Toolsuite

An overview of the Toolsuite Products in Cradle Software

Toolsuite is a set of tools which utilises the applications in Microsoft® Office. These tools will only work on a Windows environment utilising MS Office from 2007 and up.

Supported Versions and Platforms

The Toolsuite supported versions of MS Office are:

  • 2007 32‐bit
  • 2010 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 2013 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 2016, 32‐bit and 64‐bit

Any of the Click To Run (CTR) Office suite is also supported by Cradle Toolsuite.

This can be on any of the following Windows platforms:

  • 7 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 8.1 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 10 32‐bit and 64‐bit

Also it can be installed on the following servers:

  • 2008 R2 32‐bit and 64‐bit
  • 2012 64‐bit
  • 2012 R2 64‐bit
  • 2016 64-bit

Tools

The different tools within the suite utilise the following Office applications:

  • Word
    • Document Loader for loading documents

      New document version to be captured using Document Loader
      Document Loader Screen
    • Document Publisher for creating and printing of official documents
    • Spellchecker to check the spelling in item frames
    • Word/document frames for items e.g. .doc and .docx frames
    • Document Coverage shows the items covered by a document
    • Document Compare compares different versions of source documents against each other
    • Word frame to RTF Frame converter
  • Excel
    • Add-in for imports

      The Excel add-in for Cradle's Toolsuite
      Excel Add-in
    • Excel frames for files
  • Project
    • Add-in for importing and exporting to a project file
    • Project frames for files
  • Visio
    • Plug-in allows import of pages and symbols as items
    • Visio frames for files
  • PowerPoint
    • Allows WorkBench to print diagrams to RTF and convert the file to PowerPoint presentations.

Installing Toolsuite

For a successful install of Toolsuite, the MS Office needs to be of one version and not mixed versions. For example, if the user has Word/Excel 2007 but Visio/Project 2013, the plug-in or frames for Visio/Project 2013 is not installed. The installer automatically checks for the architecture of Word/Excel as each MS Office version needs different library files installed by Toolsuite. All other MS applications versions are disregarded if a different version to Word and Excel.

Upgrading or changing MS Office

If upgrading or changing your Office then you should always uninstall Toolsuite first. Once Office is upgraded or changed, Toolsuite can be reinstalled to allow the correct library files to be installed.

Uninstall Toolsuite not Cradle
Uninstall Toolsuite not Cradle

The user doesn’t need to download a separate Toolsuite installer but can find the installer within the main Cradle install folder.

Toolsuite folder
Shows the Toolsuite folder within the main Cradle install folder

During the install the InstallShield will automatically pick the version to install based on the version of Word and Excel that are installed.

Once Toolsuite is installed successfully, you can access the plug-ins by opening the relevant MS application and selecting the Cradle tab. Document Loader, Document Publisher and Spellchecker are opened through WorkBench, Project Manager or the start menu.

The ‘Word frame to RTF‘ frame converter is accessed via a command line utility. This will take Word frames and copy the data into an RTF frame. More information for using the converter can be found by entering c_word2rtf into the Search bar of our Help system or online at https://www.threesl.com/cradle/help.

Both Document Coverage and Compare are used inside WorkBench and are started by selecting one or more Source Documents and selecting the option in a context menu.

For information on binary and other frames types check our help section or search our blog.

Trouble Shooting Issues

If you are having issues with the install of Toolsuite, then try the following:

  1. Make sure your Windows platform is fully up to date including:
    a. Visual V++ Redistributables (https://support.microsoft.com/)
    b. ‘.NET’ (https://support.microsoft.com/)
  2. Ensure the installed MS Office is fully up to date and check compatibility with Toolsuite here
  3. Ensure your old office keys are no longer in the Registry especially if you are using Click-to-Run versions
  4. Check the Compatibility tab in the Properties for the Toolsuite setup.exe. Select Change settings for all users and uncheck the Compatibility mode checkbox at the top of the dialog. Click the Apply button and OK to close Properties.
  5. Make sure you perform  the install with System Administrator privileges not just logged in as an Admin user

If you are having issues after install then try the following:

  1. Make sure you have restarted your machine after the install
  2. Check you have opened your Office and registered it if you need to
  3. Check .Net framework and C++ redistributables are up to date
  4. Make sure your Toolsuite version is the same as your server version

If none of the above trouble shooting works then send an email to support@threesl.com with any logs created, exports and screenshots if possible.

