Parent page: Workspace Configuration
Each Item in a connected Workspace is comprised of a series of revisions, with a new revision used to accommodate new data, each time that data is modified and committed/uploaded/released. The revision, therefore, reflects the progress of the Item as it undergoes changes. Or to say that the other way around, if the data entity represented by the Item changes, the revision must be incremented to reflect that.
For any revision of an Item, it is also important to reflect the current state of that revision – what stage of its 'life' it has reached. This status is referred to as the Item Revision's
The lifecycle allows a company to manage the Item from a business perspective, and in accordance with company policies and practices. With this lifecycle information, people that need to use an Item in a Workspace – from a designer contemplating reuse of a released design 'building block', to the supply chain needing the data to fabricate and assemble a board – are able to see, at-a-glance, what stage a revision of an Item has reached in its 'life' and therefore what it can be safely used for.
Modeling the Lifecycle
While different organizations may choose to model or label the lifecycle of design items slightly differently, they will all follow a similar theme. For example, the general cycle of a product’s life will be something like: it starts as a design idea, then becomes a prototype, then goes into production, then at some point becomes obsolete and is no longer made or sold.
Using lifecycle status information on every component of a design helps to ensure that a design can only be promoted to a higher state if that new state is less than or equal to the lowest-state component within the design. For example, if a design is ready to move into production, it should only be allowed to do so if all components within it are also in production – i.e. components that are still
In Prototype (or New From Design) must be promoted to In Production before the design as a whole can be promoted to that level.
In many cases, the revisions of design Items will progress through the various lifecycle states linearly however it should not be assumed that this is the only path that can be taken. For example, some Item revisions may end up being abandoned before they have even reached the prototyping stage. In a connected Workspace, the allowable states that an Item's revision can move between are defined by a
Transition table included in the lifecycle definition.
A connected Workspace supports two levels of lifecycle management:
Simple or Advanced. These essentially determine the style of management, upon which the lifecycle definitions themselves are then built. For a lifecycle definition based on the simple management style, only states and state transitions are involved. For a lifecycle definition based on the advanced management style, states can be further clustered into defined stages. States, Stages, and Transitions
Related page: Accessing the Detailed Item View
Each point in an Item Revision's lifecycle is referred to as a
State, for example In Production. When an Item's revision changes state it is referred to as a Transition, which can only be to another state.
Lifecycle definitions based on the advanced management style support states being clustered into
Stages. Stages allow labels to be created that identify where an Item's revision is in its development. For example, it could be in Design, or in Prototype, or in Production.
An example lifecycle definition whose states are clustered into three stages.
The image below shows a snippet from the detailed
Item view for an Item that employs a 3-level Revision Naming Scheme: Model, Prototype, and Revision. Each model is shown as a separate block. Within a model, each prototype is a sub-block. Below each prototype are the revisions of that model/prototype, then within each revision are the different states that the revision existed in.
Example lifecycle states for various revisions of an Item. Default Lifecycle Definitions
A connected Workspace provides eight default lifecycle definitions. These default definitions can be used 'as is', or modified to suit company (or personal) requirements. New, custom definitions can also be added and configured, as required.
The default lifecycle definitions are as follows:
Sample - Basic Lifecycle
Sample - Simple Lifecycle
Sample - Simple Lifecycle With Approvals
Sample - Structured Lifecycle With Approvals
The lifecycle definition applied is chosen at the individual Item level, when creating an Item. Different Items can therefore have different lifecycle definitions assigned to them.
Managing Lifecycle Definitions
From within Altium Designer, lifecycle definitions can be viewed and managed from within the
Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog. To access this dialog for the connected Workspace to which you are currently signed in:
Data Management – Servers page of the Preferences dialog. Click the
Properties control, at the far right of the Active Server's entry. Choose the
Lifecycles command from the associated menu.
Lifecycle Definitions for the active connected Workspace are created and edited – in Altium Designer – through the Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog. Shown here is opening the dialog for a connected Altium 365 Workspace. Hover the cursor over the image to see opening the dialog for a connected Concord Pro Workspace. Browser-based Lifecycle Management
Your connected Workspace provides the ability to define and manage lifecycle definitions through its browser interface, complementing the ability to do this through Altium Designer. And providing better visibility of the states and transitions involved, each lifecycle is built in a graphical way, showing at-a-glance the flows involved.
