November 2019 Newsletter

November Luck, Eddystone and Adaptations

The type of luck for Guy Fawkes and the discovery of the plot may depend on your political and religious views. November also appeared to have good and bad luck for a lighthouse. Read our November 2019 newsletter to find out more.

Sir John Barrow Monument - Hoad Ulverston Cumbria
Sir John Barrow monument – based on Eddystone lighthouse

The problem with undersea rocks, is they are difficult to see. If they are too near the surface they can easily catch wayfarers off guard with disastrous consequences. Painter and engineer Sir Henry Winstanley solved the problem of ships being wrecked off the Plymouth coast with the construction of the first Eddystone lighthouse. The wooden structure was first lit in November 1698, good luck for all the sailors. However, again in November bad luck struck,  the lighthouse was washed away in the Great Storm of 1703. The next incarnation came from John Rudyard, a silk merchant;  an adaptation of the initial idea,  a flashing light built out at sea right on top of the treacherous rocks. This time a brick core, covered with planks and caulking almost like a vertical ship. The lighthouse survived all its Novembers, only to burn down in December 1755. The next adaptation was by a civil engineer, John Smeaton. This design revolutionised lighthouse building. It was ready and shining just before November 1756. This concrete based construction lasted until 1877, and it was the erosion of the rocks upon which it stood, rather than the construction which failed. So great was this engineering design, it was reconstructed on Plymouth Hoe as a memorial, a copy was even built here in Cumbria, standing as a memorial to naval administrator Sir John Barrow. The current adaptation has stood for 140 years and fingers crossed it has no bad luck in the November weather currently battering the UK. The moral of the story, as far as engineering goes, build upon what is good, adapt and improve your design and don’t reinvent the wheel (or lighthouse). To read more on adaptations and reuse download our whitepaper, or see the Cradle help.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Deals

five pound notes
Five Pound Notes

We’ve got some great discounts for you or a donation to a charity of your choice with our 2019 discounts.

Social Media


B1M show us about the engineering spans in New Yourk
B1M tweet Nov 14th

Another item’s design that often evolves and adapts, is that of the bridge. We looked at a story from B1M about bridges in New York. We reminded you  there are different ways to control your password in Cradle, and hosted a student from Furness College on work experience.

And Finally


We’d like to mark our respects for the fallen, and hope you all had a peaceful remembrance day on the 11th. That’s all for our November 2019 Newsletter, let’s hope you have plenty of good luck. If you would like to suggest a topic for next time, drop us a line

Barrow Holiday Inn Express Barrow – Nearing Completion


3SL were given a sneak preview of the new Holiday Inn Express Barrow hotel opposite our offices today.

We were given a warm welcome at #HIEX_Barrow, while final preparations and tidy ups continue.  The facility has a great set of meeting rooms along with plush accommodation, food and bar facilities. All hosted in a friendly informal atmosphere.


What better time to consider whether you would benefit from some Cradle training, and a few days away near the English Lake District! Whether you are a requirements manager, a quality controller, a systems administrator or system design engineer, call us now to discuss your requirements.

Holiday Inn Express Barrow Construction
Holiday Inn Express, Barrow-in-Furness


The Holiday Inn can be booked directly. Please contact 3SL for details of rates.

Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2019

Flash Discount Sale

Great Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2019 deals this November / December. MIMO[1]!

Roll-up! Roll-up! Get Your  #BlackFriday / #CyberMonday Discounts

Buy your Cradle software and get a #BlackFriday / #CyberMonday discount
Cradle Discounts

Cradle combines a hugely powerful Requirements Management tool for massively scalable requirements engineering, with Model Based Systems Engineering capabilities (MBSE). It is available in a number of single user versions, or as tailored multi user enterprise packages. You can own and install it yourself or opt for SaaS hosting. From the initial inception of your project through the elicitation, analysis, design, testing and documentation phases of your project, Cradle is there to support you. With this great offer we’re giving you even better value, or offering to support a charity – see ‘Enterprise licences’.

