What's New in Design Data Management

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Each release of Altium's Vault Technologies continues the incremental process of enhancing the way in which you can use this technology, in conjunction with Altium Designer, to streamline and enhance the management of your valuable design data. This page reflects key feature highlights in the various updates to features and functionality within the realm of Altium's Design Data Management solutions as they are released, with the latest update always given pride of place at the top of the list. So have a browse through – you may just find a feature or enhancement you have missed or overlooked. A design gem that may well prove an invaluable productivity-booster!

We're excited about the new features and functionality included in each and every update to the Altium Vault, in addition to a host of other enhancements, crunched bugs and implemented ideas, and we're sure that you'll be excited too!

For each Altium Vault update, the release date is presented, along with build number. In addition, key features are highlighted with links to more detailed pages where available.

Altium Vault 2.6

Released: 07 March 2016
Version: 2.6.5.59741

This release sees further beneficial enhancements to the Altium Vault and its related technologies, along with enhancements and new functionality brought in to the latest version of Altium Designer, in support of working with the Altium Vault. In addition, numerous fixes have been made to resolve issues raised by customers through the AltiumLive Community.

From version 2.0, the Altium Vault replaced the now-legacy Altium Vault Server. If you already have an existing installation of the Altium Vault Server (v1.1, v1.2), you simply need to perform an update to the Altium Vault. It is not advised to attempt to run both side-by-side. For more information, see the section Updating the Vault Installation, in the document Altium Vault - Details for IT Departments.
While the Altium Vault 2.6 installer includes automated backup of your existing vault, it is always a good idea to make a pre-update backup of your data yourself - taking a redundancy copy off to one side as it were. This provides additional safety, should any unforeseen technical difficulties arise. See Backup/Restore of Vault Data for the procedure to do this manually. For a more automated method of vault backup and restoration, use the dedicated Backup & Restore Tool. For more information, see Backing up and Restoring Your Altium Vault Installation.
It is advised to test out a new release of the Altium Vault on a different machine, before updating your production instance. Use of Virtual Machines can be invaluable in this respect.
While connection to Altium Vault 2.6 is possible from Altium Designer 13.0 (or later), users are encouraged to update to the latest version of Altium Designer - especially where vault enhancements relate to changes to the user interface within Altium Designer (such as the Vaults panel).

Advanced Components Search

Altium Vault 2.6 brings powerful new component searching with its Advanced Search capability. Delivered through a dedicated view within the Vaults panel, you can either perform generic-level searching or (and this is the really cool part) targeted searching through the use of saved search configurations. These allow you to search by a particular component type and also use ranged searching - a nice aspect of searching facilitated through unit-aware component parameter data types. Additionally, you can add a keyboard shortcut to your saved searches that allows you to quickly perform a search from wherever you are within the Vaults panel.

Part Requests

For an organization that employs a dedicated library department to grow and maintain its design components - accessible to all engineers and designers in that organization - it makes sense to submit requests for new (missing) components to that department. This new Part Requests feature allows an engineer to put in a request for one or more parts to be created, to a member of a librarian-nominated role, and get notified when that request has either been rejected (and why), or processed, and the component(s) made available. 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).

Explicit Component Types

Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, brings the ability to define explicit component types. With a range of supported types, this enhancement to components facilitates targeted searching, through the vault's Advanced Search facility - a facility that not only allows you to search by component type, but allows you to search smarter, with supported unit-aware component parameters.

Unit-Aware Component Parameter Data Types

Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, brings the ability to define explicit data types for component parameters defined within a component template (*.CMPT).  In addition, these data types are unit-aware, with a range of popular unit prefixes supported. As such, you can enter a parameter's value using a range of formats - such as 2.2k, 2k2, 4M, 2.5GHz - with the Altium Vault engineered with the requisite smarts to recognize the numerical value behind those entries.

This enhancement facilitates targeted searching, through the vault's Advanced Search facility - a facility that not only allows you to search by component type, but allows you to search smarter, with range, greater than, or less than searches. Using the power of unit-aware component parameters, you can quickly define a search, for example, to find all capacitors with a capacitance between 47uF and 220uF.