For more information either look for blogs about the individual applications or see our online Help.

Bottom-Level Items Output in Document Publisher

A user wants to output bottom level items in Document Publisher. As bottom level items do not have anything linked below them, this can be set in a hierarchy table.

How this works for Bottom Level Items

All it takes is 3 rows in a hierarchy. The first row works as any item above the bottom level items. The second row will actually be for items on the bottom level. The third level is used as a check that the items are bottom level. It makes sure that no items are linked in a Downward direction using that Link Type for the 2nd row to be output.

If there are items linked below the item, using the Link Type set, then it is not a bottom level item and will not be output. Although this can be used with many different hierarchy levels, as long as the last row is always set as below.

Creating the hierarchy Table

So open the Hierarchy Details dialog and set the top item type to the type you require (here we are using Requirements). Leave level this as it is already set. Click the Add Row button and set the Follow Links to Downwards. The arrow next to the second level item show point towards it. Set the Link Type for this level, in this case it is RELATED TO. Next is the Publish Subject Items option which sets what will be published based on your links. Set Publish Subject Items to Only if link exists.

Select the second level item type and click the Copy Row button.

Adding and Copying rows
Adding and Copying rows in Hierarchy Details in Document Publisher

Select the last row and click the Indent button. The Publish Subject Items now needs to be set to Only if link does not exist.

Removing options set from the top and bottom nodes.
Removing options set from the top and bottom nodes.

The nodes without any options set should be grey, click OK and repeat for each Field required. All item attribute nodes in the Tags sidebar now show as on (Row 2).

Showing all the item nodes are set to Row 2
Showing all the item nodes are set to Row 2

Generating the template

When the template is generated, only the second row item will be output containing the bottom level items. For a short example to be output, the Key is set to 1.1*.

Bottom level items output using heading tag
Bottom level items output using heading tag.

X-Ray Day 2017

 X-Ray Day 8th November 2017

X-Rays  are a form of electromagnetic radiation or “ray” for short.

When first discovered, these mysterious rays were nothing like anything that had been described before, hence the ‘X’ name has stuck.

X-rays have a wavelength less than 10 nanometres, that is, they are shorter than those of UV, and longer than those of gamma rays.  It was a German scientist Wilhelm Röntgen often credited with their discovery.

3SL image with x-ray effect
3SL X-Ray

Looking Inside Cradle

Thankfully there is no need to use X-Rays to look inside your Cradle project.

Information once stored can be recalled by Queries and presented in Views or Forms. Output can be directed to HTML or RTF tables, shown graphically as a Hierarchy diagram, explored by clicking links. Formal publishing to Microsoft® Word documents can be achieved through Document Publisher.

In short there is no mystery to your data once inside Cradle unlike our bones, welded joints or airport suitcases you can easily see your data.

Celebrate on X-Ray Day 2017

Celebrate the genius of a very useful tool in the x-ray machine. Whilst we don’t advise you have an x-ray for fun, you could download another useful tool here!

Parametrics in Document Publisher

Parametrics can be very useful in Document Publisher. It uses a question mark ? as a marker to Document Publisher that this is an option and needs to be filled/selected by the user.

It can allow users to set the Identity/key of a single item or more to be output. This can be used in a hierarchy or with a single item type. Parametrics can also be used to set different properties and options in filters.

Single Parametrics

Using a single Parametric (?) allows a user to publish a template many times but use a different item Identity or Key each time. Note: Using a single parametric in several places in the template will always use the same item identity or key each time.

