March 2018 Newsletter

Heading to Spring

As we head into Spring, most of us are keen to leave behind the horrible weather that came with the Beast from the East. Some of the worst UK snow seen in years. We’re happy to say that Barrow-in-Furness saw

snowy road by
Snow Problem

little impact and the support team were able to maintain full levels of service. We hope your businesses were not too badly affected and that you are all heading back to normality.

The question this raises is why are we so bad at coping with a bit of snow here in the UK?

The main problem seems to be that we’re not used to it. It is not a ‘steady state‘ in parts of the world where winter = snow and ice for a set period, the infrastructure is set up to cope. Cars have winter tyres or snow chains,  heated highways or rails keep cars and trains running, or there is value return on investing in ploughs and gritters. The changing requirements of British weather conditions would need you to put the snow chains on and take them off on a daily or even town by town basis. These changing requirements make managing the situation really difficult.  The same logic applies to projects, stable requirements make for a simpler solution. If your requirements are more like British weather, there is even more need to have a formalised approach to managing them. Making sure you can track the changes and your reactions to them becomes imperative.
Don’t end up wearing wellies in the summer and flip-flops in the snow, get you requirements under control in Cradle and encourage your suppliers to do the same.


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We can assure you that we don’t randomly buy email addresses and send spam adverts. We collate our communication list from curated information from you, our customers and prospects. People and companies who have contacted us about RM / MBSE / Cradle or 3SL. We maintain these dialogues as a legitimate business interest. We have made, and will continue to make, it easy for individuals to ask for their contact details preferences to be changed. We look forward to staying in touch with you all.

If you have any GDPR comments you’d like to feature contact us at

Social Media


study shows 47% or projects can fail because of inaccurate requirements management
Project Failure Statistic

We were a little disappointed at the  #SuperBlueBloodMoon over Barrow.

We were amazed at the accuracy of NASA’s clocks

..But appalled at the failure rate of projects.

Hints of the Month

Last month’s blog articles included:

We answered a question about producing a Hierarchy Diagram (HID) for viewing in Web Access.

The different ways you can store data in Cradle’s frames a how and why guide.

We also looked at how to control access to data parts in an item.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog

February 2018 Newsletter

Whooshing away the Winter Woes

faster fibre illustration, based on images from and
Faster Fibre

Now the warmth of families and friends packed into living rooms too small to hold them are left behind, the last scraps of Christmas cake and bags of nuts have been consumed, we’re here in wintry February 2018. However we’ve sped into the year with a new FTTP link. See here for more details of how to download Cradle even faster.

Cradle Features Coming Soon….

We’re all busy here, in the chilly winds and rain and sleet of Cumbria working on the features for Cradle 7.4 I can reveal that we’ve been working on some enhancements to alerts to allow more comprehensive content to be sent in emails. This will help with collaborative working, swiftly informing interested parties that an item has changed which may need their attention. Item level Workflows are being enhanced to improve automation of your product lifecycle.


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Time is racing towards the GDPR implementation date. We’re working hard to ensure our policies are up to date and in a fit state to deal with any data requests. However, there’s still a lot of confusion out there. Some things are obvious, were we to store sensitive information, like someone’s medical records, religious or political beliefs, its fairly obvious that this should never be swapped freely. The subject should be aware as to why we hold the data, what we hold and how we use and process it. We would then ensure any third party processors were up to the same standards before exchanging information.

At the other end of the scale, the ‘how would this ever be practical’ bit, there is little in the way of concrete guidance. If I email a company, from my desk at 3SL, my email address contains my name and associates me with 3SL. The sign off contains a phone number and an office location. By the letter of the legislation, this is personally identifiable information. Were I to leave 3SL (To become a top secret agent) and decided all previous traces of me needed to be removed, I could submit a ‘right to be forgotten’ to 3SL. They would have to remove all my personal data. (Except for ‘within date’ tax records etc.). As the data controller, all those emails with personally identifiable information within them would have to be recalled from all the recipients (who are now processors). Now how on earth could you do that?

If you’ve got any examples where the legislation appears to hit an impractical wall, drop us a line and we may feature it in a future blog. Note I’m using an anonymous email address !!

