Cradle Modules – PDM

The Cradle PDM module provides the infrastructure for all other Cradle modules. Its scalability and flexibility create an industrial strength, proven, shared data environment for even the largest projects:

Cradle PDM Module
Cradle PDM Module


Cradle supports any number of databases, each with its own schema, CM system and users. Each database supports many projects. Use the Project Manager tool to organise this environment by user-defined criteria, for example as hierarchies.

Each database stores any number of items, of any number of types (requirements, risks, classes, user stories, functions) defined by a UI. Items have any number of attributes, each of a user-defined type, that manage up to 1 TByte of any type of data, held in Cradle, or referenced in external files, URLs or another tool or environment.


User-defined calculations are supported in all parts of Cradle and can be displayed as graphs, in views and user-defined reports. User-defined rules can be applied to automatically set attribute values or perform calculations, to maintain the integrity within and between items.

Cross References

Items can be cross referenced, with optional user-defined link types and groups. Links have user-defined attributes to justify, parametrise, explain or characterise them. You control which links are used to navigate or report traceability, based on link type or group, direction and link attribute values. Links are both direct and indirect, for full lifecycle traceability, impact and coverage analyses.

Process Tailored Environment

You use start pages and a phase hierarchy to build an environment tailored to your process. End users only need to be trained in your interface, reducing training time and costs:

  • Start pages are text and graphics controls that perform your choice of operations simply and easily
  • The phase hierarchy shows the process as a hierarchy in which an agile or phase activity, task, sprint, report or document is run by a mouse click. Different parts of the phase hierarchy can be shown to each user or stakeholder group.

Traceability and coverage views are available as trees, nested and pivot tables, matrices and Hierarchy Diagrams. Unique transitive links give traceability across the full system lifecycle.

Configuration Management

Items evolve through versions that are managed in baselines and controlled by a built-in CM system, with mechanisms for review, baseline and version control, full change control, and audit trails.

Cradle can track all changes. Edits can be reversed selectively or by group. Items can be compared across edits and in baselines. Edits can raise alerts to users, and mark related items as suspect. All edits are permanently available, for change logs.


Cradle provides adaptations to allow variants of items. This mechanism is ideal for databases that contain a library of standard items and projects that use the library, and contribute to it.

Access Controls

Access controls apply to all items based on user roles, privileges, security clearances and skills. Users can be grouped in a hierarchy of teams, to create any access control scheme, such as for customers, subcontractors and IV&V. The creation and manipulation of links can be controlled, by item or user.

Cradle is multi-user. It locks information at item level, with automatic database commit after an edit. This maximises users’ interaction with the database and guarantees all data s up-to-date.


Cradle’s alert mechanism sends messages by email (SMTP or IMAP), Cradle or both. Alerts can be selectively enabled and disabled. Alerts track events on items, including edit, review and formal change.


The Cradle discussion mechanism allows even read-only users to add comments to items. Four other commenting mechanisms are provided.

Project Planning

Cradle can manage project plans and WBS. User task lists are maintained. WBS structures and progress data can be exchanged bidirectionally with external PM tools. Cradle can generate burn-down and earned-value graphs on any user-defined criterion to monitor progress.


Cradle is open and extensible. It provides multiple import/export formats, an API, a user-definable event-driven command interface, interfaces with other tools and bidirectional interfaces to Microsoft Office.

Query and Report Data

Cradle provides uniquely powerful data query and visualisation facilities. Each user’s environment can be tailored by defining custom queries, views, forms, navigations, matrices, reports and other facilities. All customisations have a scope, to be specific to the end user, or shared with other users of the same type (such as all customers or all managers), the user’s team, the entire project, or all projects.

Any desired compliance, coverage or traceability report can be created quickly/easily using Cradle’s queries, multi-row views/nested table view, and saved for later use.


Cradle has floating, dynamic licensing and low cost read-only users. Open and named user licences are available. Everything described here is free of charge.

Licences, databases and schemas are interchangeable across Linux and Windows 8.1, 10, 11, Server 2012 R2, 2016 and 2019.

Optional support for Oracle and MySQL.

Feature Summary

Feature Summary - PDM
Feature Summary – PDM

Please contact 3SL for further information about Cradle PDM licences.

June Newsletter 2023

Welcome to the June 2023 newsletter from 3SL!

This newsletter contains a mixture of news and technical information about us, and our requirements management and systems engineering tool “Cradle”. We would especially like to welcome everyone who has purchased Cradle in the past month and those who are currently evaluating Cradle for their projects and processes.

