Trying to find an onomatopoeic word for a siren, is a bit tricky (as you will see from our efforts above!). Warning – Warning! you have an extra day in February this year. Just in case you’d not realised the divisible by 4 but not 100, unless 400, means 2020 will have 29 days this February. Now that you have been Alerted to that fact, we can use this as the most convoluted (so far this year) seg-way to remind you about Cradle’s Alert feature.
There are no bells, whistles or sirens, and the most likely way you’ll know you have one is a reminder when you log into WorkBench. The tool bar across the top will show the number of new alerts you have. Alerts can be raised for all manner of things, from the Project Schema changing, to a new item being created or items being linked to items you own. You can see, read, clear them from the Alerts dialog. You can even send new ones directly to other users, “Gwendolyn – have you finished that review yet please?”. You can have Cradle create email alerts, sent directly to a user’s in-box. In summary, they are a useful tool to keep you up to speed with what’s going on in Cradle. More in depth information can be found in this post, or in the help. There are also a setting to control their accumulation.
Love is in the Air
Need more Cradle licences for a bigger project? Not upgraded your single user product to Cradle 7.5? We want to share the love of Engineering, Requirements Management and our favourite topic Cradle. Take a look at this special Valentine’s 2020 discount offer.
We noted that the most basic element is starting to attract a lot of interest, with @Alstom‘s tweet.
February the 27th marks World NGO Day a chance to remember that not everything is run by governments, or businesses, that charities, organisations and collaborative groups are equally important in a harmonious world. So have a think how you can support an NGO of your choice, let others know too #WorldNGODay. To those that are keeping the wheels of society silently ticking – we salute you.
A New Dawn, a New Decade, a New Year, a New Animal
We all like to celebrate something new, and 3SL hope you do too. Whether it was the change in decade, the Norse/Gaelic Hogmanay, or the new moon bringing in the year of the Rat. We wish you a great start.
This year will also see a new chapter in UK’s history. At the end of the month we are leaving the European Union. Rest assured 3SL will still be here in Barrow, providing new releases, support, training and services. However, as new regulations come into effect we may need to change some contractual details. We will work hard to ensure these have as little impact as possible on your continued use of Cradle. We will keep you posted through these newsletters and direct mailings. So it’s a good time to ensure all staff that may need to know are signed up to receive communications. If you need to change your main company contact, write to email@example.com .
It sometimes feels, that at this time of the year, we’re just “pushing trolley” piling it high with presents and food. Swept along with the commercialism of the season, “Buy Now“, “Massive Discount” adverts. And all while listening to endless repeats of “Now That’s What I Call Christmas” played over the tinny PA system. (Congratulations if you took advantage of Cradle #BlackFriday deal! To remain on point, “Only a few days left to buy a copy of Cradle for Christmas” Look into my eyes; You want to buy now).
Whilst indulging in the festivities, don’t forget to pause a while and consider those less fortunate. Making an extra effort to put change in a collector’s tin, donating to your local food-bank, or shelter can make a great difference.
Yep, you didn’t finish that report before leaving for the holiday. Over the holiday you ate too much. You didn’t take advantage of that gym membership you bought last New Year? Well, you can make promises to start the New Year afresh and do all those things you intended to do in 2019. (You can see this is working up to another sales point) So if extra copies of Cradle are not on your Christmas list, make sure it’s lined up for new projects starting in 2020.
Build a Folly? or Buying a Collie?
If you like, as long as it is at home and not one of the projects at work – Customers will always see through a façade eventually.
Above all, we hope if you get a break, you find time to relax with family and friends. Whatever this Winter (Summer – to our friends South of the equator) season means to you, we wish you all the best from 3SL.
The Cradle Web Services Interface is an API (Application Programming Interface) to Cradle to allow you to develop your own interactions with the database.
Cradle has long offered a C and .Net interface to allow programs to retrieve and store database items. Whilst the standard API is a comprehensive interface, it requires a fair degree of programming knowledge and support structure to create and maintain applications which interface to Cradle.
