Creating and Managing Environment Configurations

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Parent article: Centralized Environment Configuration Management

This page contains information regarding legacy Team Configuration Center technology, that was previously sold as a separate solution. For infor mation on creating and managing environment configurations with the latest technology, which is included as part of an Altium Vault installation, see Managing Environment Configurations.

An organization can centrally control the environment its designers operate in, through the definition and management of Environment Configurations. These are used to constrain each designer's Altium Designer working environment to only use company-ratified design elements, including schematic templates, output job configuration files, and workspace preferences.

Environment configurations are created and managed from within the Team Configuration Center, through its browser-based interface, allowing an administrator to craft one or more environment configurations, depending on the needs of the organization.

Accessing the Team Configuration Center

The interface can be accessed through an external Web Browser, or directly from within Altium Designer.

  • External Web Browser – simply use a preferred external Web Browser and type the address for your organization's Altium Vault Server (or dedicated vault as part of a standalone installation of the Team Configuration Center) in the format http://<ComputerName>:<PortNumber> or http://localhost:<PortNumber> (e.g. http://jhowiehome:9780, or http://localhost:9780). This gets you to the sign-in page for the Altium DXP App Server. Once signed in, you will be presented with the User Management page. Switch to the Team Configuration Center's interface by clicking on the Team Configuration Center header.
  • Altium Designer – simply use the Configuration sub-view, available under the main Vault view of the Home page (View » Home).

The browser-based interface is only accessible when the Team Configuration Center is installed, and the user is signed in with administrative rights.

Example access of the Team Configuration Center's browser-based user interface - through a preferred external Web Browser.

For a standalone installation of the Team Configuration Center, a dedicated internal vault is bundled as part of the installation. This is not an Altium Vault Server, but rather a simple storage vessel for the configuration data items used by environment configurations. As such, the browser interface will not reflect services related to an Altium Vault Server - so no Vault Explorer, Suppliers, and Content Cart tabs.

Creating an Environment Configuration

To create a new environment configuration, simply click the Add Configuration button, located at the top-right of the page. Use the Create Configuration pop-up to give the configuration a meaningful name and description, perhaps reflective of the people whose working environment it is to govern. After clicking OK, the configuration will be created and opened ready for definition.

Example addition of a new environment configuration.

Although the environment configuration is created, it is not yet saved. Refreshing the browser page at this stage would result in loss of the configuration. To ensure the configuration is 'saved', click the Save Configuration button. The configuration does not have to be defined prior to saving, allowing you to create placeholder configurations, then come back later to define them. Configuration data is stored in the Altium Vault Server's database (or DXP App Server's database for a standalone installation of the Team Configuration Center).

Any number of environment configurations may be created and defined, in accordance with the needs of your organization.

Click within the banner area of an environment configuration to expand/contract it, revealing/hiding its definition respectively. Click the Edit control () within the banner area to access the Edit Configuration pop-up, from where the name and/or description for the configuration can be modified as required.

Defining an Environment Configuration

Definition of an environment configuration essentially consists of two parts:

  1. Configuration Data – the elemental constraints of the configuration. The Altium Designer Preferences, Schematic Templates, and Output Job documents that can be validly used by a user targeted by the configuration.
  2. Target Roles – specification of whom the environment configuration applies to. Roles themselves are simply groupings of users, defined and stored as part of the Altium DXP App Server's Identity Service. These are the same roles that are defined and used by the Altium Vault Server to control access permissions.

Be sure to click the Save Configuration button to save configuration data and nominated target roles to the configuration.

Configuration Data

To define configuration data for the environment configuration, ensure that relevant data Items have been released to, and exist in, the target Altium Vault Server (or dedicated internal vault, for a standalone installation of the Team Configuration Center). For detailed information on creating each of these vault-based data items, refer to the pages Releasing a Schematic Template to an Altium Vault, Releasing an Output Job File to an Altium Vault, and Releasing Altium Designer Preferences to an Altium Vault, respectively.

The process for specifying which configuration data Items – sourced from the organization's Altium Vault Server/standalone internal vault – are to be used by users of the environment configuration, is similar for each of the three supported data elements. In each case, you simply specify the required data Item revision through use of the Vault Explorer pop-up. Access this pop-up as follows:

  • When specifying which Altium Designer Preferences Item is to be used, simply click the Edit control () – to the right of the Altium Designer Preferences field.
  • When specifying which Schematic Template Item(s) and Output Job Item(s) to use, simply click the Add button in their respective areas.

Within the Vault Explorer pop-up, use the left-hand region, which reflects the folder tree in the vault, to browse to and select, the folder containing the required Item. Once selected, the top-right region will populate with a listing of Items (and revisions thereof) in that folder. A preview of the currently selected Item Revision is presented in the lower-right region. Select the required revision and click OK.

Example of browsing for a specific revision of a Schematic Template Item, to be used by the environment configuration.

For a standalone installation of the Team Configuration Center, the interface is slightly different. With no traditional connection to the dedicated internal vault bundled with the installation, there is no notion of browsing, or folder structure within the vault. Therefore, a flat listing of Items and their revisions is presented in the Vault Explorer: Items and Revisions pop-up.

Any number of Schematic Template and Output Job Items may be specified for an environment configuration. However, only a single Altium Designer Preferences Item may be specified. The same data Items can also be used across different environment configurations.

When adding Schematic Template or Output Job Items, multiple revisions can be selected for addition en masse in the Vault Explorer pop-up.

If an environment configuration applicable to a user has not been fully defined – i.e. not all data configuration items have been specified/added – those undefined elements of the environment will remain manually definable by the user.

Example configuration data - fully defined.

To remove the currently chosen Altium Designer Preferences Item, simply click the Remove control () to its right. To remove a Schematic Template or Output Job Item, simply select that Item in the relevant list and click the corresponding Remove button.

Target Roles

To specify a target role, click the Add control (), to the right of the Target Roles field. Use the Add Role pop-up that appears to choose a Target Role Name. The drop-down field lists all currently defined roles, stored as part of the Altium DXP App Server's Identity Service. Simply choose a role and click OK. That role will be added to the Target Roles list. To remove a role, simply click the Remove control (), to its right.

Example addition of target roles.

Roles are defined through the DXP App Server's browser-based User Management interface and are essentially specific groupings of users. You may be familiar with this interface as part of the set-up and management of user access to your Altium Vault Server. Detailed information on definition of users and roles can be found in the article: Browser-based Management of an Altium Vault Server.

After assigning roles to an environment configuration, and saving that configuration, you will be alerted if any users in those roles do not have access to 'see' any defined data Items in that configuration. Unless specifically shared at the folder or Item-level in the Altium Vault Server, an Item is only visible to the person who created it – its Owner – and any member of the Administrators role. This enables you to control which data Items of an environment configuration are available, when that configuration is used by various different roles. To quickly share all data Items in the environment configuration with a role (that can't currently access those Items), simply click the Share configuration items control (), to the right of that target role's entry.

Any number of environment configurations can be defined, with each used by any number of defined roles. Roles ensure that each user gets the Altium Designer setup they are entitled to, especially if using a shared work computer.

Removing an Environment Configuration

To remove an environment configuration – deleting it from the Team Configuration Center (and from the Altium Vault Server database) – simply click the Remove control (), at the far right of the banner area for that environment configuration (when expanded).

Control for removing the environment configuration.

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