUS's Sign in to Server dialog.
This area provides the interface to the Identity Service (IDS), to define applicable service access, through specification of users and roles.
Access and manage the users of your Altium NEXUS Server.
Controls are spread over the following sub-pages:
Users - use this page to create and manage a list of users; people who are to have access to the NEXUS Server and/or the associated technologies installed with it.
Roles - use this page to create and manage a list of roles; roles allow you to further organize your users according to, for example, the particular section of the organization in which they are involved, or the design team they are in. Roles also make the sharing of NEXUS Server content, and the configuration of other served technologies, more streamlined.
LDAP Sync - use this page to configure and run an LDAP Sync task. This allows an administrator of your Altium NEXUS Server to leverage the network domain’s existing username and password credentials, so that user credentials do not have to be created manually one at a time on the Users page. When setup correctly, the Users page will automatically populate with user credentials, enabling any user listed to sign into the NEXUS Server using their regular corporate network username and password.
Sessions - use this page to quickly assess which of your users are currently signed into the Altium NEXUS Server. Provision is made for an administrator to terminate a user's access to the NEXUS Server by effectively 'killing' their active session, thereby freeing connections to the Server for use by others.
Two administrative users are provided with a new NEXUS Server installation - admin and System. The former allows you to quickly get access to your NEXUS Server as an administrator. Once you have added other users, you can keep and edit the admin user (change its name and password for example), or delete it. The System user is used for all background tasks (including LDAP Sync, and Notifications). This user cannot be edited or deleted and is permanently online.
Only an administrative user has full access to management controls. While a non-administrative user can browse Users and Roles, they cannot access LDAP Sync or Sessions. And while management of users by a non-administrative user is not generally possible, they are able to change the profile of their own user - including changing username and password.
This page provides the interface to the Projects service, to create and manage projects in a central location, and share those projects for team collaboration as required. The page lists all Managed Projects for the organization. Managed Projects target the development stage of the project lifecycle, simplifying the creation and ongoing workflow for version controlled projects. From here you can create new projects, and open and manage existing ones. From this interface, a project can also be shared, or rather its access permissions configured.
The beauty of Managed Projects is that they are version controlled by default, and can be collaboratively worked upon without having to worry about shared drives, servers, agreements etc.
Prior to creating a new Managed Project, or converting an existing non-managed project, ensure that a Design Repository exists in which to store that project, and all future projects. Design Repositories are centrally managed as part of the Altium NEXUS Server, through its local Version Control service. A new installation of the Altium NEXUS Server provides a single Git-based design repository - Versioned Storage - for accommodating all of your managed design projects. If you have upgraded your Server from Altium NEXUS Server 1.0 (or Altium Vault 3.0), then use of SVN repositories will also be enabled, so that you can continue to use your previous (and established) design flow. In this case, you can continue to create repositories through the local Version Control service (SVN-only), or connect to external repositories (SVN or Git).
Centralized project management - all part of your Altium NEXUS Server installation.
A project created through this interface, or through Altium NEXUS, will initially be available to the designer who created it, and all Administrators for the Altium NEXUS Server, in terms of full Read/Write access. The project will also be shared publicly, for Read-only access, to all users of the NEXUS Server. To make it accessible to others simply share it, by configuring its permissions.
This page gives you access to the structure of the Altium NEXUS Server, and is similar in presentation and layout to that of the Explorer panel. From here, you will be able to browse the folders and Items within the NEXUS Server. And although you can't create or edit Items from within the browser interface (you can remove them), you are able to create and edit folders, and so build the structure of the Server, without having to be connected to that Server through Altium NEXUS.
You can also define sharing from this interface - controlling who is able to see what content in the NEXUS Server, and whether other users can simply view a folder and its content, or also edit it (effectively releasing design data into it). A single NEXUS Server can be partitioned into various effective 'zones' of content, but with controlled permissions, the content can be made selectively visible, or hidden, as required - giving the right people, the right access, to the right data.
Content can also be downloaded from the NEXUS Server, directly from this interface.
Browse and define the structure of your Altium NEXUS Server, as well as defining access and being able to download content.
