Baseline Integrity Check

In certain situations, it may be necessary to stop a baseline from being closed if a condition has not been met. For example, if items have been registered in the baseline but items that are linked have not been.

Having this option set will ensure that all relevant data will appear in your completed baseline.

Open and Closed Baselines

Setting the Baseline Item Integrity Check

To set this option, navigate to the Configuration Management options in Project Setup and tick the Baseline Item Integrity Check option:

Baseline Option in Project Setup
Baseline Option in Project Setup

You also have the ability to set a rule for the direction of the link/dependence:

  • All items linked to baselined items are also baselined (default option)
  • Baselined items’ source items are also baselined
  • Baselined items’ destination items are also baselined


You can also exclude item types or link types from being bound by this setting:

Baseline Integrity Exclusions
Excluded item and link types

Failing the Check

If any of the checks fail, an error message will be shown with a report showing the items that caused the close baseline operation to fail:

Error Closing Baseline dialog
Error Closing Baseline dialog
Close Baseline dialog showing errors
Close Baseline dialog showing errors
Example Baseline Integrity Report
Example Baseline Integrity Report

Adding Data to Multiple Selected Item Frames using CSV Export / Import


WorkBench has the ability to select multiple items and modify some attributes and categories using the Properties dialog.

Properties for Multiple Selected Items

However, what if you wanted to add data into selected item’s FRAMES?

In this example, we will show how this can be achieved using CSV export / import.

Adding data to multiple selected item FRAMES

Create a CSV File

  • Export your item type to CSV. You only need to map the default attributes Identity, Type, Draft and Version that are already pre-set. The other attributes/frames/categories do not need to be exported.
    Export Control
    Export Items Dialog

    CSV Export Mapping
    Setting Required Attributes
  • Open the CSV file in Excel and add a column representing the new frame.
    In this example, we are adding a new frame named TEST and adding the text “My Text” in this frame for all (or selected) items.
    You could, of course, add different text content for each of these cells.

    Example CSV
    Add Frame Column to Excel

    Add a Frame in your WorkBench Project

  • If you don’t already have the frame, you can add a new frame to the item type in Project Setup now. This is the frame where we will add content en bloc.
Frame Setup
Frame Setup

Importing The CSV File

  • Select Import with the file type CSV and the required item type ensuring that the Overwrite option is set to Merge and press Import.
    Note also that there are options here to update the modification date / last modifier and also whether to add an entry to the items’ edit history.
Import Options
Import Options
Import Dialog
Import Dialog
  • Map the fields ensuring that the added frame is mapped
CSV Fields
CSV Fields
  • You will see that the new frame has been added with content for all items and the previous content remains intact
Updated Frame in WorkBench
Updated Frame in WorkBench

3SL Support and Call Logging

Sources of Information

3SL provides several sources of information should you or your colleagues require some assistance in your usage of Cradle.

However, should you require additional assistance, reporting a bug or suggesting an enhancement, additions to our documentation etc, you can contact 3SL directly via Support Services:

3SL Support Services
3SL Support Services

Contacting 3SL

When seeking support, we suggest assigning a Cradle liaison/Project Administrator as the users’ first point of call as they should already have undergone some form of Cradle training. If this person cannot provide an answer, then our support team will be available to assist.

3SL Support Services

Technical Support Department is available 9am – 5pm GMT Monday to Friday but often also available outside of these hours via email . Our landline is +44 (0)1229 838867.

Support Call Logging

When communicating with 3SL via email, we will initially assign you a call number and a support engineer to address any problems that you might have. Please provide as much information about this call as possible so we can quickly resolve the call without any misunderstanding. The details that we like to receive are:

  • Name and full contact details
  • Area of Cradle with the problem
  • Your perceived priority for the problem
  • Operating system information
  • Cradle version
  • Means of reproducing the problem

Screenshots, error logs and data (sanitised or raw) are especially welcome to allow us to quickly and easily reproduce any problems.

Any bug reports or enhancements will be tracked in our database and you will be informed when an update is available.

Web Meetings

Should there be any confusion or further information required about a call, you or 3SL may suggest a demonstration via a Web Meeting.

3SL generally uses GoTo Meeting as our meeting platform but we can also use your corporate default platform such as Microsoft Teams.

Cradle Training

3SL offers training courses in the administration and practical usage of Cradle as:

  • Online “public” training interspersed throughout the year
  • On-site or online “private” training

These training courses cover subject areas such as:

  • System Administration
  • Project Administration
  • General User
  • Requirements Management
  • Document Publisher
  • Configuration Management
  • Risk Management
  • Test Management and Execution
  • Systems Modelling


Customising the Quick Access Bar

WorkBench provides a Quick Access Bar that allows you to launch queries by item type from the bottom of the WorkBench main screen. It’s intended to provide quick and easy access to all of the relevant types of information in your Cradle database.