Single User Product Discount

Use the special discount voucher code to get £50** off any single user product. If you’re not already on the latest version of Cradle, this year’s Black Friday is an ideal opportunity to upgrade.

All you need to do is enter the  £50** discount voucher code in the “Discount Code” field at the bottom of the shop checkout page during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2019 flash deal.

Enterprise Licences

We will offer £50** off EACH licence purchased during the offer period. For SaaS the discount will be taken off the per-user fee***. This may be taken as a discount from your invoice or you can nominate a registered charity of your choice and 3SL will make an equivalent donation. If you find your project is expanding and you add a single REQ licence for another engineer you can claim one £50** discount / donation. If you are buying a new set of licences for a project say 5-REQ, 2-SYS and 1-MET that’s a total of 8*£50 = £400 off the licence cost, or a lovely donation to a charity of your choice.

Enter your code NOW!

Lefthand starsBFCM2019Righthand stars

(*) Terms and Conditions

Continue reading “Black Friday / Cyber Monday 2019”

Work Experience – October 2019

Furness College Work Experience

Day 1:

work experience with Cradle

My week placement from Furness College at 3SL started with an introduction to the company’s employees, courtesy of Jan. She briefly addressed their roles and explained the layout of the office, before showing me to my desk. There was a laptop set up ready, and it was on this I’d be working for the rest of the week.

The first task given to me was to work through Cradle’s comprehensive tutorial, so I could learn its functionality through experience. This knowledge, albeit gradually gained, would serve me well over the following days.

Day 2:

Cradle Development database
Cradle Development Database

My second day began with one of 3SL’s Support Engineers, Cam, explaining how to operate their development database. It was very intuitive, being another instance of the Cradle software. If anything demonstrates a company has confidence in its product; it’s the fact that they use it themselves.

On here, the company had prepared a series of tests for me to perform across many of Cradle’s various facets. These helped to expand my understanding of Cradle’s applications, and gave me a valuable insight into the procedures involved in testing a software product.

Day 3:

Cradle screen
Features requested by customers

The third day, I was taught again by Cam on how to navigate and utilise the support call database, where the company logs any exchanges they have with their customers. One feature of this particular service is said database’s external accessibility – which, if they’re so inclined, allows Cradle users to see how their call is progressing.

Some calls may reveal flaws in the software; either by exposing bugs overlooked during testing, or by bringing to light new issues.

Customers may also call to investigate whether Cradle provides a certain feature they’ve found themselves needing. If it doesn’t, the suggested feature is filed into a list of those potentially included in the future. As this list is weighted by demand, periodic reviews are held to consider Cradle’s direction with these requests in mind.

I also learned about the internal testing, performed by the support department prior to software release.

Day 4:

Command prompt with some of the command lines used in the Batch File Reports
Command Prompt

On day four, I had the opportunity to meet the company’s programmers. They provided me with a document of both requirements and background information to their current project; then asked me to consider how I would approach the same problem. I was told to consider how elements of the software already present could be reused to accomplish a different objective – one of the key skills for any developer to have. This is because modularised code is not only far more versatile; but far more stable too.

De-constructing, the method by which a goal is achieved into componential steps (allocating a minimalistic concern per element) allows one to maintain track of all the necessary inputs and outputs at each. With these in isolation, another programmer – or even the selfsame at a later date – need not know exactly how a particular element of the broader system works in order to utilise it effectively; as they know what to feed into it and what it will produce in return.

I also learned one of the reasons bugs can appear only on the user’s version of the program, is that the optimisation processes of the IDE-external compiler can make alterations to the finalised code. Whilst this is typically a positive thing, there are instances whereby the structural changes may interfere with the core functionality of the software.

Day 5:

My final day of work experience at 3SL consisted of: watching a pair of videos explaining software as a service; being given a tour of the company’s social media, including some of the behind-the-scenes on how posts are produced; and writing this blog post to record everything I’ve learned this week.

