Increase the UI Object Limit

The UI of the WorkBench tool in 3SL’s Cradle is very flexible. It allows you to display the items and the results of running queries in individual tabs. You can split the display into panes and have many of these tabs in each pane. You may need to increase the UI Object limit if you want to have a very complex WorkBench UI.

UI Object Limit

Each part of the UI uses Windows resources called User interface objects. There is a limit on the number of these UI Objects that each WorkBench process can allocate.

The default is a maximum of 10,000 UI Objects per process. This can be increased to a maximum of 18,000 UI Objects per process by changing a setting in the Windows registry.

If you open so many tabs that WorkBench exhausts the UI Objects that it can allocate, then the WorkBench UI will hang.

Increase the UI Object Limit

To increase the UI Objects Limit you must edit the Windows registry value:

    \Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion

The steps are:

Set the UI Object Limit
Set the UI Object Limit
  1. Press Windows+R and enter regedit and click OK
  2. Navigate to the above registry entry
  3. Double click the entry for USERProcessHandleQuota, and set Decimal
  4. Enter the new value 18000 and click OK:
  5. Exit the registry editor

This change takes effect on any processes created from now on.

Do I Need to Do This?

In general, no you do not need to make this change.

We have only seen one case where this change was necessary. In this case, a customer had a form with 75 frames display in it. The WorkBench UI hung when a user tried to open the 6th item concurrently when using this form.

Increasing this limit allowed the user to open 10 items concurrently using this (very!) large form.

Of course, if you want to increase the UI Object limit as a precaution, then it will not do any harm!

Global Wind Day 2018

Engineering Our Future

As we eat our way through natural resources, our ever increasing hunger for power has to be fed.

One of the most significant developments of recent years has been the size and efficiency and installation methods used for wind farms. Global Wind Day 15th June (#GlobalWindDay) as defined by seeks to highlight and celebrate these successes.

Cropped image based on David Dixon's image Creative Commons ShareAlike 2.0
Walney Wind Turbine

Local Engineering Feat

Here at 3SL towers, we’re only a stones throw away from one of the world’s largest offshore wind-farms. Situated 15 Km off the coast it’s a great example of large scale engineering. Walney 1 and Walney 2 farms have a combined capacity of 367MW. Over 100 turbines in depths of water of around 20m it was quite an undertaking. Undersea cables bring the power ashore across Morecambe Bay towards Heysham.

Planning Large Projects

There are so many aspects to consider when planning a project. The more complex and the greater the importance of good requirements management. However, that’s not to say that you don’t need to manage requirements for small projects. This is why we believe it is important to offer the same functionality for single users all the way to full enterprise deployments. So whether you are planning a small scale windmill atop your holiday cottage, or a grand scale farm, Cradle could be the tool for you. Starting at €349 (June2018 price) , there’s no excuse for ‘just writing it in a document‘ and a ‘couple of spread sheets shop now or contact us for enterprise licensing.

Efficiency, Time and Motion Thoughts for World Cup 2018?

Thinking About Efficiency


The system should allow the placement of as many bubbles of air in two nets within a 90 minutes. The system should compare and display the result.


When initially modelled their appears to be a large inefficiency in the acquisition phase of the singular data item, or bubble of air, or ‘ball’ as it is sometimes referred to.

thinking about efficiency when designing
Parallel Operation


By planning some tasks in parallel it is possible to improve the efficiency.  The provision of multiple bubbles and the removal of contention provides a much smoother and more efficient operation.

Just a Thought

Maybe there are other aspects that had not been considered, and are difficult to model. Contention in this scenario can be regarded as entertainment. Not something that is easy to model in an eFFBD! #WorldCupRussia2018



If you have any coffee break thoughts on system modelling the World Cup 2018 , maybe you could share!


June 2018 Newsletter


June, halfway through the year, its easy to measure and define when we reach that point. Fundamentally that’s because the length of the year is clearly defined and we can measure when we reach the 1/2 way point.

Projects are not that simple.

If we’re unlucky we have no idea where we are or how far through the pile of requirements we have moved.