NEXUS Server Administrators will be able to see and manage all Server content. For a shared user of the NEXUS Server (non-admin), only those folders that have been shared - i.e. the user has permissions to access - will be accessible when the user signs in to the NEXUS Server.
Non-administrative users can only share a folder they have created.
This page provides a live feed of event notifications, applicable to, and relevant for, the NEXUS Server user who is currently signed in through the interface. The page can be accessed in two ways:
By clicking the Stream entry within the left-hand navigation tree - this will list all notifications.
By clicking the Notifications control (), at the top-right of the interface. This will list all unread notifications (The number next to the Notifications control reflects the number of currently unread messages in the stream).
Example content for a user on their Stream page.
Each message in the stream carries similar information:
The name of the user whose action has resulted in the event.
The time the event happened (in terms of how many minutes, hours, or days have elapsed since the event occurred).
An automated message describing the event. A link is also included to the entity affected by the event. This can be:
A Managed Project (on the Projects page of the interface).
A Component Item Revision (on the Explorer page of the interface).
An Item Revision at the center of a state transition approval request (on the Explorer page of the interface).
A Part Request (on the Part Requests page of the interface).
An optional user-added note, where available, that gives extra information.
The most recent event appears at the top of the list.
By default, all notification types are presented (unless accessed from the Notifications control, in which case only unread notifications will be listed). To change this, click on the All control and choose a particular notification type to display. Supported notification types are:
Use the Mark as read control, to the right of a notification, to mark it as read. This removes that message from the unread list, and also from the number of unread messages indicated next to the Notifications control. To quickly clear the unread status from all messages, click the Mark All as Read control, at the top-right of the list.
This page enables you to create and manage requests for new managed components. An engineer can simply put in a request for one or more parts to be created, and get notified when that request has either been completed, and the component(s) made available, or rejected (and why). The requestor supplies as much key information to support their request as possible (manufacturer and part number(s), description(s), any relevant datasheet (PDF or URL)). Stub Component Items can even be created that the librarian can then run with (and finish off).
You'll need to specify which role (or roles) should be used to fulfill the role of Librarians for your organization. In essence, you are configuring a set of users of your managed content server, that can be assigned to a part request. This is performed by a Server Administrator, through the Admin - Settings - Vault - Part Requests - Librarians Role page of the Server's browser-based interface.
Adding a new part request through the managed content server's browser interface. Hover over the image to see the form presented to receive the details of the request.
Initially, a part request is visible to the original requestor, and all members of the nominated librarian role(s). Once the request has been assigned to a particular librarian, only the requestor and that librarian will see it, and receive notifications about it.
Upon creation of a part request, the requestor, members of the Librarian role, and Server administrators, will receive notification in their message stream, on the Stream page of the managed content server's browser interface (and summarized on the Home page of that interface). In addition to the these event notifications, email notifications will also be received - providing the Email Notifications feature is enabled. This is performed by an Administrator, on the Email Notifications page (Admin - Settings - Email Notifications) of the Server's browser interface.
Admin-Only Interface Elements
The following sections summarize the elements of the NEXUS Server's browser interface that can only be accessed by Administrative users of the NEXUS Server - those who are part of the Administrators role. Access to these elements is through the dedicated Admin area of the left-hand navigation tree.
If signed into the NEXUS Server as a non-administrative user, the Admin area of the tree will be hidden.
This page (Admin - Settings) provides a collection of sub-pages for configuration of options relating to various features and services provided by, and through, an Altium NEXUS Server installation.
The Settings area - part of the admin-only pages within the NEXUS Server's browser-based interface.
When changing any settings, be sure to click the button, at the top-right of a page.
The left-hand side of the page provides a navigation tree with which to quickly access various sub-pages of settings. The following pages are available:
General - use this page to change the Name and Description for the NEXUS Server.
AltiumLive Credentials - when using the Network Installation Service (NIS), use this page to enter the credentials used to log into the Altium Cloud (AltiumLive) where the installers are to be sourced from. When using the Private License Service through the NEXUS Server, these credentials allow the Private License Service (PLS) to communicate directly with your Altium account for the initial acquisition of your company licenses. Credentials must also be entered in order to access and obtain initial licensing for the Server itself, from the Altium Cloud.