Defining and managing a lifecycle definition through the Workspace's browser interface is very much a visual affair. A definition is built rather like a flow diagram, using various graphical objects representing the states and state transitions (and stages if using an
Advanced style of management).
Define your lifecycle definitions in a visual way, with graphical objects representing the stages, states, and transitions. Shown here is an example of a lifecycle definition in the browser interface of a connected Altium 365 Workspace. Hover the cursor over the image to see an example for a connected Concord Pro Workspace. Adding a New Definition
To create a new Lifecycle Definition, click the
button at the bottom of the Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog. A new tab will appear in the dialog, ready to be configured.
Create your own, custom lifecycle definition. Configuring a Definition
Use the controls available within a lifecycle definition's tab to configure that definition as required.
First, enter a meaningful name for the definition in the
Definition Name field. The tab will dynamically reflect the name entered.
Lifecycle Management controls to select the style of lifecycle management – either Simple or Advanced. The simple style means there are only States and State Transitions involved. The advanced style allows definition of Stages, into which the states are clustered.
Specify the name and style for the lifecycle definition. Initial State
Initial State of Revisions field to determine the starting state for an Item Revision, that is, the state for the revision in which it contains no released data – the 'pre-release state' as it were. By default, this state is named
Planned. To change it, click the link and use the
State Properties dialog to determine its name and a description, as well as text and background colors.
Configure the initial state for revisions. Stages
Advanced style of lifecycle management is chosen, controls for adding and defining the required stages become available. A single stage – named
Design - is provided by default, with the possibility to add a further two stages. To add an additional stage, click the
Add Stage link.
Enter names for the stages as required by typing directly into the respective
Stage Name field.
Add stages as required, which will be used to cluster states and create a more enriched, structured lifecycle definition. States
The next step is to add the required states for the lifecycle definition. For a lifecycle definition based on the simple style of management, this will be a flat listing. For the advanced style of management, this will require adding states to the various defined stages.
control below a state listing to add a new state. Use the State Properties dialog that appears to define that state in terms of its name, description, and color attributes.
Adding a state to the lifecycle definition.
A new state is added to the bottom of the list. Click on a state to select it, then use the
and controls (below the state listing) to move it to the required location in the list.
When defining states for an advanced-style lifecycle definition, additional controls are available (below the state listing) to move a state between stages. Depending on the position of the stage, push the state to the stage on the right (
), or left ( ) as required.
Example states defined across a two-stage lifecycle definition. Transitions
The last step is to define the
State Transitions – the paths between the different states. Click to select a state, then click the control to the far right to add a new state transition. Use the State Transition Properties dialog that appears to define the transition in terms of its name, target (next) state, menu text, and permissions.
Adding a state transition.
A new transition is added to the bottom of the list. Click on a transition to select it, then use the
and controls beneath the state listing to move it to the required location in the list.
Where the next state for a transition resides in a different stage, an indication arrow – in the color of the target state – will be displayed to show this.
Example of fully defined states and state transitions across a two-stage lifecycle definition. Arrows are used to indicate transitions across stages.
The following table provides a listing of states and state transitions used in the default
Sample - Structured Lifecycle With Approvals lifecycle definition.
New From Design
All new, unreleased Item Revisions start in the
Planned state. An Item Revision in this state cannot have its lifecycle status manually changed, it can only be released, automatically transitioning to
New from Design.
New from Design
Set Ready for Prototype
Pending Prototype Approval
Indicates that this Item Revision has been released so is now
New from Design. Once ready to go for prototyping, it can be transitioned to
Pending Prototype Approval.
If the Item Revision is deemed not necessary at this stage, it can be
Pending Prototype Approval
Approve for Prototype
Item Revision is ready to be approved for prototyping. Successful approval transitions the revision to the
In Prototype state.
Disapprove for Prototype
New From Design
If an Item Revision fails to be approved for prototyping, it is transitioned back to
New from Design.