A parametric can be used at the database/top level or at the field level to set the items to be published. At the top level the parametric is entered for the Identity or Key.

Single Parametric set at Database level
Single Parametric set at Database level
Specify Key dialog
A popup for a user to set the Key(s) at a database level item.

They can also be used in a filter for field to set or restrict the items to be output.

Using a category to detemine if a field tag is output.
Using a category to detemine if a field tag is output.

In this case the Requirement attribute of Identity will only be output if its Item Status is set to Accepted.

This allows the user to set the Item Status Option.
This allows the user to set the Item Status Option.

As you can see below, only items with a status of Accepted have both the Identity and Key output for the Requirements.

Small excerpt of the items output
Small excerpt of the items output

Named Parametrics

Using a Named Parametric (?named) means a user can have several different parametrics throughout the template and each can be set at time of publishing. So for example the user can set one named parametric for output based on one option of category (e.g. Agreed) and then later in the template use a different named parametric to output based on a different category option (e.g. Rejected).

Named Parameters for 2 different Paragraph Group Tags
Named Parameters for 2 different Paragraph Group Tags

During publishing a popup will allow the user to select Agreed for the first Paragraph Group popup:

Named Parametric for Status 1
Named Parametric for Status 1

They then can select Rejected for the second Paragraph Group popup:

The second popup to select a different Status
The second popup to select a different Status

The published output will then show the 2 different outputs in the same document.

Output using the above options
Output using the above options

These named parameters can even be used in several places within the template. The user may want to show the Agreed Requirements and System Requirements in one document. As both item types use the same category (Item Status in our Demo) then the same named parametric can be used for both item types.

Using Named parametrics for both Requirements and System Requirements
Using Named parametrics for both Requirements and System Requirements
Output using the same Named Parameters twice
Output using the same Named Parameters twice

In the above screenshot, the 2 named Parametrics have been used for Requirements and System Requirements and the output shows all the Agreed items but that there are no Rejected System Requirements.

Publish Subject Items in Document Publisher

Using the ‘Publish Subject Items’ option

The Publish Subject Items option in the Hierarchy Table can allow a user to stop items being published. This is based on a link(s) existing or not. Users need to understand it affects not only the type it is on but can affect the Subject type as well.

Publish Subject items Options
Hierarchy Details – Publish Subject items Options

Publish Subject Items – Always

When the option is set to ‘Always’, this means that the target items will be published in the document. It does not matter if there are linked items below or not.

Publish Subject Items – ‘Only if link exists’

When the option is set to ‘Only if link exists‘ then the item type will only get published if the item linked to the source has the correct link type and is not excluded because of a filter.

With ‘Only if link exists‘ set on the ISSUE item type and a filter:

– Requirement (Source Item)

– ISSUE (Target Item with filtering)
– RISK (Target Item)

With the hierarchy set as above, if a Requirement only had 1 ISSUE linked to it and this link was removed due to filtering. This means the source item will not be published as there are no linked items to be output. If the Requirement has 2 ISSUEs linked to it and only one is removed through filtering then the source item, the single linked ISSUE and any linked RISK items will be published .

With ‘Only if link exists‘ set on the ISSUE item type and no a filter:

– Requirement

– ISSUE
– RISK

With the hierarchy set as above, the Requirement will be published as well as both ISSUEs and any linked RISK items.

Publish Subject Items – ‘Only if link does not exist’

When the option is set to ‘Only if link does not exist‘ is set on a target item then the source item is only output if the target item is not linked.

With ‘Only if link does not exist‘ set on the RISK item type:

– Requirement

– RISK

Any Requirements that are not linked to a RISK or have the wrong link type will be published. Those Requirements that are linked will not be published.

Publish Subject Items – ‘Only if all links exist’

When the option is set to ‘Only if all links exist‘ then the source item will be output if all linked items have the correct link type and are not removed through filtering.