Session Lifetime - use this page to enter a value for the IDS Session Lifetime (in hours). This is how long a NEXUS Server user has to remain connected, in a single session, when using a seat of the applicable Client Access License (Altium NEXUS Server CAL). By default, the session lifetime is 24 hours.
License Manager - this page provides settings relating to using the Private License Service, and selection of its mode. A pre-set suitable default value is used for the Altium Cloud portal URL (http://portal2.altium.com/?cls=soap).
Network Installation - when using the Network Installation Service (NIS), use this page to define the update checking interval. This is the frequency (in minutes) that the Automatic Updates feature will check for available new versions of the applicable software in the Altium Cloud Repository.
Email Notifications - this page provides settings to enable and configure the NEXUS Server's email notifications feature. This facility flags a variety of events to key stakeholders, relating to Component Items, Managed Projects, Approval Requests, and Part Requests.
Vault - not a page, but rather a structural entry for gathering together settings related to specific functionality within the NEXUS Server itself.
Part Requests - a structural page to gather the following sub-pages related to the Part Request feature:
Librarians Role - use this page to specify which role (or roles) should be used to fulfill the role of Librarians for your organization. In essence, you are simply configuring a set of users of your Altium NEXUS Server, that can be assigned to a part request.
Custom States - use this page to customize opened and closed states for the Part Request feature.
Lifecycle Definitions - use this page to define and manage your NEXUS Server's lifecycle definitions, complementing the ability to do this through Altium NEXUS. Providing better visibility of the states and transitions involved, each lifecycle is built in a graphical way, showing at-a-glance the flows involved.
Permissions - this page provides a single option that allows managed components to be deleted from the NEXUS Server, even if they have been placed on a design document.
Components - use this page to define default target folders in which new models should be created, when creating a new Component Item. To change a default folder, click the button. The Vault Explorer window will appear with which to choose the desired new default target release folder for that model type. Once chosen, click OK to close the window and return to the Components page, with the applicable field updated with the new folder path.
Projects - use this page to specify the default path (within the NEXUS Server's folder structure) for newly-released projects. You can also define default sharing permissions for new projects, so that the right users and/or roles have access to those projects from the moment they are created.
This page (Admin - VCS) provides the interface to the NEXUS Server installation's local Version Control Service, for managing the SVN-based Design Repositories that designers in the organization can validly access and use while working on design projects. Repositories can be created through this service, or external repositories can be connected to.
A new installation of the Altium NEXUS Server provides a single Git-based design repository for accommodating all of your managed design projects - and that's it! This avoids any setup and complexity regarding the Server's local Version Control service. You have a single design repository - Versioned Storage - for all your designers to access and release into. As such, the VCS page of the Server's browser interface becomes purely informational - you cannot add a new repository, and the single Git repository cannot be modified in any way, nor deleted. If you have upgraded your Server from Altium NEXUS Server 1.0 (or Altium Vault 3.0), then use of SVN repositories will also be enabled, so that you can continue to use your previous (and established) design flow. In this case, you can continue to create repositories through the local Version Control service (SVN-only), or connect to external repositories (SVN or Git).
The browser-based interface to the Altium NEXUS Server's local VCS service.
This page (Admin - Configurations) provides the interface to the Team Configuration Center (delivered through the NEXUS Server installation as the Team Configuration Service). The role of the Team Configuration Center (sometimes referred to as TC2) is simplicity itself - to give the organization centralized control over the environment its designers operate in. It achieves this through the definition and management of Environment Configurations. These are used to constrain each designer's Altium NEXUS working environment to only use company-ratified design elements, including schematic templates, output job configuration files, and workspace preferences. In other words, it facilitates Centralized Environment Configuration Management.
Any number of environment configurations may be defined through the Center's dedicated browser-based interface. The data used and enforced by each configuration - referred to as Configuration Data Items - are sourced from the Altium NEXUS Server. And by associating each environment configuration with a specific user role, and in turn assigning users to those roles, the correct working environment is loaded into Altium NEXUS as soon as the user signs in to the Altium NEXUS Server. Using this role-based approach ensures that a designer always gets the setup they are entitled to, no matter whether they have their own PC, or are sharing a single PC with fellow designers.