Social Media


Image of a tweet where we ponder what the picture is
Tweet of what?

Looking at other people’s tech, we wondered what this image was.


We celebrated #ThesaurusDay by looking how words and meanings could give rise to ambiguous requirements.

Hints of the Month

Last month’s blog articles included:

Tidying up if you’re ever left with a dangling cross reference

What to do if you have special characters in your text and you need to write a Regex (regular expression) in Cradle

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog

January 2018 Newsletter

Happy New Year

Welcome one and all to 2018!

New Year Fireworks 3SL - (based on images from
Happy New Year

Have you got used to writing that on a cheque yet? Oh dear, showing my age, can anyone remember when they last wrote a cheque? Come to think of it, when was the last time you actually WROTE the date, rather than just clicking a calendar icon on an app……. Answers on a postcard to 3SL at the usual address.…. or for a chance to get a mention in next month’s newsletter.

With regard to cheques and all things banking just another reminder to check you’ve updated 3SL banking details, in accordance with the changes brought into UK banks through the ring fencing process, posted here.

New Year’s Resolution

We all make promises to ourselves, many we find hard to keep. Yet another sucker falls for the gym membership sign up and then decides binge watching that box-set is easier/more enjoyable/cheaper. It does really seem like the worst time of year to be making decisions to be getting out and about exercising. (Apologies, again, to our customers on the other side of the globe – read this again in 6 months !).

illustration of data exchange between Microsoft Project and Cradle WBS
Data Exchange Microsoft® Project / Cradle

One resolution that should be easier to keep is to start afresh with plans for current and new projects. We’ve had time to allow our heads to clear over the Christmas break and should be facing work with a new vigour.  Planning is the key to ensuring schedules and expectations are met.  This may seem like a very un-Cradle® plug, what’s planning got to do with modelling and requirements? The answer is in fact quite a lot. Without a project management plan and schedule how would the capture, design, review and test be achieved in the right order? A Work Breakdown Structure can be used to segment activities, and component parts of a project into manageable chunks. The ability to link a plan from Microsoft® Project brings together the planning and implementation elements of your project. For more information see the Cradle Help on Project Capture


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If you missed our initial update on the new general data protection regulations, you may like to look in December’s Newsletter. Please don’t forget to look out for requests to opt into communication updates from 3SL.

Social Media


We pondered whether anyone could model the human gut / brain interface with System Engineering techniques.

We looked at how meeting today’s energy requirements are changing through solar train power and floating solar cells.

Hints of the Month

Last month’s blog articles included:

Outputting a tree’s leaf nodes through Document Publisher

How the holistic view is incorporated in  a model.

0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144 – It was Fibonacci Day and we marked it looking at some Cradle calculations.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog

December 2017 Newsletter

Happy Birthday to ya, Happy Bir—-th—-day…

Ok we didn’t manage to get Stevie Wonder on board, but we’re all still singing away at our desks!

30th Birthday Cake
Happy 30th

Thank you to all our loyal customers and friends past and present. We’re proud to have been of assistance in your projects.
Thank you too to all the staff who over the years have changed Cradle into the multi module full lifecycle suite it is today.
Keep an eye on our Birthday page for events and offers through our Birthday year.


Opportunities with 3SL producers of Cradle
Opportunities with 3SL producers of Cradle

Over Christmas is the last chance to get your applications in as we’ll be sifting through the applications in January See here for more details.

Banking Changes

Updated ring fence information and dealing with 3SL’s banking details. With budgets run annually make sure you follow these changes into the new financial year to ensure continued maintenance is paid into the right accounts, posted here.


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As most people are aware, those doing business with any European country will have to abide by some stricter data protection guidelines. There’s a lot of hype and scaremongering going on at the moment as people try to come to grips with the extent of the changes. 3SL are undertaking their data audits to ensure we only hold personal data necessary to run 3SL and to support our Customer’s contracts.
3SL hold very little personally identifiable information on our customers, but even your name/email address/company need to be protected. We don’t sell or trade or provide information we hold with third parties, unless it is either a legal requirement to do so, or necessary to complete a contract such as with our Bank or Credit Card processor. We’ll be publishing our policies either on our website or to be made available on request.
We hope you agree that we don’t send unnecessary communications to you, for example these newsletters are the way we communicate important changes, release information and articles that may assist in your use of Cradle. However, if we decide to classify any communications or interactions as extras, we may ask you to specifically opt in to receive them. We hope you’ll agree to continue to receive them and you will of course have the option to opt out at any time. If you have any questions at present, please send them to . A brief initial steps guide can be downloaded from the ico

 Social Media


Find out what DIAT is an acronym for!! (OK we invented that one!)