The new Cradle WSI is a REST-based HTTP interface, this offers an alternative method by which users can make data requests using a URI to the Cradle Web Service. Through support of standard HTTP methods POST, GET, PUT & DELETE, data can be retrieved and manipulated. The JSON data returned can be manipulated by any script or programming language you choose. Updated data can then be returned to Cradle. You may want to interface with another product, linking Cradle data, or simply to output and use in a different data visualisation tool. To see the full range of capabilities see the product documentation for the Web Services Interface User Guide. In order to use these facilities, talk to us about a Cradle API licence.
Wow 2019 has flown by, in writing our December 2019 Newsletter, we take a peek back at what happened:
Cradle 7.5 released
WSI – Web Services Interface http REST interface
ReqIF – A standard for requirement interchange can now be imported and exported from Cradle
ODBC database support – if you want to store your data in an Oracle or MySQL data-farm
Baseline histories can be read through our API
Non-model items (requirements and system notes) on Cradle diagrams.
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.
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
We’ve got some great discounts for you or a donation to a charity of your choice with our 2019 discounts. https://www.threesl.com/blog/black-friday-cyber-monday-2019
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
For further information on classic modelling, see the Cradle help.
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 email@example.com. 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.
What’s In Store?
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.
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.
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.
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‘sHous of Fame, or a depiction of Hiccup, a small Viking, on the back of a Dragon, by our most recent Children’s LaureateCressida 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 octosyllabiccouplets, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s In A Name?
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
We’ve been successfully accepted into the UK government’s G-Cloud 11 framework. Thanks to the efforts of all involved.
The half way month in the Gregorian calendar and here is the June 2019 Newsletter. June is derived from the Anglo-French Juin, from Latin Junius.
The 1st of June is a call for us all to recognise the importance of Reefs in the world’s eco system. The complex interaction of many individual organisms linked by a rock/bone like skeleton, is home to many an animal and plant (It’s a bit like many requirements linked together defining your system in Cradle!) Sorry for the contrived comparison.
On the 14th June it is international bathday, we can hear some of our engineers asking us to clarify if it is REALLY six months since their Christmas dip! On the 21st, here in the North, we’ll be celebrating the longest day of the year with the summer solstice.
In addition, for many potential engineers it’s a celebration of the end of their exams with the prospect of moving on to college, university or finding a job, good luck all.
3SL are pleased to announce the arrival of Cradle 7.5.
This release is available as a new product, or an upgrade for users with maintenance. You can download it here, and after that you will require a new security code to use it.
Support for ReqIF (Requirements Interchange Format).
This allows Cradle to exchange information with other requirements
management and systems engineering tools that also support ReqIF.
Please note that you need to carefully define a mapping between the
information in your Cradle schema and the schema used in the other
Web Services Interface
Support for Web Services, a new REST-based HTTP API.
This provides both session-based and ‘single-shot’ interaction
with Cradle through a WSI (Web Services Interface) that provides a
range of facilities to query the schema, query the items and links
in the database, and to create or modify items and links.
The WSI uses an API connection licence.
Support for users who wish to store their data in a third-party RDBMS (Relational Database Management System) Oracle or MySQL) as opposed to the file-based ISAM database supplied free with Cradle.
This new capability allows you to store each Cradle database in
any of ISAM, Oracle and MySQL. The Cradle Database Server (CDS)
can interact with ISAM and/or Oracle and/or MySQL all at the same
time if necessary.
Note that you need to provide the ODBC driver for the RDBMS and
you need to perform some initial configuration of the RDBMS before
Cradle can interact with it. We provide full details of the steps
needed in the Cradle documentation.
This gives Cradle another unique capability. Cradle is the only
tool which provides a choice of database back-ends to store your
Enhanced Matrix Details dialog, variable substitutions within navigation attribute values.
Queries on Frame Content
Support sequential testing for frames in queries.