L Anderson Work Experience Oct 2019


October 2019 Newsletter

Spirits, Cauldrons, Witches and Jack-O-Lanterns

Hubble bubble a requirements cauldron

The masses were hungry, they needed a solution. The Requirements Master toiled over her cauldron. Into the mix she added a freshly cut bunch of requirements, a handful of ideas and a sackful of luck. The brew steamed for day and night, and as members of her family walked by they threw in their ha’p’orth of comments.

The requirements soon stewed and disintegrated, but all could see the ideas floating to the top.

The swirling liquor produced a heady vapour, caught by the nostrils of the management team. They liked what they smelled and believed the Requirements Master was doing just fine.

When the soup was dished up to the masses, the flavour was odd, and it didn’t satisfy their hunger. They felt weakened and sad, some even passed over to another project. “A curse has been placed upon this town”, they cried, “the Requirements Master is a Witch!”  The town’s folk lit lanterns to guide the lost souls home to the  land of abandoned engineering.

Well, that’s certainly one way to do design and engineering! But we don’t believe the most successful.  Whilst it is often the case that many ideas are ‘chucked in the melting pot’, it should be used as a tool elicit idea, and not to ‘hopefully solve’ the problem. A more complex mix isn’t necessarily successful. As the tale told, losing sight of the requirements is a dangerous thing. Managing the project by a whiff of success is unlikely to be accurate.

So, don’t fall under the spell of those that don’t know how to engineer, and let Cradle light your way!

Non-Model Items, in a Model

What do we mean by non-model  items? In our system engineering representations specific components of the ‘model’ appear as particular symbols on the diagram. Behind each symbol the specification details the values and characteristics associated with the process/function/store/environment etc. A data definition is used to detail the information in a flow/store/relationship and so on.

The diagram can be cross referenced to the other Cradle components, such as  requirements or user defined system design notes. In this way a requirement could be “modelled by” a particular diagram. A feature “defined by” a state transition diagram and so on. These items, present in the Requirements Management arena are linked but not directly depicted within the model. We therefore class them as ‘non-model’ items.

It is possible, within Cradle, to directly show these items on FAD (Function Analysis Design) modelling diagrams. They can be used to group sub components of the diagram by representing the context within which they reside, or directly showing the item and some of its details. ‘Opening’ the symbol will show the details of the item in a Cradle form.

Screenshot of non-model items on a modelling diagram
Non-modelling Items on a Diagram

For further information on classic modelling, see the Cradle help.

Social Media


@ThalesGroup tweet regarding cyber attack prevention on transportation systems
@ThalesGroup Tweet

We postulated over travelling to work in a software controlled transport system, and the damage it could wreak following this tweet from @thalesgroup.

We asked you to get a colleague to quickly draw a hill on a piece of paper and then draw a house on it. How did they do?

That’s all for the October 2019 Newsletter, but if you would like to suggest a topic for next time, drop us a line

Cradle 7.5.1 Released

3SL is pleased to announce the release of Cradle-7.5.1

This is available for download from the 3SL website. This contains some new features and fixes which help provide a better Cradle experience for you.

Cradle-7.5.1 is the first patch release for Cradle-7.5, so is completely compatible with your 7.5 security code. Users with 7.5 do not need a new security code and can download and install without charge. Users on older versions of Cradle such as 7.4 or earlier can move to this version as long as they have maintenance. Simply request a new security code from the 3SL support team and get started!

Cradle 7.5.1
Cradle 7.5.1

New Features

  • 3SL have added the Brazilian Portuguese language to the message catalogue to go with the other 9 catalogues that already exist within Cradle!
  • The ability to get Baseline details and histories via the CradleAPI has also been added to 7.5.1.
  • ODBC was added to Cradle 7.5, after a couple of tweaks 3SL have now updated the documentation for this. Helping everything run more smoothly.

Any further information can be found within our help page. Cradle Help

September 2019 Newsletter

September, An Autumn Season

Computer innards - VTanasovich at
Buy the Hardware, Rent the Cloud?