Improved Upload of 3D Models to Vault

Altium Vault 2.5 saw the arrival of support for 3D Models. However, only a single model could be uploaded to an existing 3D Model Item at a time, making the process quite cumbersome. Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0 delivers vast improvement in this area, with support for upload of multiple 3D Models through the Release Manager. Alternatively, upload through drag and drop functionality, similar to uploading any files into Binary File Items. The Release Manager also receives new migration tool functionality in this release, allowing you to quickly extract 3D models from their 2D footprint libraries.

Item-less Component Creation

The arrival of Component Templates provided an efficient means by which to create components using ratified templates. But one thing that became apparent, was that when creating an Item, if the Item was created first - as is the normal procedural flow - the information in the template, namely naming scheme, revision scheme and lifecycle definition, weren't assigned, since the Component Item was being created first. To get around this, Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, supports the notion of Item-less Component Creation. This doesn't mean an Item isn't created, but rather an instance of the CmpLib Editor is accessed directly, allowing the template details to be applied, prior to then adding the required component, and releasing. The actual Component Item (and planned revision thereof) is created as part of release preparation.

Acquisition of Vault Folders

Through use of the Content Cart - the user interface to the Altium Vault's Data Acquisition Service - you can quickly acquire content from a source vault, and deliver it to a nominated target vault. With the arrival of Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, this feature has been further enhanced. Now you are able to load an entire folder onto the cart, while preserving its folder structure. This enables you to quickly acquire all content in a desired folder, or content that could be resident across multiple sub-folders, simply by acquiring the parent folder.

Ability to Copy/Paste Vault Folder Structure

Adding greater flexibility to the management of your vault content, Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, bring the ability to copy and paste a folder (and its descendant structure). This essentially allows you to quickly clone areas of your vault folder structure, which can prove a real time-saver when readying your vault for a deluge of component data, for example, where structure is similar, with a parent folder and sub-folders for the various domain models.

Item Revision Comparison

Using the power of Altium Designer's native file format comparison technology, Altium Vault 2.6 now supports the visual comparison of two revisions - of the same, or different Items - for a range of supported content types, directly from within the Vaults panel.

Component Template Improvements

The arrival of Component Templates provided the ability to predefine settings for use by component definitions defined within Component Libraries referencing those templates. Now, with Altium Vault 2.6 and Altium Designer 16.0, the functionality of the component template has been greatly enhanced. These powerful improvements - including support for specific component types, unit-aware parameter data types, and definition of models - make the allure of using component templates ever more attractive.

CmpLib Editor Improvements

Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, sees functionality of the Component Library Editor (CmpLib Editor) further enhanced. Improvements include support for getting additional parameters define in a referenced component template, support for specifying component type, and validation of values entered for component parameters that have been set to use unit-aware data types.

Item Manager Improvements

Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, sees functionality of the Item Manager further enhanced. Improvements include: A refurbished grid, allowing sorting, grouping and filtering; Ability to control data columns, including the display of component parametric data; The ability to choose the required PCB footprint required when selecting a replacement component; and ability to cross-probe from the Item Manager, to component instances in the design workspace.

Configuring Vault Email Notifications through Browser Interface

Altium Vault 2.5 brought the ability to configure email notifications from the vault - flagging a variety of events to key stakeholders, relating to Component Items, Managed Projects, and Approval Requests. However, enabling and configuring the feature required the user to interact with the LocalVault.ini file - not difficult, but rather obscure and not so user-friendly. With Altium Vault 2.6, setting up to use this feature is a breeze, with configuration performed through the vault's browser-based interface.

Ability to Share a Managed Project from within Altium Designer

Previously, when a Managed Project was created, it was initially available to the owner/creator, and all vault administrators. To be shared with any other user of the vault required navigating to that project, and setting sharing permissions from the Projects page of the vault's browser interface. Not anymore. Now, with Altium Vault 2.6 and Altium Designer 16.0, you can define sharing permissions for a Managed Project directly from within Altium Designer. What's more, every newly created Managed Project is, by default, shared publicly to all vault users within the organization.

Ability to Cancel Output Generation During Board Release

Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, brings the ability to cancel the board release process, during the Generate Outputs stage. This provides an efficient and effective means with which to stop the release - especially if a sizeable number of outputs are involved. It also provides a far more attractive solution to abandoning a release, without having to resort to closing down the application!