Celebrating scientific discoveries on X-Ray day

When I’m Calling You... contacting 3SL and what’s blocked if you send us an email.

Hints of the Month

Last month’s blog articles included a lot about cross references:

How to load Cross References en masse. did you know you can load a cross reference from a CSV file?

Mapping cross references for input from Document Loader

The power of cross references when working out aggregate values .

Other topics included defining a report for later use, no need to remember the settings you can save them and run later.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog

November 2017 Newsletter

Remember, Remember any date in November….

For many of us the clocks have gone back and we’re entering that period where it is dark when we travel to work and dark when we travel home.
This means the brightest thing we may see all day is the monitor glaring in front of us. Of course we should be mindful of problems sitting in front of a VDU and ensure we take regular breaks, but it does mean you can concentrate on your projects without wanting to  be outside*1 ! However, back to the date theme, not every Cradle user is aware that they can use relative queries on dates. Using these relative values, queries can be set to list all the activity in the last month or last week. So you can indeed “Remember, remember any issues/requirements/tests raised (as opposed to rased) in November.”

screenshot showing how to set relative date in a query
Relative Dates

The query results at the top of the above screenshot, shows all components in a project. The relative modified date query in the lower half shows only those components modified between the beginning of the month and today.

There are a number of relative dates you can use, Start of this week, Start of three months ago, End of last month and so on. You can read more about query dates in the Cradle Help under the “Select the Dates Tab”

*1 Apologies to our customers in the Southern hemisphere – you may want to wait six months before this statement makes complete sense!

Cradle 7.3.2

If you want the extra facilities or small bug fixes in Cradle 7.3.2,  you can download it from the website and install new clients and server across your organisation. There is no need to obtain an additional security code for this point release upgrade. Those on single user versions of Cradle 7.3 can also take advantage of the upgrade. If you have any problems please email or call the Support  Department +44 1229 838867 or contact your local distributor.

Banking Changes

Updated ring fence information and dealing with 3SL’s banking details posted here.


Opportunities with 3SL producers of Cradle
Opportunities with 3SL producers of Cradle


3SL are on the lookout for talented individuals to join our team. We’re open to creating roles for people with mixed skills. See here for more details.

Social Media


If you follow us on Twitter @threesl, you’ll know that we Tweet out all new blog entries (which reached 300 this month) so you

3SL on twitter @threesl

have a quick way of seeing if an article of interest has been published or updated Grab a range of items – Short-Cuts in Cradle. We try and retweet interesting stories from our customers, so if your company uses Cradle and isn’t following, make sure those in the media department know and let us know if we are not following your company’s main Twitter account.


We asked whether 3SL ‘Could Do Better… and if you’ve not had your say, please respond to help us better serve your needs.

Hints of the Month

When you want to configure multiple bits of information in one view cell (say a reference number made up from a category value and the item name and a bit of fixed text) Multiple Data Cells is the option to choose.

If you would like information in your Document Publisher template to be variable, our resident DocPub expert tells you how with Parametrics in Document Publisher

We answer the question about moving Cradle to a different server and changing licences.

And we discussed how to number items in a hierarchy.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog.

October 2017 Newsletter

October – The ‘8th’ month of the year….