With ‘Only if all links exist ‘ set on the ISSUE item type and a filter:

– Requirement

– ISSUE (with filtering)
– RISK

If the Requirement has a single ISSUE linked to it and the filtering removes this link then neither the Requirement nor the ISSUE will be published.

When a Requirement has two ISSUEs linked to it and the filtering removes one link then neither the Requirement nor the ISSUEs will be published.

With the filtering removed from the ISSUE item type then the Requirement, ISSUEs and RISK items will be published.

Publish Subject Items – ‘Only if all link do not exist’

When the option is set to ‘Only if all links do not exist‘ then the source item will be output as long as non of the linked items have the correct link type or at are removed through filtering.

With ‘Only if all links do not exist ‘ set on the ISSUE item type and a filter:

– Requirement

– RISK

If a Requirement has a RISK linked in the right way then the source item will not be output. If a Requirement has either no linked RISK items or the link type is wrong then the source item will be output.

For help on Document Publisher click here

For blog posts on Document Publisher click here

Using a Company Templates for Document Publisher

Company Templates

Does your company use different types of Microsoft® Word template for different types of document? Did you know that you can use those company templates inside Document Publisher?

Document Publisher has different locations you can save the files to but it can also open files from outside these locations as well. These files will then be shown as ‘local’ and can then be edited in Document Publisher. Once you are happy with the company template it can be saved to any one of the locations the user has access to within Cradle.

Loading an External Template

Select the File menu and then New, then From Existing Template and select the template type the user wishes to open. Once the Template dialog opens, click the Local... button.

Opening New From Existing Template
Opening New From Existing Template
Document Publisher Open Template dialog
Document Publisher Open Template dialog

This will then open explorer in which the user can then locate and open the file they require.

Explorer through Document Publisher
Explorer through Document Publisher

This will then open the file named as NewTemplate and not as the name of the file you have opened from. Once you have added at least one tag, Document Publisher will allow you to save the template.

Saving a File

The first is to select the File menu and Save, then the Template dialog opens, the user can either save it to one of the locations they can access or as below, select the Local… button and rename and save it through Explorer.

Saving templates through Explorer
Saving templates through Explorer for Document Publisher

This will then save the file to that location and show in Document Publisher as (Local).

Showing template is saved Local
Showing the file is saved as Local and not in a Cradle Location.

This file when finished can then be saved into a Cradle location e.g. Project so it can then be published through WorkBench. To do this the user will click the File menu and then Save and when the Template dialog opens, select the Location the user requires and change the name they want the file to have.

Template Dialog using the Project Location
Saving in the Project location and new name for the file.

This will now show it is saved in the project location. This can be done to any location the user has access to.

Tempalte in project area
Template is now saved in the Project Location

To see how to Publish through WorkBench, click here

For Publishing a draft template, click here

For free Microsoft® Office templates and themes, click here

How to Make Use of User Variables in Document Publisher

Where can Variables be Placed

All User Variables in Document Publisher can be used throughout the template. You can use the variables within Headers, Footers, boilerplate text and document titles.

What are Variables?

The Variables store bits of data to be used in tags that allow the use of either a variation of data or static data.

For example the variable $UserName is static will only output the currently Logged in Users Name within the document. The User Name will also be output if the template is being generated through the Phase sidebar in WorkBench.

Some variables can be used to hold items identities in a static list like $IDList or lists of item identities collected from Hierarchy Tables like $ItemList. The lists for $ItemList can change depending on cross references and/or if the template uses parameters.

Creating User Variables is easy. Read How to Create a Variable to find out.

User Variables in Headers and Footers

The variable tags can be used within a Header and/or Footer in conjunction with Microsoft® Word’s own data fields.

In the Word tab, select the Header or Footer option. Then select the Edit Header/Footer option. Once the Header/Footer is open, select the User Variable button and the variable you wish to use.

Several variable tags can be placed to output within the Header/Footer so you get the output required. These tags can also be formatted.

When editing the Header or Footer the View will change to Print View as they don’t show in Draft view.

