Browser-based Access and Management

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In addition to connecting to an Altium Vault through Altium Designer, and interfacing to it through the Vaults panel, you can also connect to it through a dedicated browser interface. In fact, connection in this way is more than just a connection to the vault itself. Rather it is a connection into the Altium Vault platform, with access to management interfaces for the various services available as part of the wider vault installation. Indeed, with some of these services, your only interaction with them is through this browser-based interface.

The interface provides access to the following key technologies and services:

  • Users - providing the interface to the Identity Service (IDS), to define vault (and other service) access, through specification of users, roles and associated license assignment. The latter specifies the type of connection to the vault and therefore the features and technologies that a user may be permitted to access and use. An administrator for the vault will also be able to view the active sessions, and kill sessions as needed to free up vault connections.
  • Projects - providing the interface to the Projects service, to create and manage projects in a central location, and share those projects for team collaboration as required.
  • Vault - providing manipulation of vault content itself, including folder definition. This allows people other than the designer to contribute to the management and maintenance of vault data, as well as being able to access and download released data for specific Item Revisions.
  • VCS - providing the interface to the local Version Control Service, to define SVN-based Design Repositories for use by all designers across the organization. These repositories provide the source-side storage for Managed Projects.
  • Suppliers - facilitating centralized supply chain management, with designers across the entire organization using the same approved list of Vendors with which to source supply chain intelligence for the components used in their designs.
  • Installations - providing the interface to the Network Installation Service, through which you can perform installations or updates to Altium Designer over your local network, through hand-crafted deployment packages.
  • Configurations - providing the interface to the Team Configuration Center, to define and manage 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. In other words, it facilitates Centralized Environment Configuration Management.

Accessing the Interface

To access the Altium Vault, simply use a preferred external Web Browser and type the address for the vault in one of the following formats:

  • http://<ComputerName>:<PortNumber>
  • http://localhost:<PortNumber>

(e.g. http://jhowiehome:9780, or http://localhost:9780, for an Altium Vault installed using the default port assignment). You will be presented with a Sign-in page.

Depending on your browser, you can drop the http:// part, and simply enter <ComputerName>:<PortNumber>, or localhost:<PortNumber>.

Sign in through the browser interface using the same vault credentials used to connect through Altium Designer. For a newly installed Altium Vault, there is a default administrative user with the credentials:

  • Username: admin
  • Password: admin
While the default admin user could be left for general entry to the vault by administrators, it is a good idea to change the First Name, Last Name and Username to something more meaningful for your organization. And it's definitely a good idea to change the default password from admin to something only known/passed to authorized administrators – otherwise everyone could simply access the vault as an administrator!

Access an Altium Vault, and its associated platform services, through a preferred external Web browser.

The following sections provide a summary overview of the pages presented through the interface.

Only administrative users can access the following services through the interface: Licensing and Sessions (through Users), VCS, Suppliers, Installations, Configurations.

Users

Main article: Managing the Users of an Altium Vault

This page of the interface provides controls for managing the users of an Altium Vault, with controls spread over the following sub-pages:

  • Users - use this page to create and manage a list of users; people who are to have access to the vault and/or the associated technologies installed with it.
  • Roles - use this page to create and manage a list of roles; roles allow you to further organize your users according to, for example, the particular section of the organization in which they are involved, or the design team they are in. Roles also make the sharing of vault content, and the configuration of other vault-served technologies, more streamlined.
  • Licensing - use this page to determine how users of the vault are to be licensed. By default, all users are set to automatically take a seat of the highest Client Access License available to them from a floating pool of licenses. Alternatively, assign a user a seat of a specific type of Client Access License - effecting a 'named license' as it were. Doing so will remove a seat of that license type from the floating pool of licenses. In this way, the user is always guaranteed access to the vault, and always at that feature level.
  • Sessions - use this page to quickly assess which of your users are currently signed into the Altium Vault. Provision is made for an administrator to terminate a user's access to the vault by effectively 'killing' their active session, thereby freeing connections to the vault for use by others.
A single, administrative user is provided, admin. This user, and any additional user, is bestowed aministrative powers by membership to the role Administrators.
Only an administrative user has full access to management controls. While a non-administrative user can browse Users and Roles, they cannot access Licensing or Sessions. And while management of users by a non-administrative user is not generally possible, they are able to change the profile of their own user - including changing username and password.

Access and manage the users of your Altium Vault.

Projects

Related article: Managed Projects

This page of the interface lists all Managed Projects for the organization. Managed Projects target the development stage of the project lifecycle, simplifying the creation and ongoing workflow for version controlled projects. From here you can create new projects, and manage existing ones. It is from this interface that a project can be shared, or rather its access permissions configured.

A project created through this interface, or through Altium Designer, will initially only be available to the designer who created it, and all Administrators for the Altium Vault. To make it accessible to others simply share it, by configuring its permissions.
The beauty of Managed Projects is that they are version controlled by default, and can be collaboratively worked upon without having to worry about shared drives, servers, agreements etc. Version control is handled courtesy of the Altium Vault's local SVN-based Version Control Service.

Centralized project management - all part of your Altium Vault installation.

Vault

Main article: Browsing Altium Vault Content from a Web Browser

This page of the interface gives you access to the structure of the Altium Vault, and is similar in presentation and layout to that of the Vaults panel. From here, you will be able to browse the folders and Items within the vault. And although you can't create or edit Items from within the browser interface (you can remove them), you are able to create and edit folders, and so build the structure of the vault, without having to be connected to that vault through Altium Designer.