Calendar - based on image from
Everything can Change

Octo is 8 after all, from Latin octo, Greek okto. In Romulus’s calendar, when the year started in March, it was the 8th month. However, given they only had 10 months, they also had around 50 days of ‘winter’ that didn’t really have a name. For a time we then ended up with 13 months, but in the final Julian system, only January and February remained inserted at the beginning of the year.  Roman emperors were honoured by renaming a couple of months and we are where we are today.
“OK, what’s the point”, we hear you cry. It’s that nothing is really stable, something currently taken for granted (months of the year) has a long complex history. So do many projects. They start off in one direction with one set of assumptions, constraints and regulations and then……BANG! A change is dropped on your desk which changes the original assumptions, impacts the design, has repercussions for tests and so on.
Taking a baseline when things are relatively stable is a good way to record the status-quo in your project at any one time. Lock down things as they stand so you have a stable footing against which to document and measure change. Check at what point Mercedonius (month of wages) was retired.  Use formal Change Requests and Change Tasks to record why an alteration is needed. (Because Julius said reform, because Augustus needs to be honoured). Use the trace facilities of cross references and suspect integrity highlighting, in Cradle, to see what impact a change in the chain will have.

New Customers

Welcome to all our new customer’s this quarter.  Especially Public Health England who have recently selected Cradle for a major operational plan.

Cradle® has been selected by Public Health England (PHE) to manage the definition and fulfilment of requirements for its Science Hub programme. This £400 million project will design and build a world class national public health science hub and headquarters in Harlow that will bring together personnel from PHE’s Porton, Colindale and central  London sites. The PHE Harlow site is scheduled to be fully operational in 2024.

Cradle is a requirements management, enterprise architecture and systems  engineering tool that integrates the entire lifecycle of development,  organisational and infrastructure projects that use agile or phase-based methods. Cradle is an ideal solution for procurement projects for ITT generation, bid assessment and contract management, by providing  traceability between a managed, configuration-controlled multi-user database and all external source and published documents.

Mark Walker, Director of 3SL said:

“We are delighted that PHE has chosen  Cradle for this important infrastructure and reorganisation programme. We welcome the opportunity for a long-term partnership with PHE and confident that Cradle will make a significant contribution to the successful realisation of the new PHE Harlow site.”

If you would like to feature your company in the 3SL newsletter, please drop us a line at

Cradle 7.3.1

If you want the extra facilities or small bug fixes in Cradle 7.3.1,  you can download it from the website and install new clients and server across your organisation. There is no need to obtain an additional security code for this point release upgrade. Those on single user versions of Cradle 7.3 can also take advantage of the upgrade. If you have any problems please email or call the Support  Department +44 1229 838867 or contact your local distributor.

Banking Changes

Piggy bank
Banking Changes

There are some changes afoot for those that deal with 3SL financially.

As we mentioned last month, if you do business with 3SL you may need to update some of the banking details. We’ll keep you posted here.

Social Media


Celebrating question mark
Celebration Question

We had some good suggestions last month when we asked (@MadeinBritainGB) how we should celebrate our upcoming 30th birthday, here at 3SL towers. If you have any other ideas, if you have celebrated a company anniversary, either DM or ‘Reply‘ to the above tweet, or email

Hints of the Month

Have a width and a length, the area is easy, but why not just get Cradle to work it out for you? Short video on setting up calculations.

“Oops didn’t mean to delete that!” Here’s how to recover items.

A ‘Subject Item‘, what it is and how to publish it in Document Publisher.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog.

September 2017 Newsletter

September – Autumn on the way

Autumn leaf

It’s back to school and college for many of our young people. As businesses it should also be a time to reflect what lesson’s we’ve learned so far this year now we’ve arrived at Q3.

Take Stock

  • Which of your projects are on schedule,
  • Which of your projects are on budget,
  • Which of your projects are not really being measured?

These are all questions that a good PM (Project Manager) should be able to answer quickly and succinctly. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. Dates and milestones were not clearly defined so schedule is difficult to measure. What part of the budget applies to what part of the solution is not clear so spend can not be measured accurately. How many Requirements have actually been split into System Requirements or Functional Blocks is not calculable.

Don’t Panic

Cradle’s features can offer assistance with these issues.

  • Cradle offers the ability to link Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) items to Microsoft® Project allowing a direct connection between the Project Plan and packages of work related to designs, functions, tests etc. in the Cradle project
  • If a Budget item is created in Cradle, it could be easily linked to other components of the project. They could then have a category of actual spend. Using Cradle’s calculation facility, these linked items can be totted up and shown in the parent item.

    screenshot of aggregate calculations
    Aggregate Spend with Calculations
  • Dashboards are a quick visual aid showing your Key Performance Indicators (KPI) showing percentage of Requirements with System Requirements attached is a good way of monitoring progress.