In a better position we have an idea how many requirements we have and how many have been linked to design solutions and possibly how many of those have been tested. A dashboard can help you quickly visualise these measurements.  The real problem, however, is knowing how much effort you have expended and how much is still needed. Numerically you may have completed 90% of your requirements, with 80% of your budgeted effort. Can the remaining 10% be completed with the remaining 20% budget?

metric showing the LoE expended so far
Effort / Completeness

One method would be to assign an LoE (Level of Effort) to each of the tasks. This then allows a weighted metric to be produced showing the numeric percentage of completed design elements compared to the current weighted effort expended.

This example show that although there are only 13% of the Design elements to complete we expect there is 46% of the total work still to be completed. Better check the budget and required finish date pronto!

Cradle Version 7.4

Cradle 7.4 Logo
Cradle 7.4

It’s great to see so many downloads of Cradle 7.4 and we hope you are enjoying the new features. We’re adding blog entries to cover these, and you can search for these using the  blog tag “cradle-7.4”

If you’ve not had a new security code and have a maintenance agreement, request a code by email.


User 3SL30 for a £30 discount see ‎
Discount code

We have a special “Secret (not!) Birthday Discount”  offer of £30 off single user prices and licences.

However, those buying Cradle Enterprise licences can choose to donate £30 per licence bought to a charity of their choice.   Ts&Cs apply

circus tent - based on photo

Last month our we chose to make a donation to  Circus Starr “The Circus with a Purpose” ‘A touring circus boasting world-class, professional artists from across the globe. It was first founded in 1987 and provides free seats for thousands of disadvantaged, disabled or vulnerable children, whilst helping to raise much needed funds for local charities.’

Banking Changes

Piggy bank
Banking Changes

As we have said previously, there have  been some changes in UK banking as some banks have been split so as to  isolate traditional banking from  investment banking activities.  Barclays have confirmed the new SWIFT BIC code is BUKBGB22. Our sort code and account numbers have stayed the same but our IBAN numbers have changed.  This is especially important to our distributors and overseas customers. Please contact to request our IBAN numbers. Updates are  posted here.


padlock over computer based on images from on

Our new policies have been released, if you didn’t see the last email please read  Privacy Policy Update article.

If you’ve got any noteworthy GDPR stories / articles that would be worth sharing let us know !!

Social Media


tweet from @fluenceenergy
Big Battery

We love keeping an eye on what’s new with our customers and what’s changing in the engineering community. This development is one BIG battery engineering challenge.


And on a lighter note we celebrated Chocolate Chip Day.

Attribute Sets

Uniqueness Across Single or Multiple Parameters

There are occasions where you want a number of components of an item to be unique, aside from its Identifier. Attribute sets allow you to specify combinations of attributes that are to be unique for an item type.

Set Components

They can be defined for requirements and  system notes. Each attribute set can contain one or more attributes chosen  from:

  • Key
  • Category (single value and multiple value categories)


You can define as few as one or as many as thirty three attributes (all categories and the key) for each set.

An item type can have multiple attribute sets.

In Practice

As an easy to explain concept, this example shows an asset register. The managers of the multiple Town Lodge sites each have assets installed in the building. To aid maintenance and asset recording, they want to ensure combination of:

  • the Building it’s in
  • the Location within the building
  • the Item type for the equipment
  • and an identifying index

are unique.

By setting each of these components as categories in the  ASSET item type, and then selecting Attribute Sets adding an Attribute Set called “Asset identifier” made from these categories, they can check for uniqueness.

Setting an attribute set in Cradle project schema
Attribute Set – Setup


As the user is assigning new items into the asset register, when they attempt to save the item, a uniqueness check is calculated. In this instance the combination has been used before, so the user is not allowed to save this item. In this case all they need to do is up the index of the ‘routers’ in the reception area. Obviously this can be any meaningful combination for your project.

seeing the user interface warning when an attribute entered is not unique
Attribute Set – Operation


These Attribute Sets checks are not as restrictive as an item’s identity.  You would not be allowed to create a duplicate ID/Version/Draft of an item in the database. It is applied when editing and saving an item. This allows you to freely copy items without having to decide on multiple unique combinations at the instant of copying. On subsequently editing and attempting to save the item, the checks would be performed. In a similar manner to ‘Mandatory Categories’.

Related Articles

Category Validation

Regexes (Regular Expressions) in Queries

Regular Expressions (Regexes)

A Regex is simply sequence of characters that define a search pattern. This pattern is then compared with the target test string and will produce a match if the pattern allows.