We hope that 3SL and Cradle can deliver real and measurable benefits that help you to improve the information flow within, the quality and timeliness of, and the traceability, compliance and governance for, all of your current and future projects.

If you have any questions about your use of Cradle, please do not hesitate to contact 3SL Support.

Configuration Management

All projects need configuration management, even if only to create protected copies of the items being worked on in one or more baselines. Cradle Configuration Management System (CMS) is a flexible, customisable framework. You can use the CMS to adapt Cradle to your process and the needs of your project.

The CMS contains a variety of features and capabilities. You can use these to configure the CMS to be a simple change manager. You can also configure the CMS to be extremely rigorous in all stages in the evolution of your project information from initial creation through to formal acceptance.


The CMS provides four basic mechanisms:

The scope and effect of these mechanisms are controlled by privileges and also by workflows.

Simple Process

A simple CM process is typically a series of stages that items will pass through on their way to a baseline. There are typically no formal reviews in this sequence.

The steps to create a simple process are:

  1. Decide on the stages in your process and what each stage means
  2. Create a category code with these stages as its possible values
  3. Assign this category code to the item type(s) that are to follow the process
  4. Create a workflow that references your category code and define the sequence of stages, each step in the workflow will set items’ status to be one of the values in your category code
  5. Assign the workflow to the item type(s)

It is easy to use this workflow. You and your colleagues create items. You change items and link them to other items in the database. At the end of each step, you use the Advance operation to move the items to the next step in the workflow. When items reach the stage of being baselined, someone will need to open a baseline before you can Advance items into it. When everything has been moved into the baseline, it can be closed.

Review Process

A more complex workflow can be for a process that includes reviews. Any number of the steps in a workflow can be a review. You can specify the characteristics of each review. These include:

  1. Which users will be involved in the review?
  2. How many of these users must contribute to the review?
  3. How will an approve result be determined from reviewers’ responses?
  4. How will a reject result be determined from reviewers’ responses?
  5. What actions are to be performed for items that are rejected by the review?
  6. What actions are to be performed for items that are approved by the review?
  7. Is the rework mechanism to be used and if so, how?

The process to implement a review process is the same as for a simple process except that some of the workflow steps require the configuration of reviews.

Managing Changes to Items

You can review items into project baselines and make formal changes to these items. Use of the CMS is therefore fundamentally about progressing items through one or more reviews into baselines, and then subsequently making formal changes to these items, which culminate in new versions of the changed items appearing in new baselines.

The CMS is not concerned with the details of how changes to items occur. It is not concerned with whether 1 or N edits have occurred to effect a change to an item. It is not concerned with recording the before and after values of the attributes that are affected by each edit, but is simply concerned with the high-level process of agreeing that a change is needed (a change request), initiating consequential changes to one or more items (managed in one or more change tasks), recording the formal reviews of the changed items, and ultimately storing the amended items in a new baseline.

Audit Trail / Configuration Log

For many projects, the automatically and transparently recorded audit trail, and the formalism of the use of change requests (CHRs), change tasks (CHTs), formal reviews and formal baselines, is sufficient. For other projects, more detailed records are required.

Public Training

3SL are running a public CM course in June. If you want to learn more about CM in Cradle, book your place now.


Project Database Unique IDs are an alternate method for identifying items in a Cradle database. PDUIDs are particularly useful for users of the Cradle Application Programming Interface (API) and Web Services Interface (WSI) because they have the same format for all types of information.

We will provide a series of short articles on PDUIDs over the coming weeks. We hope that these will be helpful.

Integrity of 3SL’s SSL Certificates

All of 3SL’s web-based services use HTTPS, the secure form of HTTP.  Wherever possible, all of our Internet-based services also use secure protocols. So this means we need a certificate to confirm our identity that your web browser and other tools check when you visit our website and other services.

We have a certificate for:


This includes our website, mail server, shared SaaS and other portals. Certificates have a fixed lifespan and so on 9th June we refreshed our certificate. Our current certificate is issued by Sectigo RSA Domain Validation Secure Server CA. It is valid until 23:59:59 UTC Tuesday, 9th July 2024.

You can check the integrity of a website certificate using Qualys here. You can check 3SL’s website here. Our site is rated A+:

SSL Certificates
Qualys report for 3SL

The King’s Official Birthday (17th June 2023)

Celebrations of the monarch’s official birthday are held in June across the Commonwealth, including the Trooping of the Colour. The date not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch’s actual birth.