Control and Relax

Move into Q4 with all the project knowledge you need to finish the year on a high.

Cradle 7.3

We trust you have all had your Security Codes for Cradle 7.3 and have successfully downloaded and installed the latest version of Cradle. If you haven’t received your Cradle-7.3 Security Code please contact the Support Department

Banking Changes

There are some changes afoot for those that deal with 3SL financially.

In response to the 2008 financial crisis, the UK Government has decided that all major banks must protect their personal, retail and most business banking operations from their more risky, often speculative, investment banking and international banking operations.

Most major banks in the UK will do this by  creating a new ‘ring fenced‘ banking operation that is protected from future problems in the financial markets.

Most of the UK’s major banks will effect this change in April 2018.

For 3SL, these banking changes will mean that there will be a new BIC (bank identifier code) within the IBAN (international bank account number) of all of our bank accounts. In  effect, all of the IBANs for our bank accounts will change in April 2018.

It is also possible that banking changes may effect another part of our bank account numbers, called the sort code (similar to the ATA, routing number or  branch number codes in other countries’ banking systems). If there is a  change to our sort code, the change is likely to occur in January 2018.

If you are an international supplier to 3SL, or one of our international customers, then it is possible that our IBANs will change in January 2018, and they will definitely change in April 2018 when the new ‘ring fenced’ bank in Barclays PLC receives its new BIC.

All of these changes are being completed in advance of the UK Government’s deadline of January 2019.

We believe that our current IBANs will remain available for 36 months after the change in April 2018.

We will provide more information as it becomes available. In the mean time, we apologise for the inconvenience that these changes will cause to our UK and international customers and suppliers.

Social Media


When we posted a suspect on Twitter in the Made In Britain (@MadeinBritainGB)  #MadeInBritainHour we had quite a few people thinking about suspect items


mock up mug shot
Not your Usual Suspect

Hints of the Month

Don’t want everyone changing an item’s category? This article highlights Category Skills

Many : Many, One : Many, Many : OneCardinality Rules can be set on Cross References.

And one for I.T. a little help if things need a tweak or unfortunately go wrong.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog.

August 2017 Newsletter

Hello August

Wow what a busy month July has been here at 3SL. The last weeks before a release are always complex. So many things to do checking off the release checklist.

Cradle 7.3 is Here

Cradle 7.3
Cradle 7.3

Cradle 7.3

3SL are pleased to announce the new features of Cradle 7.3

  • Cross reference cardinalities in link rules – One to Many, Many to Many, or Many to One, you decide.
  • Categories – Control read-write access by a user’s skills.
  • Frames – Those containing a category picklist can have a default value.
  • Frames – Colour usage defaults for picklist frames.
  • Frames – Extend Find/Replace to also work with RTF frames.
  • Dashboard dials – Support for a ‘Line’ pointer style added.
  • Metrics – Support for  element calculations.
  • InstallShield – Improved and  simplified
  • Configuration Management – Submission of  related items, and integrity checks for baselines
  • Items – Deleting/recovering items will record in the modification date.
  • Items – Set owner can including related items.
  • Cradle URL – Support to optionally specify a view.
  • Views -New Generic Configuration Management system view.

Social Media


Welcome new followers. The Lake District became a UNESCO World Heritage Site which caused quite a bit of chatter on Twitter

The English Lake District from Barrow-In-Furness
View of the Lake District from Barrow

Hints of the Month

Need to create a default schema for your new projects? This article New Default Schema tells you how.

Got one of those oops moments or changes of mind? Reverse or rewind the item’s changes.

Let’s chat about this requirement/feature/risk. Why not add a discussion?

If you have lots of projects you need to keep logging in and out of, let Project Manager take the strain.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog.

July 2017 Newsletter

July is Here

Last month saw the start of the Summer and also National Sunglasses day. We still hear the odd story that engineers are using ‘Spreadsheets‘ and ‘Word-processor documents‘ to manage their requirements. We can only sympathise with their misguided ways and revel in the fact that we (and you our dear newsletter readers) have seen the light.
So the only thing you should need your rose tinted spectacles for is to eat your Cream tea while watching Wimbledon!

an eFFBD showing Cream tea making
National Cream Tea day – eFFBD

Non Graphic Interfaces

This month (July 2017 Newsletter) we’re highlighting c_io and how it can be used to complement the functionality we’re more used to in WorkBench and Web Access.