New from Design
An abandoned Item Revision can be recovered, restoring it to
New from Design.
Set Ready for Production
Pending Production Approval
The Item Revision is
In Prototype, typically this is a state when you are ready to assemble the first physical prototypes. If it passes prototype testing then it can be transitioned to
Pending Production Approval.
Rollback to Design
New from Design
If the Item Revision fails testing, then it should be transitioned back to
New from Design.
If the Item Revision cannot be developed any further (perhaps it needs design changes, requiring a new Revision), then transition it to
Pending Production Approval
Approve for Production
Item Revision is ready to be approved for production. Successful approval transitions the revision to the
In Production state.
Disapprove for Production
If the Item Revision cannot be released to production, it can be transitioned back to
Closed Prototype is one that is considered unable to be further developed. If it is possible to continue with it, it can be transitioned back to
Rollback to Prototype
If an Item Revision is in Production but there is some reason it cannot be produced, it can be transitioned back to
If you are planning to stop making the Item at its current revision (perhaps a component used on the board is becoming difficult to buy), you transition it to be
Obsolete Production Item
If an Item Revision that is currently In Production is no longer able to be made, it can be immediately
Obsolete Deprecated Item
Deprecated typically means production can continue from existing stock, but new components for that Item Revision should not be ordered. If this changes and such stock is no longer available, the revision can be made Obsolete.
Reactivate Deprecated Item
Deprecated Item to be
Reactivate Obsolete Item
Obsolete Item to be
Deprecate Obsolete Item
Obsolete Item to
Controlling Transitions between Lifecycle States
The connected Workspace provides great flexibility for deciding who can make particular state transitions for an Item Revision in that Workspace – the action of transitioning a revision from one state to another different state, as defined by the lifecycle definition employed for its parent Item. It is possible to prohibit standard (non-administrative) users from transitioning between specific lifecycle states on the fly while opening up permissions to more than just Workspace Administrators. You have the ability to specify permissions at the global level – as part of global operation permissions for the Workspace – and also at the individual state transition level. The latter act in conjunction with those settings at the global level, and facilitate fine-tuning of permissions for those more important transitions (for example setting an Item Revision to be
Ready for Production).
With various levels of permission control, you can define a lifecycle state transition strategy that adheres to your organization's preferred approach.
Permissions can be defined at two levels:
Globally – defining which users and/or roles can perform state transitions, for the entire range of defined transitions across all defined lifecycle definitions.
Locally – specifying permissions at the individual state transition level. Global State Transition Permissions
Global state transition permissions are defined and managed from within Altium Designer using the
Edit Operation Permissions dialog. Access to this dialog is made from the Data Management – Servers page of the Preferences dialog. For the connected Workspace whose permissions you wish to browse/modify, click the Properties control at the right-hand side, and choose the Operations command from the associated menu.
The Workspace operation entry of significance here is
Move revision between lifecycle states.
Access and configure, at the global level, who is permitted to perform lifecycle state transitions. Shown here is opening the Edit Operation Permissions dialog for a connected Altium 365 Workspace. Hover the cursor over the image to see opening the dialog for a connected Concord Pro Workspace.
For a new connected Workspace, the default permission settings for this operation are:
Define additional permissions as required (click the
Add button). State transition permissions at this global level can be assigned to the following entities:
Administrators (itself a defined role).
Collaborator (this is a user who has edit rights for an Item/Revision).
Owner (for released data, this is the person who created the initial Item).
Specific user-defined Role.
Specific User. Local State Transition Permissions
Permissions for a particular state transition are defined in the associated
State Transition Properties dialog, accessed from the applicable States and Transitions region of the lifecycle definition currently being configured in the Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog.
To edit the properties of a transition, click to select it, then click on the
control at the far right.
Access controls for defining permissions for the state transition being edited.
State Transition Permissions field reflects the type of permission control that is to be employed for the transition. While two entries are listed –
Using Approvals – an Altium 365 Workspace and a Concord Pro Workspace support only the former.