Ability to Define All Ports used by Vault during Installation

When installing Altium Vault 2.6, you now have the ability to define all network ports that are used by the vault, through the Altium Vault Setup wizard. These are: Http Port, Https Port, LDAP Service Port, and the Synchronization Service Port.

Dedicated Admin Area in the Vault's Browser Interface

Altium Vault 2.6 brings some organizational reshuffling of the vault's browser-based interface. Pages that are only ever accessible by a Vault Administrator are now tidily presented on a dedicated ADMIN menu. In addition, and part of this admin-only area, a new page is available - Settings. This page provides a collection of sub-pages relating to configuration for areas such as Network Installations, Licensing, and Email Notifications, as well as the configuration of aspects relating to the vault itself, starting with Part Requests.

Lifecycle State Attribute in BOM

With Altium Vault 2.6 and Altium Designer 16.0, the LifeCycle State attribute is now available in a BOM report. This enables you to see, at-a-glance, where each of the vault-based components used in a design have reached in their life cycles, and visually verify their legitimacy - enabling you to catch, for example, components that are not for production, or have become obsolete, and make the required changes to the design, prior to embarking on what could otherwise be a costly manufacturing spin.

New Vault Explorer Extension

Altium Vault 2.6, in conjunction with Altium Designer 16.0, delivers a new interface with which to browse the contents of an Altium Vault, from within Altium Designer. Delivered as a dedicated extension to the software - Vault Explorer - access to this interface remains the same, courtesy of Altium Designer's faithful Vaults panel - you simply get an enhanced user interface, along with elements of functionality that are only supported through this 'interface upgrade'.

HTTPS Protocol Support

For situations where a secure connection is required to the Altium Vault, it now includes the ability to accept HTTPS port connections directly from Altium Designer or from a web browser. Once established, the secure protocol is used for access to the Vault and all constituent services, including the Private License Server. The HTTPS connection port is defined during the Vault installation process, and can be viewed or reconfigured later from the Windows IIS Manager panel.

Vault-based Private License Server

An advanced Private License Server is now included as part of the Altium Vault 2.6 installation. Enabled when the Vault is licensed at an Enterprise level, the new Private License Server (PLS) is simple to configure and provides a host of improved features over the existing Private License Server that is installed as a windows service. Amongst other new PLS capabilities, a vault administrator is able to take full control over the offline leasing of license seats, configure a User group license as Roaming and much more.

Additional Vault Enhancements

Altium Vault 2.6 delivers a number of additional performance-related enhancements and improvements. These are not large enough to warrant their own documented pages, and so are summarized here. However, they collectively make a big impact in your day-to-day usage of the Altium Vault, helping to streamline that usage and deliver a positive experience.

Command Line Tool for Vault Management

Altium Vault 2.6 introduces a new Command Line tool designed to import Vault Users, Roles, and user-role membership data from standard comma-delimited *.csv files. The tool allows the Altium Vault to be preloaded with bulk user and role configurations derived from company systems or records, thereby avoiding the need to individually create the entries through the Vault web interface.

 

Altium Vault 2.5

Released:

01 June 2015 - Version: 2.5.9.45043

25 June 2015 - Version: 2.5.10.45793

23 July 2015 - Version: 2.5.11.47216

14 September 2015 - Version: 2.5.12.50691

This release sees further beneficial enhancements to the Altium Vault and its related technologies, along with enhancements and new functionality brought in to the latest version of Altium Designer, in support of working with the Altium Vault. In addition, numerous fixes have been made to resolve issues raised by customers through the AltiumLive Community.

From version 2.0, the Altium Vault replaced the now-legacy Altium Vault Server. If you already have an existing installation of the Altium Vault Server (v1.1, v1.2), you simply need to perform an update to the Altium Vault. It is not advised to attempt to run both side-by-side. For more information, see the section Updating the Vault Installation, in the document Altium Vault - Details for IT Departments.
While the Altium Vault 2.5 installer includes automated backup of your existing vault, it is always a good idea to make a pre-update backup of your data yourself - taking a redundancy copy off to one side as it were. This provides additional safety, should any unforseen technical difficulties arise. See Backup/Restore of Vault Data for the procedure to do this manually. For a more automated method of vault backup and restoration, use the dedicated Backup & Restore Tool. For more information, see Backing up and Restoring Your Altium Vault Installation.
It is advised to test out a new release of the Altium Vault on a different machine, before updating your production instance. Use of Virtual Machines can be invaluable in this respect.
While connection to Altium Vault 2.5 is possible from Altium Designer 13.0 (or later), users are encouraged to update to the latest version of Altium Designer - especially where vault enhancements relate to changes to the user interface within Altium Designer (such as the Vaults panel).