Using c_io.exe in a batch file means you can do many things whilst you are away from your desk or in the background while you continue to work. You can then add this batch file to be run by a task application during times you are away from your desk or work. This can be handy when needing to do backups of a single or many large databases.

The executable can import and export everything in a project from single items to the whole project. It can use queries or different options to whittle down the required export. So a user can export all items of a specific type or just one to several items based on a query and or other set options.

Export Options for c_io.exe
Export Options for c_io.exe

For the full article set please see Mikki’s guide How to Use c_io.exe in a Batch File

Social Media


We continue to welcome new followers each month and would encourage any Cradle users who would like regular ‘Hints & Tips’ to follow us @threesl


Thanks to those who responded adding reviews of Cradle to Capterra. If you have not yet and are able to add a few words, please reply using  Yes I’m happy to consider writing a review

Hints of the Month

Here are some links to helpful topics since our last newsletter, they should improve your Cradle experience:

Controlling what can link to what is covered in Getting Started with Link Rules

Getting down to the nitty-gritty in Document Publisher with How to Make Use of User Variables in Document Publisher

Just upgraded the number or type of modules you have in Cradle, installing the new code is simple Installing a New Security Code

An FAQ about alerts is covered here How do I receive alerts via email?

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog.

June 2017 Newsletter

Summer Arrives in June

Looking out of the windows here in Cumbria, summer has well and truly arrived. However, 21st June marks the summer solstice.

It also marks the start of the holiday season. This can be both a trying time for projects and a quieter time in the office. With fewer people and distractions over the coming months, now could be your ideal time to set up trial Cradle projects. Take some time to run a few operations in parallel. Compare how pushing a requirement/design/test through Cradle compares with the manual or tool based version you use now. Even seasoned Cradle users will find there is some project or operation not yet in Cradle, yet ripe to be imported. It could be your ongoing Process Improvement Plan. Whether formally following CMMI or just ensuring you raise, resolve and measure issues in your company’s working processes, then controlling, recording and measuring formally in Cradle makes it easier to manage.  Use a summer vacation student or intern to set up a schema and enter data as a pilot project.

3SL Blog

Thanks to new bloggers Mikki, Jan, Phil, Stuart, Cameron, Ciaran for their input to the Blog. Don’t forget to drop us a line to with any topic requests.

G-Cloud 9

We are pleased to announce that our Cradle software is now available through the Government’s Digital Marketplace – G-Cloud 9. For details, please see government site and search for any of: 3SL, Cradle, requirements management, agile, business analysis, systems engineering, or application lifecycle management.

White Papers

Cradle’s combination of requirements management, process and architecture modelling make it an ideal choice for business analysts. Download our new presentation that outlines some of Cradle’s significant capabilities for business analysts from the Presentations area.

Social Media


May Day 2017 Madness Giveaway. We reported last month that @baguettio had won, however, they did not respond to the direct messages we sent asking them to contact us and claim their security code. They have since deleted/hidden their account. We have, therefore, awarded the prize to the second person drawn @FPreobrazhensky


We have been contacted by Capterra an independent review company. They would like to update the reviews they hold on Cradle.

We would like your permission to pass your email address to them. They will then choose from all respondents who to contact, to request you write a review about Cradle. Their scheme offers a reward for the first respondents. It would be really great if you could consider doing this, please reply using  Yes I’m happy to consider writing a review

Hints of the Month

Here are some links to helpful topics since our last newsletter, they should improve your Cradle experience:

As a project progresses a requirement can grow from being atomic to containing multiple phrases and components. See how to split items in this article.

Now that you have torn the items apart, see how to merge items together!

Authenticating through LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol)? Do you want to use LDAP with Cradle, and need some help getting up and running, we’ll show you some trouble shooting tips.

Use document tags to enable publication of any data from within the Cradle database into a document via Document Publisher.

You can read Hints & Tips in the 3SL Blog.