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.

 

 

Create a New Database Based upon a Previous Database

The Problem

I want to create a new database that is a copy of a pre-existing database minus the actual data.

Cradle Project Environment

The environment for the Cradle project will contain:

  • Project Setup
  • Supporting definition files (views, forms, queries, documents etc.)
  • Users*

*If you will have the same users in the new project that are in the existing project.

The Solution

To avoid the Personal and/or User definition files being part of this import, we would suggest the following:

  1. Log in to the existing project as MANAGER
  2. Select Project > Export
  3. In the Export dialog set Owner to  Everything and Info Type to Project Schema and User Profiles (if users are required, see comment above)

Screenshot showing export of project schema and user profiles

  1. Press Export to create the export file and close the Export Status dialog but do NOT close the Export Information dialog:Screenshot showing Export Status
  2. In the Export Information dialog, change the Info Type to ONLY show Definition Files:
    Screenshot showing Export Definition Files
  3. You will see that some new options appear – Definition Type and Location:
    Screenshot showing Info Type Definitions filter in Export
  4. The Definition Type option allows you to specify the types of definition file to be included in the export. For this example, we will leave this as All:
    Screenshot showing Definition Types in Export
  5. The Location option defines which location you are exporting the definition files from.
    Users may have created Personal or User definition files that might not be relevant to the new project.
    Personal and/or User definitions might only have been useful to an individual person rather than the project so could be omitted.
    In this case, we would only need to select Team*, User Type* and Project

    * It may only be necessary to select Project

    Screenshot showing Location of definitions in Export

  6. Press the Export button again. This will present you with the option to Overwrite, Append or Cancel. Select Append:
    Screenshot showing Overwrite or Append
  7. In Project Manager, create your new project with an EMPTY schema:
    Screenshot showing Create New Empty Project
  8. Log into the new project as MANAGER
  9. Select Project > Import and set Owner to As in File and Overwrite to On:
    Screenshot showing Import Information
  10. You will see that your new project contains:
  • Users
  • All the Project Setup information including the phase hierarchy and all supporting definition files

Summary Note

If you had NOT chosen to append the definition files, it is highly likely that the phase hierarchy from the existing project would not work in the new project and would produce errors.

These definition files are important to define the WorkBench environment.

Also, if you had chosen to export all the definition files, this may have resulted in numerous views, forms, queries, documents etc., that are not particularly relevant or accepted into project definitions.

How to Recover Deleted Items

Recovering Deleted Items

The recoverable status means that when you delete items, they are not removed from the database, but is placed into a recoverable state from where you can restore the item if you need to. The ability to recover deleted items in this way is similar to the Trash folder you may find on a mail program or Bin on an operating system home screen. When an item is restored all cross references to/from the item are also restored.

To set the recoverable option you need to set the Enable recovery of deleted items option within the Miscellaneous section in Project Setup:

Project Setup dialog showing settings to recover deleted items
Project Setup dialog

You will notice when you select this option the Deleting/recovering items …. option becomes enabled. This controls whether deleting a draft item (making it recoverable) should also modify the item’s last modifier/last modified date/time attributes. If set, this also affects those attributes when recovering an item, i.e. the date/time will reflect when the item was recovered.

Full Deletion

To really delete items from the database you can either:

  1. View the recoverable items and delete them, or
  2. Overwrite with a new item with the same identity as an item that is recoverable (you will receive a warning message so that you do not do this unintentionally)

You can view the recoverable items by using the Delete State element in queries:

Delete states available within queries
Query Details Dialog

Tip: You can stop users from deleting items by disabling the delete item privilege in user setup. We feel that deleting an item is more of a project admin task and not for general users.

Viewing Deletions

As you can see there are three values:

  • Normal (the default) – selects items that are not recoverable
  • Recoverable – selects items that are recoverable, that is, the items that have been deleted and which can be restored
  • All – selects items irrespective of their recoverable status

Read the Cradle Help for information on how to recover deleted items.

When items are deleted (i.e. placed into a recoverable state) and change history is enabled for that item type, a comment of Item deleted is added to the change history of the recoverable item. Also, if the item is recovered a comment of Item recovered is added to the change history.

Article updated 05/12/2018 – Added tip

Creating a RTF Frame

Displaying and Editing RTF Inside Cradle

This blog will help explain what RTF frames are and how they are used within Cradle.

Rich Text Format can be used to enhance the data shown in Cradle. This is displayed in a Rich Text Frame. Whether this is to allow BOLD, Underline or a different Font. Generally requirements and specifications should be broken down into atomic components. The ‘detail’ should be expressed in a short and concise  statement or paragraph. However, higher level requirement or tables are often useful and in these cases the emphasis / layout provided by RTF is desired.

demonstration of RTF in Cradle
RTF Frame Display

To create the RTF Frame, open WorkBench and navigate to Project Setup. Inside Project Setup from the Options dropdown menu select “Item Definitions” and open the tab Frame Types.