Integration between model-based (specifications, data definitions, diagrams) and your project’s requirements and notes (which are not sub divided into models, non-model information). shown in all types of diagram in the FAD (functional, architecture, data) group of notations.
This is a major extension to Cradle’s modelling capabilities. It
allows you to show, in any diagram, how the elements of the model
(functions, processes, equipments, interfaces and so on) are
– Information earlier in the lifecycle, such as requirements
– The system structure, such as a SBS
– Information later in the lifecycle, such as test cases
Some SysML notations allow requirements to be shown in a model.
This is helpful. However, the new non-model information symbols
provided by this enhancement offer far more capability than is
offered in SysML.
Firstly, a new DateTime category and frames to help support ReqIF.
Enhanced option for selecting/entering link attributes for cross references.
Additionally, the ability to disable/enable sidebars for a particular user type.
New options (skills) when applying a role to a User Profile.
It been great news for the Barrow HQ of 3SL (Structured Software Systems Limited) we’ve received our ISO9001:2015 certificate in the post.
We celebrated in true engineering style by ordering pizzas for everyone in the office, and reporting it in the May 2019 newsletter.
Will dealing with 3SL change?
For over 30 years we’ve been providing a great product and in depth support and training. This will not change, we will continue to serve you and your business as before.
Will the prices go up?
We believe Cradle has always been good value for money, we won’t be using our certification as an excuse to charge more.
Will contacting 3SL be a more lengthy process?
No, our quality systems are part of our daily operation. We may have tweaked the odd process, but we will still log and deal with your information and requests in the professional manner to which you are accustomed.
Does this mean that Cradle will change?
No the product will remain the same until the next update and the release of Cradle 7.5
So why did you apply for a certificate?
We asked Mark Walker our Managing Director, he replied “ISO9001 is an external recognition that the processes and quality at 3SL and its Cradle products are measurable, traceable and of a consistent standard. This will give our customers an added assurance that when they deal with 3SL they can do so with confidence in our software development and service delivery”
Quality assurance for the business is very closely related to the quality assurance of your products. We have covered, a number of times in various articles, the fact that we need to know what our goals are, measure where we currently are, and then ensure we head in the right direction. When we finally have a set of clear requirements, we need a way to measure whether what we have achieved meets the original stakeholders’ expectations. This is where requirement confirmation is employed.
We re-visited a discussion on whether a baseline is the end of the road or a stepping stone in Configuration Management.
St George was a Dragon slayer,
Dragons were slayed by George,
If you’ve never seen a Dragon to-date………..
Can that be used as conclusive proof that he was a 100% effective solution???
Your thoughts on this and any other blog topics you would like to raise send to email@example.com
With Easter upon us, its a time of renewal and new life. We love that just outside our offices we can see the signs of new leaves on the trees, beautifully planted Barrow Borough Council roundabouts and hanging baskets, and playful businesses selling their wares on the street.
For those of you used to reading the 3SL newsletter, you’ll see that there is a new broom sweeps clean, spring is the time to start afresh parable style link coming, so here goes….
“Spring, the cycle will goes on new shoots will grow from the old and the plant will expand. However, as any gardener knows, pruning an old herbaceous plant, will result in more vigorous new life.”
Here it comes…..
“Whilst you may have systems in place, that sprout an odd shoot, really vigorous process improvement will not occur on old gnarled wood.
Look hard at your processes give them a good hard prune, and reap the rewards. As a gardener needs sharp secateurs, good software tools help you manage your business, design and implementation processes. #Cradle from 3SL”
We’re implementing the last tweaks to Cradle 7.5. Thanks for those who provided feedback. Look out for ReqIF import, Cradle Web Services, and alternative database storage.
We’re busy in the process of ensuring Cradle is available on the forthcoming G-Cloud 11
We trust no one fell for the April Fool, but we did like the thought of superfast fibre installation!
We wondered if #Airbus’ Skyways drone could be a way to ensure the martini is delivered shaken and not stirred to our luxury yacht. (mmmmm, we’ll have to buy one of those first).
And we revisited our functional / non-functional requirements post.