Component Templates

This release brings support for creating and defining Component Templates. Just as a schematic template can be used to predefine information on schematic sheets that reference it, a component template is referenced by a component library (CmpLib), and provides predefined settings for use by component definitions defined therein. In particular, component templates have been developed with parametric information firmly in mind, allowing you define, in a single location, a 'bucket set' of parameters that will be made available to the referencing component library.

Controlling Lifecycle State Transitions

Altium Vault 2.5 brings greater flexibility for deciding who can make particular state transitions for an Item Revision in a vault. It is now possible to prohibit standard (non-administrative) users from transitioning between specific lifecycle states on-the-fly, while opening up permissions to more than just vault Administrators. You now have the ability to specify permissions at the global level - as part of Global Vault Operation Permissions - 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). Local permissions are defined as part of the properties for a particular state transition and can be locked down to specific users or roles. Alternatively, standard users can be made to request approval for specific state transitions. In turn, these Approval Requests are sent to, viewed, and acted upon, by those designated to be members of one or more Approval Groups.

Support for Free File Storage

Catering for expanded storage of design content, this release sees support for the storage of free files. With relevant folder type and Item type support, Items can be created to accommodate one or more files of any format. This allows you to effectively take advantage of the vault's secure nature, and underlines the vault as being the perfect place to store anything, including your source binary files - from which releases into other vault Items are made - together in a single Item.

Support for 3D Models

This release brings support for vault-based 3D models. Used in a similar fashion to file-based linked 3D models,  a vault-based 3D model Item can hold a 3D model file, that is then referenced through a 3D body attached to a standard 2D footprint. This support brings with it the security and inherent benefits (where-used, lifecycle management, etc) associated with use of an Altium Vault.

Ability to Add Components from Supplier Search

Providing a welcome boost to creation of vault components, Altium Designer 15.1 brings the ability to search for one or more real-world parts, courtesy of Supplier Search functionality, and then add those parts into the active Component Library document. This functionality is delivered through a purpose-made extension for the Component Library Editor - the Component From Supplier Search extension. Not only do you get a new component definition entry for each selected part, you get all of its parameters, and any data sheets, leaving you to just organize some domain models, and then release!

Ability to Assign Lifecycle Definition and Revision Naming Schemes to Content Types

This release brings the ability to control how your defined lifecycle definitions and revision naming scheme are used by the Items created in the vault. You can opt to allow a definition/naming scheme to be used by any Item type, as before, or you can determine allowed usage at the individual Item/Content type level. This gives you that extra level of control to ensure created Items of a particular type only use the lifecycle definition and/or revision naming scheme you require. Just the ticket to fend off the inadvertent use of the wrong schema during the heat of design by your engineers and designers!

Ability to Clone Vault Items and Component Definitions

This release heralds the ability to clone component- and schematic sheet-related vault Items. So now, rather than creating that component, related domain model, schematic sheet, or associated template from scratch, you can simply clone it. File-less editing ensures any required changes - to a copy of the source data from the original Item Revision - is a streamlined affair, with the resulting changes released into an initial revision of a new Item of the same type. Done and dusted in record time, you can quickly expand your vault content without vere facing a blank canvas. In addition, cloning is supported from within the Component Library Editor, enabling you to quickly clone a component definition - ideal when building a CmpLib featuring an abundance of generic devices that differ only in their values!

Global Vault Operation Permissions

This release facilitates the definition and management of global vault operation permissions. Accessible by Vault Administrators only, permissions across the spectrum of day-to-day global-level vault operations, can be set up for all vault users in the one convenient location. So while Administrators continue to enjoy full permissions for all types of operation, they can now quickly configure permissions for collaborators, owners, specific roles, and specific users.