In most cases using the shipped schemas, you’ll see a frame of type RTF, however, the steps to create a frame are: Select New… this will open the “New Frame Type”  dialog in which you can give your frame any name, for this I have named mine the “Blog RTF“, You will now see the Frame you have created in the list, select Edit… in this dialog you now have several settings, the “Base Type” will allow you to change the Frame Type, you will want to change this to “RTF“. Other options are available such as being able to restrict the RTF Frame by choosing a Required Skill, provided that you have a set of predefined skills in your project schema.

Now to assign this frame to an Item Type, first you will want to open “Item Types“. Select your item of choice, for this I have selected System Note – Feature. Select “Frames…” and give this a sensible name such as “RTF“.

Frame Setup dialog showing RTF frame assigned to FEATURE item type
RTF assigned to FEATURE

For more information regarding Frames select here

Article Updated 04/02/2019 – Added intro

Creating New Item Types

Do you require more Item Types, maybe you just want a new Item Type with a different name. Cradle lets you create new item types to suit your working methods.

In Project Setup navigate to “Options – Item Definitions” and change the tab to “Item Types“. This dialog presents a list of

  • the predefined types of item available in any and all Cradle projects,
  • those that were in the chosen template schema when the project was created
  • those added by a user.

New user defined types are used to extend a Cradle Database, to encompass new types of information. To create a new item type you need PROJECT privilege to modify the schema.

3SL Cradle New Item Type
Creating a New Item Type
  1. Select the Project tab
  2. Select Project Setup
  3. Set Options to Item Definitions (if not already set)
  4. Select the Items tab
  5. Click New and enter a name for the new item type

Remember you can also add these newly created Item Type to the quick access bar, for more information see “Customise your Quick Access Bar”

For more information regarding item types and Project Setup please see help on Item Types or my article on configuring Item Attributes

Article Updated 04/02/2019 – Removed mentions of project schema

New Default Schemas

The structure of each Cradle database is defined in a schema. Cradle is supplied with four default schemas that you can use. You can create new default schemas. You can initialise your new Cradle database using any of your default schemas.

Default Schemas

A Cradle system can contain any number of databases. Each database can be used for one or more projects. Each database has a structure that is defined in a schema.

When you create a new database, you specify a default schema that will be used to initialise the schema in the new database  Cradle is supplied with four default schemas, called: empty, default, quick-start and SysML. 3SL provides documents that explain the contents of these default schemas.

New Default Schemas

Cradle can support any process for any type of project. The schema defines the types of information that you will need to follow your process.

You can create new default schemas to support any type of process for any type of project. For example, look at the following types of projects and lists of the item types that will be included in their schemas:

  1. Agile projects:
    • Sprint, iteration
    • Feature
    • Build and release
    • Test cases, test results
  2. Business Analysis projects:
    • Needs, goals, objectives
    • Business functions, processes, tasks
    • Organisations, groups, teams
    • Deliverables, reports  and other document types, artefacts, builds
    • Personnel types, skills, roles
  3. Enterprise Architecture projects:
    • Needs, goals, objectives
    • Processes, functions, tasks
    • Resources, systems, buildings and other facilities, area breakdown structure, site breakdown structure
    • Delivery phases, releases and builds
    • Organisations, groups, teams
    • Deliverables, reports  and other document types, artefacts, builds
    • Personnel types, skills, roles, organisation breakdown structure
  4. Requirements Management projects:
    • Needs, goals, objectives
    • Business requirements, user requirements, system requirements
    • Validations and verifications
  5. Application lifecycle management projects:
    • Needs, goals, objectives
    • Business requirements, user requirements, system requirements
    • Validations and verifications
    • Analysis models, logical models, architecture models, design models – built using MBSE using one or more of functional analysis, SASD, IDEF, ADARTS, UML and/or SysML notations
    • System breakdown structure (SBS)
    • Test cases and test results
  6. Project Management projects:
    • Needs, goals, objectives
    • Business requirements, user requirements, system requirements
    • Product requirements, managed in a library
    • Validations and verifications
    • System breakdown structure (SBS)
    • Product breakdown structure (PBS)
    • Part catalogue, suppliers, orders
    • Production schedules, production runs, batches, samples
    • Quality records, test cases, samples, test results

Location and Structure of Default Schemas

Each default schema is stored in the sub-directory:

admin/defaults

inside the Cradle installation on the server.

Inside this directory are:

  • A file called: prj_params that contains the schema
  • A directory tree containing the project-scope definitions, such as queries, views, forms and so on, called: definitions

Creating New Default Schemas

You can create your own default schemas by:

  • Decide on a name for your new default
  • Create a new directory with this name inside the admin/defaults directory in the Cradle installation on your server
  • Place the schema for the new default inside this directory in a file called: prj_params – you can copy the prj_params file from inside the database directory of an existing database, or use Cradle’s export to create it (see below)
  • Optionally copy some or all of the Project scope definitions from the definitions directory in an existing database

Export to Create a New Default Schema

You can export the schema using the Export Information dialog that is shon when you select Export from the Project tab in WorkBench.

