Local Version Control Service

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Parent article: Altium Vault

The Altium Vault installation provides localized (and centralized) version control, courtesy of its Version Control Service. Essentially an SVN server (version 1.8), this service provides version control possibilities right there where you need them, locally, without searching or paying for external SVN management software.

By defining design repositories in this centralized fashion, an oganization can fully control which repositories its designers can access and use.

Key Advantages

There are two key advantages to using this centralized version control service:

  1. You have common users and rights management for both the Altium Vault and SVN. When you sign in to the Altium Vault, the SVN version control service works with your session/credentials.
  2. Repositories defined through the Altium Vault (through the VCS page of the vault's browser-based interface) are populated to the client automatically during login, so users do not have to worry about urls, protocols, password etc. It is simply configured once, on the server, and shared with the intended users as required.
When a new user for the Altium Vault is created, the defined Password for that user is stored in both the Vault and the SVN service, since the latter cannot access the password from the former directly. If you have upgraded a previous installation of the Altium Vault Server (1.1, 1.2) to the Altium Vault (2.0), existing users will not have a password stored with the SVN service. Access to Version Control (and Managed Projects) will not be possible until this is resolved. To do this, simply re-create each user's password.

Repository Creation

Repositories can be created through the local SVN server, or external repositories can be connected to. Together, all repositories are centrally managed through the VCS page of the vault's browser-based interface, in terms of:

  • Their displayed name and description.
  • Their configured accessibility - which specific users can access them (or roles in the case of repositories defined through the local SVN server).
  • Their availability - add or remove them centrally, rather than individual designers having to create and connect to repositories independently.
A default Design Repository is available, named DefaultRepository. Rename and manage user access to this repository as required.

Centrally define access to your organization's Design Repositories. Repositories can be internal to the Altium Vault installation, defined using the local VCS service, or external through use of Altium Designer's built-in SVN, or third party SVN service. Access control is performed through the VCS page of the Altium Vault's browser-based interface. When a user signs in to the Altium Vault, the Design Repositories available to them will automatically be added to the Data Management - Design Repositories page of the Preferences dialog.

Adding a Repository

To add a Design Repository, simply click the Add Repository button, located at the top-right of the VCS page. The Repository Properties window will appear, use this to define the repository. The properties required depend on whether you are creating a new repository using the local VCS service, or linking to an existing, external repository:

  • New - simply give the repository a name and a description.
  • Existing - in addition to a name and description, you need to supply the URL to the repository, and your credentials (User Name, Password) to access that repository.

Create a new SVN-based Design Repository, or link to an existing one.

A linked, external Design Repository is distinguished in the list of repositories by its External property being ticked ().
To edit the properties of a Design Repository at a later stage, simply click its associated Edit icon (). To remove a Design Repository, simply click its associated Remove control ()
The list of repositories can be sorted by either Name or External fields. Click once to sort in ascending order, click again to sort in descending order. For Name, this is alphabetically, while for External, this is grouping all external and non-external together. Ctrl+click to remove sorting.

Sharing a Repository

Having centralized your Design Repositories, you need to ensure that those requiring access to a given repository - including the designers who will be working on board designs - have that access. This is achieved by sharing that repository, or rather managing its access permissions. To do this, simply click on the repository's associated Share icon ().

The Manage Permissions window will appear, with all the controls necessary to share the repository with other users.

With Design Repositories centrally organized, sharing with others is simply a case of managing each repository's permissions.

Sharing with a User

Sharing with other users is performed from the Users tab of the Manage Permissions window. Click the Add button to add a user, defining their name and access rights on the subsequent User Properties window.

When defining access rights, select Read for Read only access, or Write for full Read/Write access.

Sharing a Design Repository with another user.

Should you wish to create a new user on the fly, simply click the ... control to the right of the User field. This will access the Create User window.
To edit the permissions for an existing user, click the associated Edit control (). To remove an existing user from having shared access to a repository, click the associated Remove control ().

Sharing with a Role

If the repository has been created through the local VCS service, rather than an external repository, then you also have the ability to share with defined roles. This is performed from the Roles tab of the Manage Permissions window. Click the Add button to add a role, defining its name and access rights on the subsequent Role Properties window.

Again, when defining access rights, select Read for Read only access, or Write for full Read/Write access. Bear in mind that these rights will be bestowed upon all user in that role.

Sharing a Design Repository with a specific role.

Should you wish to create a new role on the fly, simply click the ... control to the right of the Role field. This will access the Create Role window.
To edit the permissions for an existing role, click the associated Edit control (). To remove an existing role from having shared access to a repository, click the associated Remove control ().

External Access to a Local SVN Design Repository

A Design Repository that is created through the local Version Control Service can be accessed using an SVN client such as TortoiseSVN. Access is made using the regular network protocol (only svn:// is currently supported). The correct repository address can be copied from within Altium Designer, from the Data Management - Design Repositories page of the Preferences dialog. Use this address in your Subversion client's repository browsing facility.

Browsing the content of a Design Repository created through the Altium Vault installation's local SVN-based Version Control Service. In the example above, the repository contains a number of Managed Projects, providing the ideal foundation for centralized project management, and controlled collaboration between team members.

 

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