You can also define sharing from this interface - controlling who is able to see what content in that vault, and whether other users can simply view a folder and its content, or also edit it (effectively releasing design data into it). A single vault can be partitioned into various effective 'zones' of content, but with controlled permissions, the content can be made selectively visible, or hidden, as required – giving the right people, the right access, to the right data.

Content can also be downloaded from the vault, directly from this interface.

Those with administrator-level privileges will be able to see and manage all vault content. For a shared user of the vault (non-admin), only those folders that have been shared – i.e. the user has permissions to access – will be accessible when the user connects to that vault.
Non-administrative users can only share a folder they have created.

Browse and define the structure of your Altium Vault, as well as defining access and being able to download content.

VCS

Main article: Local Version Control Service

This page of the interface provides controls for managing the SVN-based Design Repositories that designers in the organization can validly access and use while working on design projects. Repositories can be created through the Altium Vault's local SVN-based Version Control Service, or external repositories can be connected to.

A default Design Repository is available, named DefaultRepository. Rename and manage user access to this repository as required.
Use the sharing controls to configure user access to the repositories. 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.

The browser-based interface to the Altium Vault's local SVN-based VCS service.

Suppliers

Related article: Supply Chain Management

This page of the interface enables you to define a list of Approved Suppliers - facilitating centralized supply chain management, with designers across the entire organization using the same approved list of Vendors, with which to source supply chain intelligence for parts used in their designs.

The actual supply chain intelligence – comprising Manufacturer (and part number), Supplier (and part number), Description, Pricing and Availability – is sourced from the vault's local Part Catalog and the relevant Supplier Database. The latter can be an external database (Supplier web-based service), or an internal company parts database (ODBC-based). It is this link to the Supplier database that yields real-time pricing and availability data.

When opting to source data directly from your company's own internal parts database, the Altium Vault's local Part Catalog is linked to an ODBC source through a Database Link file (*.DbLink).

For each Supplier, there are two essential elements to define:

  • Whether that Supplier is available to the designer when sourcing supply chain intelligence for parts in their designs.
  • The frequency at which data sourced from that Supplier is refreshed.

Define which Suppliers are to be used when sourcing supply chain intelligence.

Installations

Related article: Network Installation Service

This page of the interface provides access to the Altium Vault's Network Installation Service. This service allows an organization to perform installations or updates over their local network. The Network Installation Service also supports performing push installations, using Microsoft's Active Directory Group Policy.

The PC where you perform network installations from, must be on the internet, and have Altium Vault 2.0 (or later) installed.

The installation functions are spread over six sub-pages:

  • Local Vault - use this page to browse the products and extensions available in your local Altium Vault (acquired from the Altium Cloud Vault). A deployment package can only include products and extensions that are listed here.
  • Altium Cloud - use this page to choose the products and extensions that you want to download from the Altium Cloud Vault, into your local Altium Vault.
  • Manual Updates - use this page to browse a list of all products and extensions, for which there is a newer version currently available in the Altium Cloud Vault. The Altium Cloud Vault is checked automatically, so if the product/extension list is blank, there are none available.
  • Automatic Updates - use this page to define which products and extensions are to be monitored and updated automatically. Checking is performed in accordance with the Update Checking Interval, defined on the Settings page.
  • Deployment - use this page to create a Deployment Package, which is a ZIP file containing an installer and a configuration file. Once a Deployment Package has been created it can be downloaded, the contents extracted from the ZIP, and the executable run to install the chosen product and extensions.
  • Settings - use this page to enter credentials for accessing the Altium Cloud Vault (AltiumLive credentials) and your local Altium Vault (vault credentials), as well as setting a checking interval for automatic updates.
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.

Access the Network Installation Service, with which to perform installations or updates to Altium products and extensions over your local network.

Configurations

Related article: Environment Configuration Management

This page of the interface provides access to the Altium Vault's Team Configuration service. The role of this service is simplicity itself – to give the organization centralized control over the environment its designers operate in. It achieves this 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. In other words, it facilitates Centralized Environment Configuration Management.

Any number of environment configurations may be defined. The data used and enforced by each configuration – referred to as Configuration Data Items – are sourced from the Altium Vault. And by associating each environment configuration with a specific user role, and in turn assigning users to those roles, the correct working environment is loaded into Altium Designer as soon as the user signs in to the Altium Vault (sometimes referred to as the Enterprise Environment). Using this role-based approach ensures that a designer always gets the setup they are entitled to, no matter whether they have their own PC, or are sharing a single PC with fellow designers.

The interface allows for an administrator to craft one or more environment configurations, depending on the needs of the organization. Each configuration requires the definition of:

  • Configuration Data – the elemental constraints of the configuration. The Schematic Templates, Output Job files and Altium Designer Preferences that can be validly used by a user targeted by the configuration.
  • Target Roles – specification of whom the environment configuration applies to. Roles themselves are simply groupings of users, defined and stored as part of the vault's Identity Service. These are the same roles that are defined and used by the Altium Vault to control access permissions.
To define configuration data for an environment configuration, ensure that relevant data Items have been released to, and exist in, the target Altium Vault. 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.
Configuration data is stored in the Altium Vault's database.

Access the Team Configuration Service, from where to define and manage environment configurations for your organization.

Vault Status

Clicking the Status link at the bottom-left of the browser interface gives you access to a page containing the following information:

  • Version information for the current Altium Vault installation.
  • Information about the installation paths for the database and data, including the type of database being used by the Altium Vault.
  • Information about the installation path to log files. For each distinct service, click on the associated  icon to download a zip containing the relevant set of log files.

The Status link provides access to installation details, as well as log files for the various services.

 

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