Doc Pub user variables in a header
Using variables in a Word Header.
Doc Pub user variables in a footer
Using variables and Word fields in a Footer.

The final output looks like this:

user variables output within a header

Footer Output User Variables

User Variables in Boilerplate

The variable tags can be placed within any boilerplate text. This allows for changes in data like the date or user publishing the document.

Boilerplate text and User variables
Boilerplate text with User Variables.
Two user variables within the Boilplate text
The User Name and Todays date within the Boilplate text.

User Variables in Title Text

A User Variable or a Paragraph Group tag can be used to set the Document Title. A variable is quicker but does not allow for parameters are used in a field tags.

Title Variables
$TemplateName User Variable

So the output looks like this:

Title Output

Or you can have the Title only output when you are generating a Formal Document. Use any of the $FormalDoc variables and they are only generated during a Formal Publish. In this example I have used $FormalDocTitle:

Title Formal Variables

Using $FormalDocTitle means the title will output as to the same as the User entered in the Title in the Publish Formal Document UI.

Publish Formal Document
Publish Formal Document User Interface
Title Formal Output
Document Title set by the words entered by a User during a Formal Publish.

Table Generation Method in Document Publisher

There are two ways to generate a Document Publisher table. The first table generation method is the Default, this outputs each item row by row. This generation is slower but allows for different styles and formatting in a cell.

The second table generation method is XML which is faster but does not allow for different styles and formatting within a cell. If the user is outputting a simple table then XML is the way to go, especially if it is a large table.

This article highlights some of the limitations and pitfalls with XML output.

A Simple Table Generation

Outputting a simple but large table is quicker by setting the Generation Method to XML.

Simple Table
A simple and none formatted, Document Publisher Table
Hierarchy Table
A hierarchy table I use for this example.

Outputting the above table using a hierarchy as above is much faster using the XML method rather than the Default method.

Differences in Styling Text in a Cell When Using the XML Generation Method

Taking the table above and formatting all the tags in different ways to make them stand out can cause some problems in the XML.  For instance the user may wish the Verification Method to be output in a different colour to the rest of the Verification information at present this would cause issues with an XML Table Generation Method.

Differently coloured tags
Differently coloured tags

In the above screen-shot, I have made the Identity and Name of the Verification blue and the Method green. This currently limitation means when generated using the XML Generation method, none of the text is seen under the Verification column.

The output from differently coloured tags
The output from differently coloured tags within the same cell

Setting the Verification Method to the Automatic Font colour, the text is output but the Identity and Name will still not show.

Coloured and auto coloured atgs
The output if some tags are coloured and others are set to automatic in the same cell.

The only way to have the output show correctly is to put the Font Colour on the whole cell:

Coloured cell tags
All tags in the cell are the same colour.
Coloured cell output
The output from the colour placed on the cell not the text.

The user can even have all the different columns in different colours and this will output each item and column correctly.

All coloured cells Output
All cells are coloured differently in the table output

The same goes for making text bold, italic or underlined; unless it is on the whole cell it will cause issues with the output.

Differences in using Formatting Marks in a Cell

Placing formatting marks like between tags in the same cell is also subject to limitations. Placing a single carriage return (new line) between 2 tags can cause the second tag to not be output if placed incorrectly:

Using formatting incorrectly
Using formatting incorrectly
Output when formatted badly.
Output when formatted badly.

When done correctly can still output as the user requires, make sure the cursor is before the bookmark and press Shift+Enter:

Using formatting correctly
Using formatting correctly

Or just putting a full carriage return (paragraph end)  between the tags, making sure the cursor is between the 2 bookmarks and not inside one of them:

Using formatting correctly
Using formatting correctly
Correct formatting output.
The output when formatting is used correctly.

The alignment of text within a cell must also be the same, the user cannot have one tag as left aligned and another right or center aligned unless there is a full carriage return between them.

You also cannot use Ctrl+Tab for a single tag in the cell as the data will not show in the output.