Default Queries

By default, WorkBench is initialised to show a standard (Automatic) set of queries each ordered by the Identity attribute

  • All – Lists all items that you can access.
  • Bottom-Level – Lists all bottom-level items that you can access. Bottom-level items are items that do not have any cross references from them to other items of the same type. For example,  they have no children.
  • Document – Lists the latest instance of items that you can access and displays them as a document. For example in Document style.
  • Document (Simple) – A simplified version of the Document query.
  • History – Lists the latest instance of items that you can access and displays them in a view showing change histories.
  • Latest – Lists the latest instance of all items that you can access. There can be many instances of each item, such as many versions of the item.
  • Recoverable – Lists all items that are in a recoverable state.
  • Suspect – Lists all items that are deemed suspect.
  • Top-Level – Lists all top-level items that you can access. Top-level items are items that do not have any cross references to them to other items of the same type. For example, they have no parents.
  • Unlinked – Lists all items that you can access that don’t have cross references to or from them from any other items.
  • Yours – Lists all items that you own.
Query options from Quick Access Bar
Quick Access Bar query options

These queries may be useful as a starter set of queries. However, it is likely that you will want to tailor the queries shown in the Quick Access Bar to meet your own project needs and use the Project queries and views to display the data.

Note that all automatic queries are ordered by Identity. You might wish to order your Quick Access Bar queries by Key, especially when working with hierarchies of items.

Adding Project Queries to the Quick Access Bar

In Project Setup, you can select the item type that you wish to tailor and press the Quick Access Bar button. In this example, we will use Requirements:

Quick Access Bar option in Project Setup
Project Setup – Quick Access Bar option

This presents you with a dialog that allows you to add up to 10 Project or System defined queries to your Quick Access Bar.

You can still show the Automatic queries by selecting the Append automatic queries checkbox:

Quick Access Bar Setup dialog
Quick Access Bar Setup dialog

Once applied, all users in the project will see the changes to the Quick Access Bar:

Quick Access Bar showing additional queries
Additional Queries in Quick Access Bar

These additional queries will use the view as defined in the Query Details dialog.

Quick Access Bar - Query Details
Quick Access Bar – Query Details

Personalising the Quick Access Bar

You may wish to personalise the Quick Access Bar for your own use to only show the item types that are relevant to you in the order that you wish them to be displayed. You can achieve this in the Preferences:

Preferences - QAB Option
Quick Access Bar options in Preferences

If you select the Append remaining item types checkbox, all other item types are still shown on the Quick Access Bar after the ones you have selected:

Quick Access Bar with highlighted
Quick Access Bar with highlighted item types

For further information on the Quick Access Bar functionality, refer to the help page

Renumbering a Sequence of Incorrect Key Values


You have captured a number of items into Cradle. However, the KEY attribute that defines the hierarchy has incorrect values. Do you have to open each item individually to correct this numbering?

For example, the items below should have a sequence of 1.1.1 to 1.1.8:

Numbering of items in a hierarchy
Incorrect hierarchical numbering


No, you can actually define the key sequence by selecting all of the items to be changed and pressing Properties:

Properties option
Properties option

In the Item Properties dialog, you will see that the Key attribute is listed with the value As Is. This is due to the items having different values:

Item Properties dialog showing Key As Is
Item Properties dialog

In this field you can add the value sequence within chevrons <<#=>>. In this case, you could enter the value 1.1.<<1+>>:

Item Properties dialog showing Key
Item Properties dialog showing Key

The result of this operation is shown below in which the Keys are now numbered sequentially as required:

Correct hierarchy numbering
Correct hierarchy numbering

Any changes to the items will be stored in the items’ histories.

Specifying Custom Number Format in Free Text Categories

In a project, you may wish to enter a supporting reference number for an item of data. For example, an Equipment Number. This number might require a given format.


Project Code –  4 alpha characters
Equipment Code – 5 numerical characters

Supporting Reference Number
Supporting Reference Number for a Project

You can achieve this by creating a user-defined category with no category values defined and include a Category Verification Test using a Regular Expression.