New Parametric Data View for Component Library Folders

The Component Library type folder receives an additional view mode - the Components View. Similar in look and functionality to other areas such as Model Links and Component Definitions in a CmpLib, or the results view when performing a search in the Vaults panel, this view allows you to browse the parametric data associated with all Component Items in the current folder. What's more, you can set up the view exactly how you like it for different folders of components, and those configurations will remain between sessions.

Ability to Update Components when Re-Releasing a Child Model

When you make a change to a vault-based domain model - be it a symbol, PCB 2D/3D Component model, or simulation model - the moment you release that change into a new revision of the model's Item, any Component Items that use that model will become effectively out of date, still using the previous revision. In most cases, you will no doubt want to re-release those components, with the respective model links updated to use the latest revisions available. To streamline this process, the ability is provided to update related Component Items, at the point of re-releasing a model Item, after having made any modifications to that model through the file-less editing feature.

Automatic File-less Editing after Item Creation

Altium Vault 2.0 saw the introduction of file-less editing. This feature made it possible to edit a supported Item type using a temporary editor loaded with the latest source direct from the vault itself. Extending this feature, Altium Vault 2.5, in conjunction with Altium Designer 15.1, provides the ability to start editing an Item type - supported for file-less editing - immediately after it is created. No longer do you have to create the source data outside and release it first, now you can start working on the source directly from the moment the empty Item is created. And when editing is complete, the entity is released into the initial planned revision of its parent Item, and the temporary editor closed.

Configurable Parameter Selection for Part Search

When searching for real-world design parts in Suppliers' databases - through use of Supplier Links, or Part Choices (either for Vault components, or when defining manual supply solutions in an ActiveBOM) - Altium Designer provides suggested keywords to speed the search process. To date, this has been a fixed list comprising Comment, Description, and Name parameters. Now, with the advent of Altium Designer 15.1, the use of suggested keywords has been made completely configurable. You now have full control over which parameters of parts are used for suggestive filling of the keyword search field, and in what order.

Support for CmpLib in New Document Defaults

With the arrival of Altium Designer 15.1, support has been added to allow new document defaults to be specified for the Component Library (*.CmpLib) document kind. Support is available at both the project-level, and the free document level.

Live Supply Chain Data from Suppliers

This release see the ability to connect directly to a Supplier's database, getting its supply chain data in 'live' fashion. This means reading directly from the source supplier database, rather than from an intermediate cached copy taken into the vault's local Part Catalog. The result is a marked improvement in both accuracy of the data, and performance.

Altium Vault Email Notifications

Altium Vault 2.5 brings the ability to configure email notifications from the vault - flagging a variety of events to key stakeholders. This feature works in addition to the event notifications presented to relevant users on their Stream page of the vault's browser-based interface.

Additional Pages for the Vault's Browser-based Interface

Altium Vault 2.5 brings with it an expanded browser-based interface, with the addition of two new pages - Home and Stream. The Home page provides a summarizing overview of recent vault activity, and those managed projects created by the user currently signed-in to the interface. The Stream page provides a stream of real-time notifications concerning the signed-in user. These are for various events associated with Managed Projects, Component Items, and Approval Requests.

Vault Performance Enhancements

Altium Vault 2.5 delivers a number of performance-related enhancements, including: Safer removal of SVN repositories through the vault's browser-based interface; Ability to disable SVN password synchronization; and automated back-up of vault data during vault upgrade.

Altium Vault Status Report Tool

This release comes with a neat little tool for generating a status report for your Altium Vault - the Altium Vault Status Report tool. The generated report includes all necessary debug information in one tidy AVD file (*.avd). This is all that's needed to send to Altium Developers, should you have any unexpected technical difficulties with your Altium Vault.

NIS Enhancements

Altium Vault 2.5 delivers a couple of beneficial enhancements to the Network Installation Service. Firstly, it is now possible to delete outdated revisions of products or extensions directly from the Installations page. This significantly reduces the storage space used for the Altium Vault database and consequently speeds up creation of vault backups. Secondly, and in order to support easier automatic Vault deployment - via Active Directory and Domain Policies - deployment packages are now being created in a form of msi package.

LDAP Enhancements

The LDAP synchronization engine has been completely reworked and now supports non-Windows LDAP servers, attribute mapping and all LDAP queries.