Cradle Queries

When retrieving information from the database, Cradle uses a query to filter the data returned. It looks for many matches against different aspects  of the item.

Ending Wildcards and Contains

Wildcard matches are available on the Identity and the Key fields The ones most likely to be identifying a hierarchy.

In the example below a query has been run with three values in the identity field.

  1. REQ-1
  2. REQ-1.
  3. REQ-1*

The results show

  1. Only REQ-1 returned  and exact match
  2. REQ-10, REQ-11, REQ-12 …. onwards a text match bringing back the matches greater than the stem. This is really useful for hierarchical numbers, bringing back the children of 1.1 (using 1.1.) say.
  3. REQ-1, REQ-10, REQ-11 a text match where the stem is followed by zero or more characters. This brings back the stem value too.
Wildcard values in a query
Wildcard Query

Contains matches are available on Name and Comment fields. They are case insensitive and look for the string of characters anywhere in the component.

In the example below

  1. regulation

Results in

  • Regulations
  • CAA Regulations
  • Airworthiness Regulations
  • Noise Regulations

This can be a little too wide.

Regular expression (regex) in a query
Regex Query

Regex Query

choosing a regex component in a query
Choose Regex

In order to provide more control it is now (Cradle 7.4) possible to switch to a Regex match. Choose the dropdown at the end of the field and select Regex Match. This will change how the search text is applied.

In the example above

  1. ^Regulation

Brings back

  1. “Regulations” only because the “^” at the beginning is a regex anchor to  the start of the line.


If we were searching for part numbers we might use ^Pt:[AB]+.* to bring back all parts starting Pt:A and Pt:B followed by any other characters.

There are many flavours of Regex, Cradle is based on the PCRE flavour. Instead of documenting the whole set of patterns, it is usually more appropriate for users to use their favourite documentation. We like and

Pros / Cons

Databases have a number of keys and indexes. Cradle is designed to work with these to produce results most effectively. Wildcard endings are more efficient as they match the way the data is sorted internally. Regex expressions have to match against all database entries. therefore there is a performance implication to using this more flexible matching. This is why both methods are provided and users can switch whichever they want on.

Related Articles

Special characters in regexes and how to escape them


Can I check for frames that don’t contain digits?

Privacy Policy – Update May 2018

Information We Collect and How we Use It


Under the new GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) we’ve updated our (Structured Software Systems Limited – 3SL)  Privacy Policy.

This sets out how we we deal with your information, and how you can get in touch with us.

We fully intend to keep in touch with all our customers, and prospects for which we have a legitimate business interest, or a need to service your contract.

If you believe you no longer fall into these categories, please use the un-subscribe link on any of our emails or write to us at our UK Headquarters or email

GDPR Privacy Policy
GDPR Coffee

A man walked into a coffee shop to order himself a drink.

Barista said “Wha’ d’ you want?”, before he’d had time to think.

“I’ll take a cappuccino, please, with sprinkles and a sugar or two”

“No prob’s I’ll have that in a jiffy, ready and tasty for you.
Just so I can make sure, you get your chosen drink,
I’ll need your name upon this cup”, he said without a blink.

“That’s personally identifiable information, mate, which is mine to keep.
But if I know you’ll handle it right, a soundly I will sleep.
Can you show me your Privacy Policy, that’s in-line with GDPR,
if you can’t I’ll go to the drive-through down the road, in my little car”

The policy was provided, all typed up and neat,
All twenty six pages of it, hardly what you’d call a treat.
At the end the man was happy his named cup in bold,
Would be retained no longer than necessary, but by then, his coffee, was cold!



Chocolate Chip Day

Spicing Up Your Designs

According to Wikipedia the Chocolate Chip Cookie has been with us since 1936. It’s an enhancement to an already tasty treat. #ChocolateChipDay

Its a reminder to all designers and engineers, you don’t have to re-invent the wheel to create a new project. Work from something you know and enhance it.

What gooey umpshesness would you add to your product?

It’s not just chocolate chips we want to know about. If you want to make a suggestion to  as to what you would add, we’ll compile a list and may update this post!

Generic suggestions allowed  e.g. “I’d add rhubarb to my cookies” but if you want to tell us about your company’s product “We’d like music to play when you draw diagrams in Cradle”, please email from a corporate email address. Include your name or moniker.