Example Category Verification Test for Reference Number category
Example Category Verification Test

In this example, the regular expression ^[A-Z]{4}(?:-[0-9]{5})?$ can be broken down into:

Regular ExpressionDescription
^The beginning of the string
[A-Z]{4}The project code must be 4 alpha characters long in uppercase
?:-A hyphen separator
[0-9]{5}The equipment code must be 5 numeric characters
$The end of the string

Applying Category to the Item

Once you have defined the category, you can assign this to an item type:

Assigning Categories
Assign Category to Item Type

Creating/Editing an Item

If you now create or modify an item of data, Cradle will present you with an error message on saving if the category value does not match what you have specified in the Category Verification Test.

Reference Number
Reference Number in Categories
Invalid Category Value dialog
Invalid Category Value dialog

Here the validation test would fail because you have not included a hyphen separator.

Validation Test result
Validation Test result

You will also receive an error if the incorrect case is used. E.g. demo-12345.

Invalid Validation Test
Invalid Validation Test

However, if you enter a value such as DEMO-12345, this would save without any warning or error message.

Example saved category
Example saved category


Regular expressions can be used in many areas of the tool. Using this functionality to enforce an input in free text categories can be a very useful feature.

For further information about regular expressions (regexes) please refer to the page

Controlling the Cradle Access Mode

All Cradle users have a read-write access mode by default, and as such can create and modify information in their project databases, subject only to Cradle’s security and access control mechanisms such as privileges, classifications, skills, user types and so on.

There are no dedicated read-only user accounts in Cradle. However, there is a mechanism to specify which user accounts should be read-only and which should be read-write for a specified project.

This mechanism might be useful in protecting the consumption of your read-write connections.

Cradle User Control File (UCF)

Cradle contains a cradle_users file that is stored in the admin directory of your Cradle installation. This file allows your System Administrator to control the access mode that a user has for specified projects.

The file allows you to specify the Cradle username, the project code and the access mode separated by a space or tab characters:

Cradle-Username      Project-Code     Access-Mode


  • Cradle-Username – is the Cradle username to be controlled, in uppercase or lowercase, and at most 40 characters
  • Project-Code – the project in which the username is defined, specified in uppercase or lowercase, and at most 4 characters
  • Access-Mode – the access mode to be assigned whenever anyone logs in to the specified project with the specified username, as:
    • R – the username is always to be read-only
    • W – the username is always to be read-write
    Example cds_users file
    Example cds_users file

    The entries in this file override any -ro or -rw command line options to Cradle tools.

    This file is empty by default, so all users would have the ability to connect to databases read-write unless specified otherwise.

Using a Form for Each Workflow Stage

Example Scenario

Cradle items can contain many frames, categories and other attributes that might not necessarily be relevant or required to be shown at different stages of your workflow. An example of which is shown below:

Item showing stage frames
Item showing stage frames

The example provides frames that should only be shown at the relevant stage in the workflow and the Acceptance Criteria, we decided that we wish to show this information at all stages but displayed read-only at stages 2 and 3.

Defining a Stage Category

To start with, create a category to base the workflow on. This must be set as mandatory and have a default value set.

Setup category values
Setup category values

You can then assign this category to the item type. In this example we have used Requirements:

Assign Category
Assign category to item type

Defining the Workflow

In the Workflow Settings, create a workflow that uses the Stage category to advance to the next stage of the process. In this example, we demonstrate a very simple workflow that advances from Stage 1 to Stage 2 and then Stage 2 to Stage 3. The 3rd level shown here is to then advance to formal review:

Show workflow stages
Show workflow stages

You can then set this as the default workflow for the item type:

Set default workflow
Set default workflow

Note that the Stage Category Form… button becomes active. We will come back to this later as firstly you need to create a form for each stage.

Creating Forms

Using the Form Details dialog, create a form for each stage of the workflow.

Stage 1 Form

The Stage 1 form in this example should show the frame STAGE 1 NOTES but not STAGE 2 NOTES or STAGE 3 NOTES.

Stage 1 form
Stage 1 form

Stage 2 Form

The Stage 2 form in this example should show the frame STAGE 2 NOTES but not STAGE 1 NOTES or STAGE 3 NOTES. You can also set the Acceptance Criteria frame to only be shown read-only as in the example below:

Stage 2 form
Stage 2 form

Stage 3 Form

The Stage 3 form in this example should show the frame STAGE 3 NOTES but not STAGE 1 NOTES or STAGE 2 NOTES. You can also set the Acceptance Criteria frame to only be shown read-only as in the example below.

Stage 3 form
Stage 3 form

Setting the Stage Forms

You can now return to Project Setup and press the Stage Category Form… button:

Project Setup Stage Category Form button
Stage Category Form button in Project Setup

This will allow you to specify the form to be used at each stage of the workflow.

