Altium Designer Documentation

Browser-based Web Review

Modified by Rob Evans on Dec 17, 2020
All Contents

The Altium Web Review feature provides universal access to PCB project documents through a standard web browser. Much more than just a web-based viewer, the 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.

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 the appearance of any related comment notifications.

The browser-based Web Review feature can be accessed from the NEXUS design client, 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 NEXUS Server user account and appropriate access privileges.

Web Review Access

In the Altium NEXUS design-side client the Web Review feature is available via the Explorer panel when a project is selected from the Server Folders tree. The availability of a project to users and teams is determined by its Sharing Permissions.

Click the button to open the Web Review for that project in the system's default web browser. The generated URL opens the server's Web Review interface and loads the current (latest) version of the selected project. This can be considered as a work-in-progress web review, since it shows the current state of the project documents. Use the button if you wish to access the NEXUS Server browser interface directly.

A project design does not need to be finalized or released before the Web Review feature is available for use. It therefore can be applied as a work-in-progress (WIP) insight into the design for project stakeholders.

Formally released versions of the project, as opposed to the current/latest version, may be opened for Web Review from the Releases tab of the Explorer panel's project view using the button. The generated Web Review URL in this case will apply to the release selected in the panel's list – highlighted, as shown below.

When invoked from the NEXUS design client Explorer panel, the Web Review interface is opened using the credentials of the currently signed in user, based on the session ID data included in the URL string. If the URL is sent to and opened by another user, the server will request their user credentials for access to the Web Review browser interface.

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 the NEXUS design client.

The sidebar pane on the left in the Web Review interface can be switched between its document Navigator and ERC/DRC Reports mode, via the pane's header drop down menu. Toggle the button to hide or show the sidebar.

In Navigator mode, select a document in the tree to open it for viewing and access. The rendered document display itself can provide interactive navigation through to lower levels in the project structure hierarchy. Double clicking on a schematic Sheet Symbol object for example will load the target schematic document. Hover the mouse over any object to see a pop-up information summary or hints for optional actions.

To navigate within the design document display, hold the right mouse button and drag to pan, and use the mouse wheel to zoom. Choose view options from the menu to incrementally zoom in/out, fit the document to the available view space or open it in full screen mode – press Esc to return to normal view mode. When viewing a PCB in 3D mode, selected using the button in the top border, hold the left mouse button and drag to alter the view angle.

Select the user icon () at the upper right of the screen to access the Web Review's settings menu, where you can choose between the GUI's Light and Dark contrast themes, toggle the cross-probing feature, or log out of the server.

Object data

Along with pop-summary information associated with a selected design object, Web Review also provides a more comprehensive data listing in its Properties pane, toggled open (if not already) from the icon in the top border of the interface.

In the schematic view, the panel lists the properties and pin data (if applicable) for a selected object, such as a component part, net, power object, etc. When viewing a PCB document the panel will show the properties of selected board layout objects such as pads, fills and nets. Where PCB objects typically overlay each other, such as when they occupy the same 2D space on different layers, clicking on the layout will open an annotated drop down list so the desired object can be selected.

When viewing a PCB layout, click on a board layer entry in the Layer bar (located in view's lower border) to toggle its visibility. Use the associated layer options menu () to show/enable layers, hide enabled layers, and change the layer labeling format – the options are; layer acronym-number (Short), layer type-number (Medium) and layer name (Long).

Web Review 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 sidebar header to invoke the object Search mode. To specify the search filter select an object type from the presented list, add a suffix to a selected object type, or just enter a specific search string. All objects that match the filter constraint are then listed. Select an entry in the list to automatically open its host document (if necessary) and zoom to the selected object.

When clicking through a large number of search results of varying object types (indicated by their matching icons), the search system will automatically open the related document and then select and zoom to that object regardless of its type -- as illustrated in the below video.

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:chip resistor array will return all resistor array components where they are identified by a property Value that contains that string.

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 left sidebar 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 the NEXUS design client.
  • DRC Reports – the listed DRC results are those generated by the most recent batch DRC run in the NEXUS design client. 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.

Cross-probing

As a further aid to navigating objects in a project design, Web Review supports cross-probing between Schematic and PCB documents.

Cross probing between schematic and PCB objects requires that both documents types are open in the browser interface. To open another document in a second browser tab, right-click on the existing browser tab, choose the Duplicate option (applies to Chrome and Firefox browsers) and then the appropriate PCB or Schematic document from the Navigation tree. If you are probing from a PCB to multiple Schematic documents, these can be opened in multiple tabs.

Cross probe by selecting an object in a schematic document to automatically select the corresponding object in a PCB document, or select a PCB object to also select that object in the schematic. The relevant object(s) on the target document will be zoomed to and centered (where possible) within the viewing area.

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Examples of the object relationships between schematic and PCB documents are; Part Component, Pin Pad, Net (Wire, Port, etc) Net (tracks).

Cross-probing is enabled by default, and the function can be disabled/enabled using the Cross-probing options found in the User menu – accessed from the button (top right).

Design Variants

Web Review offers graphic support for project Design Variants, which is available when design variations exist in the project being reviewed. To view added variations of a project design, select a Variation from the drop down menu associated with the project name at the top of the Web Review page.

Data Status Alert

To ensure that the latest design data is available for review, the Web Review display provides a Data Status pop-up that is triggered by an update in the current project data.

When viewing the Web Review page, a coincident project update such as a new Commit or Release will cause the server to reprocess the design data. Since the currently viewed data is out of date, the status pop-up alerts the user and provides a real-time indication of the reprocessing state, and then offers the option to open (reload) the page with the new data.

Comments

Web Review Comments correspond and interact with the Comments system in the Altium NEXUS design client. A Comment is a user-added note that is assigned to a specific area, object or point in schematic documents, and may be replied to by other users or assigned to a specific user.

Comments promote collaboration between users without altering the project itself or its constituent documents because comments are stored by the NEXUS Server independently of the design project. In the Web Review interface Comments are accessed through the Comments sidebar pane, opened by the button located in the upper right border.

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 icons located at the top of the document view:

  • Comment on object: Select the icon and then click on a schematic object to automatically create a comment area that applies to that object.
  • Comment on area: Select the icon and then hold the left mouse button and drag to define an area that the comment will apply to.
  • Freehand comment: Select the icon 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. Right click to confirm the markup placement.

When a markup has been placed 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 assign comment to another user, type the @ key while entering the note to enable a list of server users that the comment can be assigned to. Select a user from the list, check the Assign to: box to confirm, and then the button to submit the assigned comment.

Use the button menu in the Comments pane header to specify if resolved (closed) comments are listed (Show resolved comments) and/or to constrain the list to comments that apply to you (Show assigned to me only).

Comments applied in the Web Review space become available in the NEXUS design client, and visa-versa, and all changes to comments are reflected in both spaces. Any comments that have been assigned to the signed-in user will be presented in the software's Tasklist panel as an active response Task.

► See Document Commenting and the Comments panel for detailed information on placing and working with comments.

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