Altium Vault 2.1

Released: 16 January 2015
Version: 2.1.4.40603

This release sees further beneficial enhancements to the Altium Vault and its related technologies, along with enhancements and new functionality brought in to the latest version of Altium Designer, in support of working with the Altium Vault. In addition, numerous fixes have been made to resolve issues raised by customers through the AltiumLive Community.

The Altium Vault is, essentially, the successor to the Altium Vault Server. If you already have an existing installation of the Altium Vault Server (v1.1, v1.2), you simply need to perform an update to the Altium Vault. It is not advised to attempt to run both side-by-side. For more information, see the section Updating the Vault Installation, in the document Altium Vault - Details for IT Departments.
Prior to updating an Altium Vault, it is strongly advised that you always make a backup of your data - taking a 'golden copy' off to one side as it were. This allows you to quickly restore your data should any unforseen technical difficulties arise. See Backup/Restore of Vault Data for the procedure to do this manually. For a more automated method of vault backup and restoration, use the dedicated Backup & Restore Tool. For more information, see Backing up and Restoring Your Altium Vault Installation.
It is advised to test out a new release of the Altium Vault on a different machine, before updating your production instance. Use of Virtual Machines can be invaluable in this respect.
While connection to Altium Vault 2.1 is possible from Altium Designer 13.0 (or later), users are encouraged to update to the latest version of Altium Designer - especially where vault enhancements relate to changes to the user interface within Altium Designer (such as the Vaults panel).

Component Status Validation

While Component Items may be authorized for design reuse, there has not been any automated checking at the release validation stage, to verify that they are indeed in the right state to be used. Rather the onus has been on the designer to visually check the lifecycle states of the components in their designs, alerted only by status text and color. Altium Vault 2.1, in conjunction with Altium Designer 15.0, provides an elegant solution to this, in the form of Component State Checking. A new validation-based outputter is available for addition to an Output Job file - Components states. This can be configured to check for components that are in restricted states.

Ability to Enforce Required OutJobs through Environment Configurations

While a set of OutJobs can be made available to a designer through a particular environment configuration, there's nothing to say that they will actually be used. And while a validation-based Configuration Compliance check could be added into an OutJob, it's only effective if that OutJob is used! To remedy this situation, this release of the Altium Vault sees a beneficial feature addition to the Team Configuration Center, by way of the ability to mark OutJobs as required. Simply put, if an OutJob defined as part of an environment configuration is marked as required, then release will not be possible until that OutJob is present and enabled in the relevant project configuration being released.

Lifecycle Definition Enhancements

Altium Vault 2.1, together with Altium Designer 15.0, bring enhancements to lifecycle definitions. Lifecycle states have been extended with two additional attributes that control the visibility, and applicability, of a revision, in relation to its current state. In terms of applicability, a new project compiler violation can be configured to detect and flag any vault items being used in a design, whose revisions are in non-applicable states - catching and averting issues prior to release. In addition, you can now modify, to a certain degree, a lifecycle definition that is currently being used (in use by an Item in the vault) - something that was not previously allowed. Modification to state attributes is permitted (color, transitions, applicability, visibility), as well as the ability to add new states to the definition, remove any unused states, and link stages to revision levels (where applicable).

Ability to Show only Latest Component Revisions

Over time, vault-based components may undergo many changes as they evolve, with each change resulting in a new revision to accommodate the massaged data. When browsing components for use in designs, it is typically only the latest revision that is required. All other previous revisions tend to become a level of noise, cluttering the designer's field of view. To alleviate this, Altium Vault 2.1, in conjunction with Altium Designer 15.0, brings the ability to hide this clutter, leaving only the latest revisions 'on show'.

Vault Connection Enhancements

Altium Designer 15.0 sees enhancements to the way in which you connect to your Altium Vault. The option for automatic future sign-in on starting Altium Designer is now more obvious, and you also have the ability to remember, and automatically reuse, a chosen environment configuration. Together, these features allow you to get back in to your vault as if you'd never left. In addition, support is now available to connect to multiple Altium Vaults concurrently - which includes any version of Altium Vault (v2.0, v2.1), and legacy Altium Vault Server (v1.1, v1.2).