The interface allows for an administrator to craft one or more environment configurations, depending on the needs of the organization. Each configuration requires the definition of:
Configuration Name - a meaningful name, perhaps reflective of the people whose working environment it is to govern.
Configuration Data - the elemental constraints of the configuration. The revisions of supported data items that can be validly used by a user targeted by the configuration.
Target Roles - specification of whom the environment configuration applies to. Roles themselves are simply groupings of users, defined and stored as part of the NEXUS Server's Identity Service. These are the same roles that are defined and used by the NEXUS Server to control access permissions.
Access the Team Configuration Service, from where to define and manage environment configurations for your organization.
Configuration data is stored in the Altium NEXUS Server's database.
This page (Admin - Part Providers) enables you to define a list of Part Sources - facilitating centralized supply chain management, with designers across the entire organization using the same approved list of Suppliers, with which to source supply chain intelligence for parts used in their designs.
The available Part Sources in the NEXUS Server are:
Altium Parts Provider - an aggregate supplier data service that provides access to live component information from a comprehensive range of parts suppliers. This Part Source is installed by default.
The Altium Parts Provider settings that are established in the Altium NEXUS Server will override those in Altium NEXUS (through the installed Altium Parts Provider extension) when a user signs in to the NEXUS Server.
Custom Database Parts Provider - for situations where parts supply data needs to be accessed from a local database, such as a company’s internal parts database, the NEXUS Server's Custom Database Parts Provider feature offers interface connectivity for all common database systems (directly, or via an ODBC or OLE-DB interface). The connection can be established manually, through a nominated interface and connection string, or by using the NEXUS Server's Connection Wizard. Any number of such connections can be defined.
A database connected to by the Custom Database Parts Provider interface system must be locally available to the Altium NEXUS Server - that is, the database itself must be located on the PC that hosts the NEXUS Server. In addition, for Altium NEXUS to be able to interface to any parts database connection that has been setup in the NEXUS Server, the Custom Database Parts Provider extension must be installed as part of your Altium NEXUS installation (which it is by default).
The actual supply chain intelligence - comprising Manufacturer (and part number), Supplier (and part number), Description, Pricing and Availability - is sourced from the NEXUS Server's local Part Catalog and the relevant Part Source.
Each Altium NEXUS Server instance has its own dedicated Part Catalog. This is a managed local part catalog database, dedicated to the management and tracking of manufacturer parts and their associated supplier parts. The catalog is installed as a service (Part Catalog Service), provided through the Altium NEXUS Server platform, and works only with the Altium NEXUS Server. The local Part Catalog stores items representative of actual Manufacturer Parts, along with one or more items representative of Supplier Parts - the incarnations of those Manufacturer Parts, as sold by the Suppliers/Vendors. Each Supplier Part is a reference to an item in a parts database - either the aggregate parts database of the Altium Parts Provider (which itself interfaces to, and gathers the parts from, enabled Suppliers), or a linked local parts database.
Enabling required Suppliers and determining Location/Currency ranges for the Altium Parts Provider. This is the default Part Source for the Altium NEXUS Server. You can also add
any number of links to internal company parts databases.
This page (Admin - Health) draws attention to, and provides overview information on, the Altium NEXUS Server Health Monitor. Provided as a stand-alone, independent application, the Health Monitor delivers a visual summary of the state of the host machine, the NEXUS Server storage system and the NEXUS Server's Services.
The Health Monitor can be launched - on the computer hosting the NEXUS Server - using the desktop shortcut that is created when the NEXUS Server is installed. Alternatively, the Health Monitor tool can be found in the \Program Files (x86)\Altium\Altium NEXUS Server\Tools\HealthMonitor folder as the avhealth.exe executable. Note that the folder also includes a simplified command-line tool: avConsoleHealth.exe.
The tool also includes context related hints, information and paths to important locations and log files, which allows NEXUS Server Administrators to preemptively detect and resolve any issues that may affect NEXUS Server users. Since it operates as an independent entity that queries the NEXUS Server and its host system, the Health Monitor will deliver crucial data and information even in the unlikely event that the NEXUS Server is not fully functioning.
The Health Monitor Dashboard GUI provides an instant view of the NEXUS Server status and that of its support infrastructure, plus links to more information. Many of the error/warning
conditions detected by the Health Monitor offer links intended to help resolve the situation. These are included in the item's detailed information, available when clicking on its status information.