The sovereign’s birthday was first officially marked in the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1748, for King George II. Since then the date of the king or queen’s birthday has been determined by:

  • Royal proclamations issued by the sovereign or viceroy, or
  • Statute laws passed by the local parliament

We will individually mark the King’s birthday and invite others to do so in respect to the Crown.

Social Media

We congratulated @WeAreHII on their record first quarter 2023 revenues and @Siemens on their outstanding performance.

We also congratulated @KBRincorporated on the award of the contract by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. This is to implement supercritical solvent deasphalting technology.

Our customer @MIRAEngineering were exhibiting at the Future Mobility Asia Exhibition & Summit. Did you visit stand ME18?

Looking Back

Last month we discussed:

We would also like to thank all attendees on our Test Execution course which we provided in May.

Still to Come this Month

Your Highlights!

If you have any company news or achievements that you would like 3SL to share in any of our newsletters then please let us know.

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

Cross References in a Baseline

Cross References in a Baseline

The easiest description of a baseline is, a holding area for information owned by the project, i.e. how the database/items were at a particular point in time. There are both items and cross references in a baseline. The more cross references you have the larger the files will be. This means that if you do have many Baselines, you could find significant space being used on the server.

Are Baselines Taking Up a Lot of Server Space?

In our latest release of Cradle 7.4, cross references are separated from the other files when a baseline is closed. The cross references in each one are now placed in separate uniquely identified folders. Each folder has an alphanumerical identity, dependent on the length of the name for the baseline. This is twice the length of the baseline name.

The Baseline Folders
The Baseline Folders containing the Cross Reference folders.

Inside each of these folders are 4 files containing the cross references and their attributes. The files will be different sizes depending on the number of cross references that existed at the time the baseline was taken.

Baselines Cross Reference Folders
Baselines Cross Reference Folders

Folder Maintenance.

As these are individual baselines, a user can then zip these folders and remove them from the Baseline folder. Taking the four older folders, they total approximately 232KB on disk. If a user zips each folder it comes to 3KB each. If zipped into 1 file it comes to 9KB and so a saving of over 220KB.

Baselined Cross Reference Folder Zipped
Baselined Cross Reference Folders after zipping

Most databases are much later than this and so the space saving could be much larger. The user could also move the zipped files to a different server if required and so saving more space.

The only downside to doing this, is that if a user wishes to use Baseline Mode to see the cross references in a baseline, they will not instantly be there. Therefore, should the cross references be required in the future, just unzip the file into the original folder. Once the file is unzipped, a user can set the Baseline Mode and they will see the old cross references.

Related Articles

For a longer more in depth description of Baselines and Configuration Management click here.


Can you export individual baselines?

We are sometimes asked if it is possible to export the contents of individual baselines. Most commonly for baselines that have been closed in the past. The short answer is yes, and here’s how:

  1. Select the Review tab, then ‘Set Mode’ and choose the baseline to be exported
  2. Select the Project tab, then  ‘Export’ and specify the type(s) of information to export and set the owner to ‘Project’
  3. Specify an output filename and any other options needed, and select ‘Export’

Note: You should NOT try to import information into old baselines. This is because:

  • You could easily create inconsistencies in baseline histories that could also prevent the Configuration Management System (CMS) from working correctly
  • It breaks the principles of good CM and your formal CM process
Exporting Baselines
Exporting Baselines

For more information on exporting information from Cradle, this help article may help you.

Release of Cradle-7.1.2

We are pleased to announce that we released Cradle-7.1.2 last month, with some useful new features and some fixes. We have sent announcement e-mails to all customers with active maintenance, and sent e-mails to the customers whose enhancements that have been added, and whose reported bugs have been fixed.

Some of the new features in this release are:

– Equipments in Physical Architecture Diagrams can be expanded to IDEF0 diagrams, as well as the other diagram types
– Faster processing of baseline operations to retire and reinstate items
– You can specify a date range for the change history entries to be shown in views
– A skill linked to an item type can provide RO access to all items of the type
– The External Command Interface includes new events for schema changes and operations on user profiles

If you upgrade to Cradle-7.1.2 anywhere, you must upgrade everywhere, the server and all clients.

Customers who purchased a single-user Cradle-7.1 product can also apply this new release.

See here for a short summary of Cradle!