Stage Category Form dialog
Stage Category Form dialog

Advancing the Item

When you first create the item, the Stage category is set to Stage 1 as this is the default value for the item. You can see here that the STAGE 1 NOTES frame is shown and the Acceptance Criteria is read-write:

Advance option
Advance option in ribbon

Pressing the Advance… button closes the item and changes the Stage value to Stage 2 once confirmed in the Advance Operation dialog:

Advance Operation dialog
Advance Operation dialog

When you open the item again, you will see that the Stage category is set to Stage 2 and will use the Stage 2 form that shows the STAGE 2 NOTES frame and the Acceptance Criteria is read-only:

Item showing stage 2
Item in form showing stage 2

Advancing the item again uses the form that has been created for Stage 3 and so on.


WorkBench allows you to create a specific form for each stage of your workflow. This can be particularly useful if the frames, categories or attributes only need to be shown at certain stages of your process. It would simplify the user interface for the users that are modifying the items as they would not be presented with information that might be irrelevant to their task.

Simplifying your WorkBench Environment

WorkBench is an extremely flexible and customisable tool which can then result in user complexity as it provides such a wide range of displays and outputs for your project data:

  • MANY definition files to show queries and views of how you want to see your data
  • MANY types of reports and documents tailored for your required outputs
  • Different outputs/views of the project required at particular stages

With so many features available to users, it is important to understand how we can manage to reduce the complexity of the tool for them by using the Phase Hierarchy and/or Start Pages:

WorkBench Environment
Simplifying your WorkBench environment

We can reduce tool complexity by the use of the Phase Hierarchy and/or Start Pages.

Phase Hierarchy

The phase hierarchy is an order of elements that can be grouped together under different folders to describe the process or project lifecycle of your project. You can think of these as phases, activities or tasks.

Creating a phase hierarchy is the task of a Project Administrator who needs PROJECT privilege and is created in Project Setup.

Each element of a phase can run an operation in an organised structure which is shown by expanding folders such as:

  • Running saved queries
  • Opening an item/set of items
  • Expanding a tree
  • Running a matrix
  • Running a metric
  • Producing a report
  • Producing a graph
  • Producing a draft document (Document Publisher)
  • Executing an external command
Phase Hierarchy
Defined Phase Hierarchy

These phase operations are for all users of the project. However, you can restrict operations to a particular team or a particular skill:

Phase hierarchy showing skill
Phase hierarchy showing skill

The phase hierarchy is also used in the Web Access tool.

Please note that the phase hierarchy feature is not available in single-user products.

Start Pages

Whereas a phase hierarchy defines the whole process and the activities to be performed, start pages could help to automate the steps to perform each activity for a particular user or set of users.

Start pages also allow you to open a specific WorkBench dialog or run a tool such as Document Loader that will simplify usage considerably as your users would have all relevant operations in an organised page without having to navigate through all of the menus, ribbons and dialogs.

These are organised in:

  • Labels
  • Headings
  • Actions / multiple actions

You can also add images to your start page which can be very useful in customising the interface for your project:

Start page
Example Start Page

Start pages can also allow you to run multiple operations with a single click.

You can define multiple start pages for a specific set of tasks and for multiple sets of users.

Start Page Details option
Start Page Details option


The phase hierarchy and start pages allow you to simplify the user experience of WorkBench.

The phase hierarchy defines a set of operations in folders which can be filtered for specific sets of users. This feature is not available in single-user products.

Start pages can be more personal and will quickly allow you to complete a task or create an output without having to navigate the WorkBench menu, ribbons and dialogs and saved definition files.


User Lists and Alerts

User Lists are a very useful Cradle feature. They provide the ability to specify groups of users that are involved in Configuration Management workflows.

Using User Lists for Alert Recipients

However, did you know that User Lists can also be used to specify groups of users who are to be alert recipients.

Alerts could be invaluable in keeping users automatically informed about important events occurring in the Cradle database, e.g.:

  • Items have been modified or a specific category changed
  • Project Setup has been changed
  • An item has been submitted for review
  • There has been a reply to a discussion that you are involved in
  • An item linked to an item owned by your team has changed
  • etc. etc

Setting up a User List

In Project Setup, you can setup the list of users that you wish to receive the alerts.

Setting up User Lists
Setting up user lists

Then, you can specify this User List as the recipient of the specified alerts:

Choosing user lists for alert recipients
Select User List for Alerts

You can also apply this to item-specific alerts:

Using user lists for alert recipients
Item specific alert user lists

Using this functionality, you can ensure that relevant groups of users are informed of various events without having to send to all users.