Controlled permission type allows you to refine exactly who can perform this transition, through specification of one or more users and/or roles. This type of local permission control is used in combination with permissions set at the global level (see
How Permissions are Applied). Use the controls in the region below to define permitted entities accordingly. By default, the
Anyone entity is added, meaning that all users at this local level are permitted to perform the transition.
Controlled permissions, you can switch from access by anyone to only those users/roles specified.
How Permissions are Applied
For a user to be able to perform the state transition, the following conditions must be met:
They must have permission at the global level to
Move revision between lifecycle states (defined in the
Edit Operation Permissions dialog). They must have permission at the local level for this particular state transition.
They must also be a collaborator for the Item Revision whose lifecycle state is being transitioned (i.e. they must have editing rights).
Linking Stages to Levels of the Revision Naming Scheme
Revisions and lifecycle states can be incremented from the applicable right-click menu in the
Item view, or the Lifecycle aspect view tab in the Explorer panel. While establishing a new revision and promoting the lifecycle are completely separate tasks that are done for different reasons (a new revision when there is a design change, a new lifecycle state to reflect the enhanced usability of that Item Revision), they are inter-related.
For a lifecycle definition based on the advanced style of management, the defined stages can be linked to the revision levels of the employed revision naming scheme. Do this using the option at the bottom of the
Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog.
Option to link stages to revision levels.
This creates a relationship between the lifecycle state and the revision level. What that means is when an Item Revision's lifecycle is incremented so that it moves from a state in one stage to a state in another stage, then the available revision modification type commands – on the right-click menu – will change too.
Consider the default lifecycle definition
Sample - Structured Lifecycle With Approvals, and a 3-level revision naming scheme (with levels for
Revision, Prototype, and Model). If an Item Revision is in the state
New From Design, in the first stage, then the revision-type options on the right-click menu include: establish a new Revision; a new Prototype; or a new Model.
If the lifecycle is then incremented to the point where it is now
In Prototype, it will have moved to the second stage. Right-clicking on it, the available revision-type options now include: establish a new Prototype; or a new Model, that is, there is no option to start a new Revision. This behavior is intuitively expected – if the design has progressed to Prototype, then if a design change was needed, a new Prototype would be needed, or even a new Model, depending on the scope of that change.
Once the Item Revision reaches the
In Production state, in the third stage, the revision-type option to establish a new model is available only, again as expected.
When linked, revision-type commands change as the Item Revision's lifecycle state progresses through the different stages defined. Saving a Definition
Whether a new lifecycle definition has been added, or an existing lifecycle definition has been modified in some way, that lifecycle definition must be saved. Although there is no actual 'save' control, there are controls available to perform this:
For a new lifecycle definition – distinguished by a '+' suffix – either use the
Add Definition control (at the top-right of the definition's tab) or click the dialog's main button. For an existing lifecycle definition that has been modified – distinguished by a '*' suffix – either use the
Apply Changes control (at the top-right of the definition's tab) or click the dialog's main button.
In either case, the suffix will be removed and the new (or modified) definition will be available as part of the set of lifecycle definitions available to the Workspace.
In the spirit of facilitating a clear and transparent audit trail – of whom changed what, and when – details of when a lifecycle definition was last modified are provided at the bottom-right of its tab.
Identifying when a lifecycle definition was last modified, and by whom. Renaming a Definition
To rename an existing, used lifecycle definition:
Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog for the active connected Workspace. Click the tab for the definition whose name you need to change.
Modify the name in the
Definition Name field.
Example of renaming a lifecycle definition, and verifying the change in the properties of an Item already using that definition. Cloning a Definition
New lifecycle definitions do not need to be created from scratch. The
Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog provides the ability to quickly clone any of the existing definitions. To do so:
Make the required lifecycle definition that is to be cloned the active definition.
Clone control at the top-right of that definition's tab. An exact copy of the definition will be taken, creating a new definition with initial default name of
New Lifecycle Definition. Rename as required.
Add Definition control (or the main button) to effectively save the new definition. Deleting a Definition
To delete an existing lifecycle definition, select it – making it the active definition in the
Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog – then click the Delete control, at the top-right of the definition's tab.