If you can run WorkBench on the server, then you can export the schema directly into the new defaults directory:

Export to Create New Default Schemas
How to to Create a New Default Schema

Using Your New Default Schemas

When you create a new database in Project Manager, select the Schema drop-down list. This will display the list of default schemas. Any new schemas that you have created will appear in this list, for example:

Create Project dialog showing available schemas
Create Project dialog

Getting Started with Link Rules in Cradle

What Are Link Rules?

Link rules are used in Cradle as a way of defining constraints for cross reference operations within a project. They specify who can manipulate cross references, the link types that can be used, between what types of item, and which items of these types. This guide to getting started with link rules will help first time users understand the concepts.

The level of detail for each link rule can vary as required for your project’s needs. On one hand they can be very simplistic, allowing links of any link type between all item types. On the other hand they can be more detailed and specific, allowing links between different item types, models and individual item identities.

Throughout this blog post, and future posts, we will explore the Link Rule Setup dialog. These posts will cover the different options available and the result this will have on cross references between items in your project.

Continue reading “Getting Started with Link Rules in Cradle”

Item Attributes

Item Attributes

Items have attributes that describe the item and store its data. Item attributes are used to sort, categorise and group items. They also hold the unique data forming the main purpose of the item. There are three main kinds of attribute:

    •  Predefined – used to manage items, and include attributes such as name, number, version, owner, security classification and last modification date.
    •  Categories – small amounts of data as free text, single value picklists or multiple value picklists, or abstract data types such as dates or reals. These are also primary database indexes.
    • Frames – attributes for storing large amounts of data, as text or binary. These can be queried but are not primary indexes.

     

  • The predefined attributes are always present. You can inspect their values, query the database to retrieve items based on the values of these attributes, and in some cases, directly set the values of the attributes. for example The key, group, comment or description. Other predefined attributes are central to Cradle’s access control mechanisms and the Cradle configuration management system (CMS). These are set by Cradle, for example modified date or status, they cannot be directly modified. You cannot remove predefined attributes from an item.To change the item’s user definable attributes, you will need to go to Project Setup and in Options select Item Definitions as shown below
    Attributes
    Project Setup – Item Definitions

     

  • Here you will be able to add, modify and remove an item type’s attributes. For example if you wanted to add a picture to an item type, you could pick the JPEG frame type. If you needed to add CAD drawing file, you would define a frame type to hold the data and then add an instance of this to each of the item types needing to store this information.

Hierarchical Numbering

The hierarchical number describes an item’s position in the hierarchy. It is usually stored in the Key attribute but it can be stored in a category if you wish. Hierarchical numbers are not fixed. They can be changed and reorganised.

  1. A prefix (this is optional)
  2. A separator
  3. A number

The hierarchical separator can be:

  • A dot or period (this is the default), e.g. fred.1.2.3
  • A hyphen, e.g. fred-1-2-3
  • A slash, e.g. fred/1/2/3
  • For further information regarding attributes please click here
Article Updated 04/02/2019 – Expaned on how the key attribute is special to control hierarchies

Item’s Edit History

Who Changed That? When? Why?

When working in large teams or over a long period an item’s edit history is very useful.

Each item type can have history turned on in the Project Schema via the Project Setup dialog. Users can choose what stage to enable history, Never, Always, Changing draft items that have a baselined instance, Named category matches specified value.

Right clicking on the item and selecting the History -> View Item History. The resulting dialog shows who changed the item on what date and what time. It also displays a comment (This can be made mandatory) entered at the time of editing. If an entry is selected in this list, full details are shown in the lower half of the dialog. If there are a large number of changes, the filter at the top of the dialog can aid finding a relevant change.

Dialog showing an item's edit history
Item’s Edit History

Item History in a Web Browser

Web Access allows you to see an item’s history too. This functionality is in our shipped web UIs. It can be added to your own custom UIs, see the ‘history’ template information.

Web Access showing an item's history
Item History in Web Access

Project Schema Report Options

New Cradle 7.2 Reports Feature

It just grew and grew and grew…..

As more functionality is constantly being added to Cradle, the number of elements in the project schema grow. If you want to study only part of the schema, the report could be quite long and unwieldy. Cradle 7.2 allows users to select the portions of the schema they want to show in a report.

Shows selection of part of the project schema and resultant report
Report parts of the project schema

New Cradle 7.3.1 Reports Feature

We’ve made coloursets report more clearly in the Schema Report.

option dialog and result for schema coloursets
Coloursets – Report

Coloursets are a means to easily and consistently apply foreground and background colours to diagram symbols, or item type definitions. you can see more information in the Cradle help.

Copying a Schema

Once you have set up a schema, you can always copy it to a new project.