I wonder if I could get a catchy acronym from that? SaAs…. Not quite sure that’s what the boss meant when he suggested we highlight the growing offloading trend. As you may remember, we surveyed readers a while back, and the split between “Keep it all in house” and “Get someone else to look after it all” was fairly even. However, the predicted compounded growth of this method of working is around 24% over the next 4 years or so. We feel sure that there will still be a mix of users on ‘traditional’ systems and others on the cloud based solutions. Partly this is a matter of  trust, knowing that your data is within your own four walls. However, SaaS providers often have better redundancy and backup facilities than SMEs. The benefits of PAYG computing power, without the capital investment and yearly depreciation of these assets, could benefit the shareholders of larger companies. It’s not a simple choice, but whatever you choose, please feel free to discuss your requirements with 3SL No doubt the debate will reign on, to be joined with discussions about whether Cradle is best served over Cat6 to a desktop, or sent over 5G speeds into your hand-held device. We expect that depends on what you ask of Cradle’s Web Services. It will also depend on whether you want a quick health check dashboard, or to be able to manipulate Engineering models.

Oh, yes and to keep readers happy who thought this article was about Autumn, here is a September picture over our wonderful bit of coastline.

view over Barrow-in-Furness
Autumn View Over Barrow

What’s In Store?

Cradle Registered Trade Mark

Cradle 7.6 is currently in development with a host of new features to support your business processes. Look out for a small patch release to 7.5 which has corrected some small faults and added a few improved features. Such as being able to get hold of baseline information over the API and a new Brazilian Portuguese message catalogue.

If you’ve not already upgraded to 7.5, don’t forget you’ll need a new licence code from 3SL. However, if you have, any forthcoming  patch releases can simply be downloaded and installed.

Social Media


Arup Tweet Aug 2019
Arup Movable Weirs Tweet

We liked the huge civil engineering works to protect against flooding from @ArupGroup
Whilst we always like to progress forward, we checked in with how sometimes it is good to go in reverse.

…and Finally

Congratulations to all those students who achieved so much in GCSE, A-level and Degrees this summer. A reminder to all those off to university, your lecturers can get massive discounts on Cradle for academic teaching. If you are now looking for work, don’t forget there’s  a short while left to apply for the support engineer post at 3SL.

Support Engineer Opportunity 2019

3SL Job Opportunity 2019

Job Opportunity Support Engineer 2019
Job Opportunity Support Engineer 2019

We are looking to recruit a talented individual to join our team. The role of Support Engineer is primarily to support 3SL’s many customers and to test 3SL’s Cradle products, both for new functionality & features and for regression testing of existing features.

If you are interested, please see here:

July 2019 Newsletter

Headline July 12th:

Chaucer Appointed Clerk of the King’s Works

Old books on shelf Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels .com

OK, this is a 2019 newsletter and the headline is from 1389 (and not from the 3SL newsletter, we may be a long established company but the MD assures me he’s not that old).

What’s Geoffrey Chaucer, the Father of English literature from the middle ages got to do with Requirement’s Management? I hear you ask.

Any wordsmith will strive to create a picture or describe an event in such a way that the reader is able to internally visualise and experience what the author is trying to convey. Whether that be fact or fiction is the main divide between literary and engineering authors. Visions of golden eagles carrying the author high above the earth in Chaucer‘s Hous of Fame, or a depiction of Hiccup, a small Viking, on the back of a Dragon, by our most recent Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, may paint vivid pictures, but are works of fantasy.

Business writing must also convey a visualisation to the reader. However in a very different style. No one would ever suggest writing your requirements in octosyllabic couplets, or even in rhyme. Although it does sounds fun! In the same way that a poet uses rules to create rhymes,  couplets, sonnets or limericks, business writers follow hierarchical, brevity, atomic rules to keep requirements clear, concise and understandable. We’d rather draw you a diagram to illustrate the system than add another thousand words.

Requirements need to have a purpose, a defined theme or product. Unlike the criticised unfinished, wandering Hous of Fame. In his job as the Clerk or works (CoW), Chaucer would have needed to provide clear instruction and detail to the builders. His work as a bureaucrat would also have required clear communication. An uncommon talent to find, skills in both literary and business writing, unless you know different?   Let us know

What’s In A Name?