Permanent deletion of a lifecycle definition is effected upon clicking the dialog's main
button (or clicking OK). Prior to this, the delete operation can be undone by clicking the button, at the bottom of the dialog.
The operation to delete lifecycle definitions can be undone. Exporting and Importing Definitions
User-defined lifecycle definitions are available for use only in the connected Workspace in which they are defined. Providing the ability to port definitions between Workspaces, the
Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog features Export and Import capabilities.
To export a lifecycle definition, click on the
Export control, at the top-right of its tab. Use the subsequent Save Lifecycle Definition dialog to determine where, and under what name, the file is to be saved.
To import a lifecycle definition, click on the
button, at the bottom of the Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog. Use the Open Lifecycle Definition dialog to browse to, and open, the required Lifecycle Definition file. The lifecycle definition will be added to the list of existing lifecycle definitions available to the Workspace. Controlling the Use of a Lifecycle Definition
Control over which Item types can use a particular lifecycle definition can be defined and enabled at a global level when defining each definition. If this feature is enabled, then only those allowed definitions will be available when choosing the lifecycle definition for a particular Item type. This gives you that extra level of control to ensure created Items of a particular type only use the lifecycle definition you require.
Control is performed from within the
Content Types dialog. Click on the tab for the particular definition whose access you wish to configure, then click the Content Types link, at the top-right of the definition's tab.
Accessing the Content Types dialog – command central for determining which content types can use the lifecycle definition being configured.
Content Types dialog lists all of the supported content types that can be created in your active connected Workspace (by the user, or by the system). The option above the list – Control Lifecycle Definition per Content Type – provides global control over whether the feature is active (enabled) or not (disabled), for that particular definition. Enable this option, then enable the associated Use option for each content type that you would like to be able to use that definition.
The following usage (per content type) configurations are evident for each default lifecycle definition, for a new instance of a connected Workspace.
PCB Assembly Data
PCB Fabrication Data
PCB Project Design
Altium Designer Preferences
Draftsman Document Template
Draftsman Sheet Template
Managed Schematic Sheet
Part Choice List
Sample - Basic Lifecycle
PLM Publish Template
Project Review Package
Sample - Simple Lifecycle – none
Sample - Simple Lifecycle With Approvals – none.
Sample - Structured Lifecycle With Approvals – none.
Switching between Advanced and Simple Lifecycle Management Modes
You can switch an existing lifecycle definition from using the
Advanced style of lifecycle management (states, state transitions, and stages) to using the Simple style of management (states and state transitions only). When you enable the Simple option, the Confirm Merge States dialog will appear. Use this dialog to determine how to handle the switch as follows:
Yes – all defined states (and state transitions) across Stages 1, 2, and 3, are merged into a single flat listing of states. Click
No – all defined states (and state transitions) in Stages 2 and 3 are deleted. Only those states (and state transitions) in Stage 1 (the left-most stage) will remain in a single flat listing of states.
Switch style of lifecycle management – from Advanced to Simple – with control over how the states (and state transitions) in other stages are handled. Controlling Item Revision Visibility and Applicability
When configuring each individual state for a lifecycle definition, you have the ability to define additional state attributes that control the visibility and applicability of an Item revision that uses that lifecycle definition and which enters that state. In terms of applicability, a project violation report can also be configured to detect and flag any Workspace items being used in a design whose revisions are in non-applicable states – catching and averting issues prior to release.
Controls for determining whether an Item Revision in a particular state is visible and/or applicable are available in the
State Properties dialog. From within the Edit Lifecycle Definitions dialog access this dialog for the required state either by double-clicking on the state's entry within the parent lifecycle definition or by selecting its entry and clicking the edit icon that appears ( ).
Use attributes defined at the state level to control the visibility and/or applicability of an Item Revision entering that state.
The two options are:
Visible in Vault panels – with this option enabled, a revision of an Item using the parent lifecycle definition will be displayed in the Explorer panel when it is set to be in this lifecycle state. When this option is disabled, the revision will be hidden. A hidden revision can be displayed (overriding this option) within the Explorer panel by enabling the Show Hidden Revisions control (see Showing Hidden Revisions).