Controlling Parameter Visibility for Vault Components

Altium Designer 15.0 brings you control over the visibility of parameters - or more specifically, their values - when placing vault-based components into your designs from the Vaults or Libraries panels. This facilitates the Visible On Add concept, long enjoyed by users of Database Libraries.

Parameter List Templates

Altium Designer 15.0 brings with it a stand-out enhancement to the Component Library Editor, by way of customizable parameter list templates. These simple, humanly-readable files can be built with a list of required parameters, that can then be loaded into the CmpLib editor with a single click.

Parameter-based Name Templates

Parameter-based name templates allow you to precisely rename your components, based on the currently defined values of parameters available to those components in the CmpLib file. Include one or more parameters into the naming template using the format [<ParameterName>], for example CMP-[Part Number]-[Value]-{0001}.

Update from Template Support when using Vault-based Templates

Support has long been available for schematic templates to be created and released to a target Altium Vault, for reuse in future board-level design projects. A released Schematic Template Item can be reused manually, or as part of centralized enforcement of a designer's working environment. In terms of manual reuse, while a vault-based template could be hooked-up for use easily enough, there was no way to tell if the revision being used was out of date, and no way to quickly update to using the latest revision. Until now. With the arrival of Altium Designer 15.0, the manual reuse of vault-based schematic templates has been enhanced to address these very issues.

Ability to Choose Delivery Folder for Content Cart

The arrival of Altium Designer 15.0 brings a welcome enhancement to acquisition of data using the Content Cart. Where previously you had no control over the acquisition folder (other than its name), you can now choose a folder in the target vault, into which content on the Cart is to be delivered. This can be an existing folder, or a completely new one, created on-the-fly.

Vaults Panel Enhancements

Altium Vault 2.1, in conjunction with Altium Designer 15.0 brings several small, yet beneficial enhancements to the Vaults panel. These include the ability to resize the width of the columns, in the parameters region of a Component Item's preview; the ability to copy parameteric information for a component to the clipboard; and the ability to hide system folders - those folders related to, and created by, the Network Installation Service.

Ability to Open Managed Projects and Components from the Vault's Browser Interface

Providing further flexibility in the access of your data, this release of the Altium Vault sees a couple of nice enhancements to its browser-based interface. Firstly, you can now open a managed project in Altium Designer, directly from the Projects page of the interface. And secondly, as you browse components on the Vault page, you can opt to show a component within Altium Designer, having it opened in the Vaults panel.

Support for Domain User Synchronization

The Altium Vault 2.1 release introduces Domain User Synchronization based on the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP), which simplifies user access authorization by connecting with existing network directory services systems. Accessed through the vault browse interface, the LDAP synchronization capability allows the implementation and editing of multiple, role-based LDAP query tasks for group and user credentials verfication.

Vault Performance Enhancements

Altium Vault 2.1 delivers a number of performance-related enhancements, including: Automatic install of a later version of the vault over a previous version; ability to connect to multiple Altium Vaults simultaneously; increased session length while accessing and working with the vault through Altium Designer; and improved ability to manage a large number of users added to the vault.

Enhancements to the Vault Migration Tool

A number of beneficial enhancements have been made to the latest version of the Vault Migration Tool - version 1.3.0.7. These range from the cosmetic (updating nomenclature in line with the current naming of the latest vault technology; Altium Vault), through to the helpful (better error reporting if trying to migrate data from v1.1 of the Altium Personal Vault), and on to prime new functionality (the ability to migrate from using a Firebird database to an Oracle database, as the back-end).

Altium Vault 2.0

Released: 19 June 2014
Version: 2.0.4.33788

This release sees Altium's Vault Technologies delivered as a single product - the Altium Vault. Far more than simply a vault, its installation facilitates a platform through which a range of services and technologies are provided - the vault itself being one of these services. And while a single streamlined installation delivers the full spectrum of features and technologies to all, the actual feature set available to you is determined and controlled through the specific licensing purchased.

The Altium Vault is, essentially, the successor to the Altium Vault Server. If you already have an existing installation of the Altium Vault Server, you simply need to perform an update to the new Altium Vault. It is not advised to attempt to run both side-by-side. For more information, see the section Updating the Vault Installation, in the document Altium Vault - Details for IT Departments.
While connection to Altium Vault 2.0 is possible from Altium Designer 13.0 (or later), users are encouraged to update to the latest version of Altium Designer - especially where vault enhancements relate to changes to the user interface within Altium Designer (such as the Vaults panel).