An overview of the Toolsuite Products in Cradle Software

Toolsuite is a set of tools which utilises the applications in Microsoft® Office. These tools will only work on a Windows environment utilising MS Office from 2007 and up.

Supported Versions and Platforms

The Toolsuite supported versions of MS Office are:

  • 2007 32‐bit
  • 2010 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 2013 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 2016, 32‐bit and 64‐bit

Any of the Click To Run (CTR) Office suite is also supported by Cradle Toolsuite.

This can be on any of the following Windows platforms:

  • 7 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 8.1 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 10 32‐bit and 64‐bit

Also it can be installed on the following servers:

  • 2008 R2 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 2012 64‐bit
  • 2012 R2 64‐bit
  • 2016 64-bit


The different tools within the suite utilise the following Office applications:

  • Word
    • Document Loader for loading documents

      New document version to be captured using Document Loader
      Document Loader Screen
    • Document Publisher for creating and printing of official documents
    • Spellchecker to check the spelling in item frames
    • Word/document frames for items e.g. .doc and .docx frames
    • Document Coverage shows the items covered by a document
    • Document Compare compares different versions of source documents against each other
    • Word frame to RTF Frame converter
  • Excel
    • Add-in for imports

      The Excel add-in for Cradle's Toolsuite
      Excel Add-in
    • Excel frames for files
  • Project
    • Add-in for importing and exporting to a project file
    • Project frames for files
  • Visio
    • Plug-in allows import of pages and symbols as items
    • Visio frames for files
  • PowerPoint
    • Allows WorkBench to print diagrams to RTF and convert the file to PowerPoint presentations.

Installing Toolsuite

For a successful install of Toolsuite, the MS Office needs to be of one version and not mixed versions. For example, if the user has Word/Excel 2007 but Visio/Project 2013, the plug-in or frames for Visio/Project 2013 is not installed. The installer automatically checks for the architecture of Word/Excel as each MS Office version needs different library files installed by Toolsuite. All other MS applications versions are disregarded if a different version to Word and Excel.

Upgrading or changing MS Office

If upgrading or changing your Office then you should always uninstall Toolsuite first. Once Office is upgraded or changed, Toolsuite can be reinstalled to allow the correct library files to be installed.

Uninstall Toolsuite not Cradle
Uninstall Toolsuite not Cradle

The user doesn’t need to download a separate Toolsuite installer but can find the installer within the main Cradle install folder.

Toolsuite folder
Shows the Toolsuite folder within the main Cradle install folder

During the install the InstallShield will automatically pick the version to install based on the version of Word and Excel that are installed.

Once Toolsuite is installed successfully, you can access the plug-ins by opening the relevant MS application and selecting the Cradle tab. Document Loader, Document Publisher and Spellchecker are opened through WorkBench, Project Manager or the start menu.

The ‘Word frame to RTF‘ frame converter is accessed via a command line utility. This will take Word frames and copy the data into an RTF frame. More information for using the converter can be found by entering c_word2rtf into the Search bar of our Help system or online at

Both Document Coverage and Compare are used inside WorkBench and are started by selecting one or more Source Documents and selecting the option in a context menu.

For information on binary and other frames types check our help section or search our blog.

Trouble Shooting Issues

If you are having issues with the install of Toolsuite, then try the following:

  1. Make sure your Windows platform is fully up to date including:
    a. Visual V++ Redistributables (
    b. ‘.NET’ (
  2. Ensure the installed MS Office is fully up to date and check compatibility with Toolsuite here
  3. Ensure your old office keys are no longer in the Registry especially if you are using Click-to-Run versions
  4. Check the Compatibility tab in the Properties for the Toolsuite setup.exe. Select Change settings for all users and uncheck the Compatibility mode checkbox at the top of the dialog. Click the Apply button and OK to close Properties.
  5. Make sure you perform  the install with System Administrator privileges not just logged in as an Admin user

If you are having issues after install then try the following:

  1. Make sure you have restarted your machine after the install
  2. Check you have opened your Office and registered it if you need to
  3. Check .Net framework and C++ redistributables are up to date
  4. Make sure your Toolsuite version is the same as your server version

If none of the above trouble shooting works then send an email to with any logs created, exports and screenshots if possible.

For more information either look for blogs about the individual applications or see our online Help.