Allowed to be used in designs – with this option enabled, an Item Revision in this state is permitted to be used in a design. It is deemed to be Applicable. If this option is disabled, an Item Revision in this state cannot be validly used and is deemed Inapplicable (or non-applicable). It will be flagged as such in the Properties panel and the Item Manager dialog (see Flagging Inapplicable Revisions). The project compiler can also be configured to catch such occurrences (see Detecting Inapplicable Revision States on Compilation).
Showing Hidden Revisions
For an Item Revision entering a lifecycle state that has its
Visible in Vault panels attribute disabled, that revision will, by default, not be displayed in the Explorer panel. And if it is the latest revision of the Item, then the entire entry for that Item will effectively be hidden from view. This visibility state – defined at the state level – can be overridden globally for all Items when browsing in the Explorer panel. To display all Item Revisions that are currently not visible, click the control at the top-right of the Items region of the panel, then enable the Show Hidden Revisions option on the associated menu.
Displaying hidden Item Revisions while browsing content in the Explorer panel. Hover over the image to see the result.
Flagging Inapplicable Revisions
Typically, a lifecycle state that is set to be hidden (
Visible in Vault panels option disabled) will also be made inapplicable ( Allowed to be used in designs option also disabled). For example, a revision of a component that is currently
Obsolete should have no place on the latest design spin! Hiding revisions of Items that have entered such states is one thing – if you can't see a component, for example, you can't place it. But you may already be using instances of such Item Revisions in a design, or inadvertently placed an inapplicable revision of a component by virtue of having shown hidden revisions whilst browsing!
Not to worry. Aside from catching Component Item Revisions that are in inapplicable states upon compilation (see next section), you can manually interrogate the applicability of Item Revisions (components and managed sheets) directly in your design software. This is achieved through the
Properties panel, when browsing the item's properties, or through use of the Item Manager.
Properties panel – when using this panel to browse the properties of a placed instance of a revision of a component or managed schematic sheet, indication is presented to the right of the revision status entry. If the revision is in an inapplicable state (not allowed for use in designs) the entry will display . If the revision is in an applicable state (allowed for use in designs) the entry will either reflect that the revision is the latest (
Up to date) or not (
Out of date
Reflecting inapplicability at the properties level for a placed instance of a revision of a component and managed schematic sheet.
Item Manager – in the Item Manager dialog ( Tools » Item Manager), indication is presented in the Revision Status field. If the revision is in an inapplicable state (not allowed for use in designs) the entry will display . If the revision is in an applicable state (allowed for use in designs) the entry will either reflect that the revision is the latest (
Up to date) or not (
Out of date
Reflecting inapplicability through the Item Manager dialog for a placed instance of a revision of a component and managed schematic sheet.
Detecting Inapplicable Revision States on Project Validation
For placed instances of Component Item Revisions, the applicability of the states of those revisions can be checked as part of project validation. At the heart of this checking is the
Component revision has inapplicable state violation type, part of the Violations Associated with Components category. Configure the reporting mode for this check on the Error Reporting tab of the Project Options dialog.
Project validation includes a check for violations concerning components in inapplicable revision states. A violation will occur if the lifecycle state of a placed Component Item Revision has been specified as not being allowed for design purposes.
If compiler errors and warnings are enabled for display on the schematic (enabled on the
Schematic – Compiler page of the Preferences dialog) an offending object will display a colored squiggle beneath it. A notification is also displayed in the Messages panel in the following format:
<Designator> <Comment>: Component revision has inapplicable state
is the component instance's
is the component instance's
Example violation (set to Fatal Error for impact).
Things to be aware of:
If a placed component loses connection with the connected Workspace from which it was placed – for example, that Workspace is disconnected or you are signed out from your Workspace – it will violate the
Component revision has inapplicable state check. This will be reflected in the
Messages panel, with an entry in the form:
<Designator> <Comment>: Can't perform revision status validation: Failed to connect to server You can also catch components that are being invalidly used within a design during the design release process. Simply add and configure
Component State Checking to your overall release validation regemin. For more information, see Validating Component Status.