The Health Monitor provides two additional tabs as part of its interface:
Log Browser - this tab presents Error and Warning entries from all of the NEXUS Server’s available Log files, normally located in the \ProgramData\Altium\NexusServerData\logs folder. Controls are provided to filter the cumulative listing of log events, open log files, or archive and delete the current logs (Clean Logs).
Status Report - this tab is used to create and display NEXUS Server status report files. The generated reports collate all the event debug information in a single Zip archive (*.zip) that can be sent, when necessary, to Altium Developers.
This page (Admin - Licenses) provides the interface to obtain and manage licenses - both for the licensing of the NEXUS Server itself, and also for serving to client machines over the local network, through the appropriately configured Private License Service (PLS).
Use the various tabs within the Licenses area to obtain, manage, and assign licensing for the NEXUS Server, and for serving to your local network through the PLS. And use the various
reports that are available to keep an eye on license usage.
Three tabs are available:
Licenses - provides a listing of all licenses currently available. At least two licenses will be required to actually license the Altium NEXUS Server (Altium NEXUS Server and Altium NEXUS Server CAL). Other licenses can be added for serving through the PLS. Licenses can be acquired either From cloud (choose from a list of licenses available to your company from the Altium portal), or From file (import existing alf license files from disk).
These same licenses are used, regardless of the backend database (Firebird or Oracle).
Roles - provides the ability to assign licenses to Roles of Users (or groupings of users). In Local PLS mode, the NEXUS Server PLS can selectively offer software licenses that have been assigned to a specific Role. By default (unless otherwise specified), all licenses acquired by the NEXUS Server are assigned to theAll Users Role, and therefore available to any User that connects to the PLS.
Reports - the Private License Service includes a range of license usage monitoring and reporting features that can be used to audit how licenses are used within an organization. This is useful for ensuring that the best use is being made of the available license seats, for anticipating future license requirements, and to determine the usage of individual Users. A range of reporting options are available, accessed by specific sub-tabs. Depending upon the type of information that's required for each report, the associated reporting filters can be applied to tailor the results to include specific Licenses, Roles, Users, and time periods. There is also an option to export the current report to disk in CSV format, compatible with Microsoft Excel and other spreadsheet applications, for administration and accounting purposes.
This page (Admin - Installations) provides the interface to the Network Installation Service, through which you can perform installations or updates to Altium products over your local network, and enables centralized control of software availability, configuration and its capabilities. Using NIS, you acquire software product files from Altium, and then assemble these into a configurable software deployment package. The locally stored package can then be deployed to networked workstations as a software installer executable (*.msi), or as a direct installation using Microsoft’s Active Directory Group Policy.
To use the NIS, the computer on which the Altium NEXUS Server is installed must have connection to the internet.
The Installations page of the Altium NEXUS Server's browser-based interface - your connection to the Network Installation Service.
Controls are spread over the following tabs:
Products & Extensions - your view into the set of available Altium product and extension installers, available to you based on your provided AltiumLive credentials. These are stored in Altium's Cloud Repository.
Deployment Packages - where you create and configure a Deployment Package, which stipulates how to install the chosen product and extensions. Once created, an associated Windows Installer Package file (*.msi) can be downloaded, and used to install the software on a target client machine, or on all client machines throughout the company.
Updates - presents a convenient area in which to configure how you want your products and extensions, in your local Altium NEXUS Server, to be updated. You can configure them to either be updated manually, or automatically.
Server Storage - lists what products and extensions are available in your local Altium NEXUS Server (those that you have previously acquired). A deployment package can only include products and extensions that are listed in this tab.
Tasks - presents an Operations Log reflecting a task that is currently running, or has been run.
This page (Admin » Status) provides status-related information for the NEXUS Server, and quick access to log files. It is presented over three regions:
Installed Services - providing version information for the current Altium NEXUS Server installation.
Path to database and files - providing information about the installation paths for the database and data, including the type of database being used by the Altium NEXUS Server.
Logs - providing information about the installation path to log files. For each distinct service, click on the associated icon to download a zip containing the relevant set of log files.
The Status page provides installation details, as well as log files for the various services.