Cradle Registered Trade Mark

Quite a bit really. We believe Cradle®From Concept to Creation is synonymous with a product helping organise and manage projects world wide. In that regard we have successfully defended our registered trademark under the “software umbrella” for many years. However, many of you will be familiar with Cradle support, training and business consultancy. You may also be aware Cradle is now also available as a managed service (SaaS).  In recognition of the work we do helping companies set up successful processes, and our service provisions, you’ll now also find Cradle® in classes 41 and 42

G Cloud 11

g-cloud HMGovernment

We’ve been successfully accepted into the UK government’s G-Cloud 11 framework. Thanks to the efforts of all involved.

Social Media


Batelle TweetWe liked the Soapbox challenge that came to Barrow, and enjoyed the longest day this year. We were impressed that Battelle‘s micro engineering could identify you from a hair.


Open Database Connectivity (ODBC)

Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) is an application that allows different types of databases to interface through the use of a library containing data access routines. Cradle now supports connections to DISAM, Oracle and MySQL.

Connection to Different Data Storage Types
This diagram shows the logical representation of the project data storage

Installation Requirements

Before installing check the minimum hardware and operating system requirements for ODBC. The following are necessary for a successful installation:

  • An Oracle or MySQL installation accessible to the CDS preferably on the same machine
  • An ODBC driver manager
  • An ODBC driver for the data source you wish to access. For example, Oracle in Oracle for Windows or SQL Server

Please ensure the versions are the following or greater

  • Oracle in Oracle from Oracle Corporation version is
  • MySQL ODBC 8.0 Unicode Driver from Oracle Corporation is version
  • Windows ODBC Data Source Administrator appropriate for your Windows release (Windows 7 or later)
  • unixODBC driver Manager 2.3.7 or later

*Cradle install will not work with Oracle databases that have been setup using the ‘Create as Container Database’ option.

ODBC is a licence option which can allow Oracle or SQL or both to work with our Cradle Enterprise version. This new licence is not available for any other version of Cradle. For enquires about the new ODBC licence, please email

Cradle and ODBC

The users can still import and export standard export, CSV, XML and now ReqIF files. If a user is on Windows they can still use our Toolsuite applications. The only difference is the access to databases either directly (DISAM) or through ODBC (Oracle and MySQL).

With Cradle supporting ODBC, a user can now install Cradle on the same database server farm as the Oracle/MySQL databases. A separate server is no longer required.  Although projects can be on a separate server and linked to the Cradle database using a UNC path e.g. \\hostname\path\projects\mmh1. Click for more information on Storing Project Databases in NAS.

 3 different projects on 2 different servers
Cradle About WorkBench UI showing 3 different projects on 2 different servers

Installing ODBC

The CDS requires an installation of ODBC on the same machine for either Linux or Windows. Client machines which don’t have the CDS on them don’t need to have ODBC installed at all.


If the Linux distribution you are installing on does not have v2.3.7 of unixODBC as a package, then you’ll need to build this from source. You can download and find installing steps for it from Ensure the user installing is the System Administrator or a user with administrator privileges for installing both ODBC and Cradle.

Check for the following files on your Linux installation:

libodbc, libodbccr and libodbcinst
Necessary files on Linux


If the Windows platform you are installing on does not have ODBC please install the latest Oracle in Oracle for Windows which can be found here. You can find installing and upgrading documents for Oracle Database here and select the release you are on from the drop-down.

Certain settings are required to be selected when using Oracle in Oracle. Check and enable or disable the following options in the Oracle ODBC Driver Configuration checking all numbers:

Oracle ODBC Driver Configuration
Oracle ODBC Driver Configuration for Application, Oracle and Workarounds

Turn on the Connection Pooling attributes and use the default options:

Pool Connection settings
Turn on Connection Pooling Attributes

Setting up with Cradle

After installation of both Oracle and Cradle, the administrator is required to check and alter the following files correctly:

  • Support file for the driver when required on Windows usually in ‘Oracle <version>\network\admin’

The following example of a tnsnames.ora file, shows it can have more than one Oracle database location set within it.

tnsnames.ora file
tnsnames.ora file
  • Correctly configure the ODBC file for Cradle in cradle\admin\odbc\ called odbc_config

All options are hashed out in the file until an administrator changes them. All options show an example of what can be entered. This is an odbc_config example for just Oracle on one of our installations.