For more information on Tables in Document Publisher click here

Publish a Formal Document Using a Batch File

Running Document Publisher in the Background

Publishing a Draft or Formal Document can take time. If you need to use Microsoft® Word for other work, is a nuisance when having to wait.

Users can run a batch file to create the documents either as a Draft and/or as a Formal document. The batch file can be used in a task while the user is not using their computer; for example at night or a weekend if many documents are being generated.

The command line needs to have all the options set the same as they would  be through the UI (User Interface):

Publish Formal Document User Interface
Publish Formal Document User Interface

Formal Document Command line Options

The normal batch file command line options for just a draft document are:

Draft Options for batch file
Command Line Draft Options

Each of the following shows what the command line options for each Formal option in the User Interface:

Formal Options for batch file
Formal Options needed in a batch file

All the above -fdoc options are requirements within the command line except -newversion. Only use the -newversion option, if a new version of the document is required.

The final command line to generate the DEMO Template will look like this: (NOTE: Options with more than a single word are required to be in quotes e.g. -fdoccomment “Published DEMO Template Using Batch File”)

"%CRADLEHOME%\bin\exe\windows\DocPub.exe" -login MANAGER,MANAGER,demo -file "DEMO Template" -location PROJECT -type DOCX -output "C:\Temp\DEMO Template.doc" -formal -fdocname "DEMO Template" -fdoctype REQUIREMENTS -fdoctitle "DEMO Template" -fdocissue 1 -fdocdate Jun -fdocref DEMO1 -fdocclass UNCLASSIFIED -fdoccomment "Published DEMO Template Using Batch File" –log

Any template that generates through Document Publisher can generate through a batch file.

As you can see in the command window below, 3 templates are being generated, a doc, a docx and a docm.

Command line window
Command Window showing 3 types of document being generated

Once the documents are generated, they can be seen in WorkBench in the Project sidebar under the Formal Document sections:

Project sidebar Formal Documents sections
Project sidebar – Formal Documents sections showing the 3 generated documents

Using parameters within a batch file

The great thing about using a command line batch file is that parameters can be set, as long as the template has parameters setup. This means you can run the same document many times but use different parameters for each run with a different document output name. For example if you used ?reqID within the Key or Identity you could output different Requirement Documents.

Supply Chain Management

How to use Cradle for Supply Chain Management

Managing the requirements to product of  any one supplier.

Any successful project must start by carefully managing its requirements. This follows for every link in the supply chain thus ensuring the full life cycle is efficiently and completely covered. Cradle abilities in Requirements Management and Systems Engineering supports that vital role, retaining the crucial links in managing the product’s development.

Needs, Roles, Requirements, Wants, Restrictions, Drawings.

Whatever you call the pieces of information you handle, you can create an item type to hold this information. You can categorise and add attributes and details to match your business definitions. You can add frames to hold pictures, drawings, or URLs. No need to bend your process to meet the tool, configure the tool to match your working practice.

Managing the links between suppliers

Cradle can also be used to manage contractual compliance at each level in the supply chain. That is, a customer uses Cradle to define their commercial, technical, environmental, health & safety requirements and publishes them as contractual documents.
A supplier can load these documents into Cradle, automatically parse them into their component pieces. They can then develop responses and then generate the completed response document from Cradle.
The customer receives the response documents from candidate suppliers and loads them into Cradle, automatically splitting them into their component pieces – e.g. paragraphs – and linking each supplier ‘answer’ to each of their requirements (the questions). See Document Loader. Then Cradle can help to score the suppliers’ responses.

Once a supplier has been chosen, acceptance criteria, validation methods and validations can be added to the requirements and used to manage the supplier’s fulfilment of the contract.  A formal response is then produced using Document Publisher.

Whatever the level

The handy thing is that the above applies at every level in the supply chain. A company that is a ‘supplier’ in the above can use the Cradle database that they have produced to be a ‘customer’ to their suppliers, one level down the supply chain.

Related Articles

B2B Supply Chain, A Requirements Management Task?