Single Vault Product

Altium Vault 2.0 sees a single streamlined installer delivering the full complement of vault technologies. The Altium Vault software itself is available in three distinct license bundles - Component, Workgroup and Enterprise. These license types - each a Server License - determine the features available at the organization level. At the user level, each user connects to the Altium Vault through the seat of an associated Client Access License (CAL). Three types of Client Access License (often referred to as a Connector License) are available, offering the same technology bundling as the server licensing.

Use the links below to access detailed information on this new vault offering, including its installation, licensing, and access - both from within Altium Designer, and from an external Web Browser.

Managed Projects

The Altium Vault, in conjunction with Altium Designer, brings support for Managed Projects. In the past, the traditional use of an Altium Vault was to handle the release management stage of projects, with high integrity and security. Managed Projects target the development stage of the project lifecycle, simplifying the creation and ongoing workflow for version controlled projects. Centralized storage under the control of the Altium Vault also enables this feature to be a foundation for other collaborative services.

File-less Editing in an Altium Vault

File-less editing frees you of the shackles of separate version-controlled source data. You can simply edit a supported Item type using a temporary editor loaded with the latest source direct from the vault itself. And once editing is complete, the entity is re-released into a subsequent planned revision of its parent Item, and the temporary editor closed. There are no files on your hard drive, no questioning whether you are working with the correct or latest source, and no having to maintain separate version control software. The Altium Vault handles it all, with the same great integrity you've come to expect, and in a manner that greatly expedites changes to your data.

CmpLib Editor Improvements

The arrival of Altium Designer 14.3 sees considerable refurbishment of the CmpLib Editor. With the arrival of File-Less Editing, the CmpLib editor becomes a true session editor, rather than a data source. So instead of being the definitive source for each component, which must be stored carefully on a hard drive, or backed-up under version control, it now becomes a streamlined tool with which to make changes to components, and re-release to new revisions of those components, without a physical file in sight.

In addition, the editor has been enhanced from a productivity perspective, offering a more intuitive user interface with an emphasis on greater usability - including improved model management, hierarchy-less component editing, and simplified release.

Vaults Panel Enhancements

The Vaults panel receives a number of productivity-boosting enhancements in Altium Designer 14.3, to improve your speed and efficiency when using the panel - including folder content paging, recursive folder deletion, batch state change of Item Revisions, drag and drop of multiple Items between folders, intelligent presentation of ComponentLink parameters, and support for opening non-Altium Designer documents.

Ability to Add Comments to Managed Documents

Altium Designer, in conjunction with the Altium Vault, brings support for Managed Projects - enabling a dispersed design team to collaboratively work on projects that are centrally stored and managed through the Altium Vault. Related to this, support is also available for adding comments to an area or object in a Managed Project's schematic or PCB document, without actual modification of the document itself. This allows all working on a document to comment and review the design (or part thereof) in real-time - analogous to the Comments feature of Google Docs.

Support for Vault-Based Libraries in the Libraries Panel

Altium Designer 14.3 brings the ability to place Vault components from Altium Designer's Libraries panel. Not only can you access the components in any Vault folder, you can also bundle any number of Vault folders to present as a single 'library' in the Libraries panel.

Local Version Control Service (SVN)

The Altium Vault installation provides localized 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.

Command Line Tool for Backup and Restoration

The Altium Vault installation caters for the archival of your vault data through the provision of a command-line-driven Backup & Restore tool. The tool backs up the entire Vault, including:

  • Full database backup
  • Revisions
  • Repositories and included managed designs
  • Search index
  • User defined settings

Network Installation Service

The launch of Altium Vault 2.0 sees the introduction of the Network Installation Service, or NIS for short. This Vault-based, browser-accessed, service allows an organization to perform installations or updates over their local network. The NIS also supports performing push installations, using Microsoft's Active Directory Group Policy. As well as being able to download and store products and extensions inside your local Altium Vault, you can also use this interface to download products and extensions outside of the Vault. This ability is included so that you can easily copy an installer onto a portable drive or optical disk, for those situations where the target PC is not accessible over your Local Area Network.

 

 

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