    CONFIG_DIR = 'oracle'
    CHARSET_BDY = '.'
    CHARSET = 'AL32UTF8'
    ODBC_SOURCE = 'OracleODBC-18c-ORAC'
    DBMS_NAME = 'Oracle'
    DEFAULT_DB_SCHEMA = 'cradle_prj_$PCODE'
    ODBC_SOURCE = 'OracleODBC-18c-ORAC12'
    DBMS_NAME = 'Oracle'
    DEFAULT_DB_SCHEMA = 'cradle_prj_$PCODE'
  • Correctly configure the file create_CRADLE_CDS_USER in cradle\admin\db_config\odbc\setup_scripts

The default user tablespace and users within your Oracle database need to be set within this file. This is to allow the altering and creating privileges for the users. In our original it has:


The privilege options in create_CRADLE_CDS_USER should be changed to your own tablespace and user names used in the odbc_config file.

Creating New Projects

Users get the same Cradle interface as before but with a new section it now allows connects to 3 different types of database. The different databases can be created through Project Manager by selecting a different Data Source.

Showing 2 different Oracle databases in Create Project UI
Showing 2 different Oracle databases either can be used

Once a source is selected, a new section allows the default settings from the odbc_config file to be bypassed if required:


Projects can be still be created through a command line using c_prj using the new -odbc_src option.

[-odbc_src <odbc_source>
 [-odbc_sch {DEFAULT | DATABASE | NONE | <ODBC schema>}]
 [-odbc_usr <ODBC user>]
 [-odbc_pwd <ODBC password>]]
c_prj.exe -create -code TEST -title "Test Project" -path /home/project/odbc -pid ODBC01 -schema DEFAULT -odbc_source OracleODBC-18c-ORAC -odbc_user -odbc_pwd

Both -odbc_user and -odbc_pwd are left blank so the default user and password from the odbc_config file will be used. They will only be filled when an override is required. When creating a database for Oracle then the -odbc_sch DEFAULT would be used. For an SQL database then -odbc_sch DATABASE would be used.

File Locations

All items requirements, system notes and diagrams etc., will be located in an Oracle database but there are some files that are kept in a project folder like in a DISAM project.

The ‘prj_params’ file can be found in the project folder with a new file called ‘connection_config’. The ‘prj_params’ is the same as before, with all the options for the project schema and user interactions. The new ‘connection_config’ file holds the version, type, database source and odbc schema used. It also holds the User and Password to override the DEFAULT USER / PASSWORD from the odbc_config.

USER = *****
PASSWORD = *****

The definitions e.g. views, queries and reports etc., are still held in the definitions folder under the different user types. Source and Formal Documents are also held as before in the doc and fdoc folders.


Direct manipulation of data in Cradle’s data files held in DISAM or an ODBC supported database is not recommended under any circumstance. The inherent integrity of the data and its internal relationships can only be maintained by accessing through Cradle’s defined UI, command-line or API tools.

  • We do not provide any information about Cradle’s use of Oracle and
    MySQL other than which we provide in our documentation
  • We do not provide any information or assistance to anyone who is
    proposing to access Cradle’s data that is stored in Oracle or
    MySQL other than through Cradle
  • Anyone who accesses, either read-only or read-write, Cradle data
    that is stored in Oracle or MySQL without using Cradle as the only
    means to access that data, does so entirely at their own risk and
    3SL will not accept any responsibility for, nor provide any
    assistance to, anyone who accesses Cradle data in that way and then
    subsequently finds that their data is no longer accessible through,
    or manipulable by, Cradle