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.

Next and Previous

When a query is run in WorkBench, the tool will return a list of the items matching the criteria specified.

As a Cradle database can contain any number of items of information a query could find 0 to 1 million items.

Items in Cradle Database
Items in Cradle Database

The time taken to find so many items could be excessive. Therefore, queries find and return items from the database in blocks. The default size of a block is 1000 items but can be extended to 8000 items in UI Control user preferences:

User Pref Options
Retrieve Item Options in User Prefs

This means that when you run a query it will return at most N items.

Navigating between Blocks of Data

When the block is shown in the WorkBench UI, it is preceded by Previous… and followed by Next….

If you select these, then the query is re-run to find the next block or the previous block of items.

Query showing Previous option
Query showing Previous option
Query showing Next option
Query showing Next option

In this example, clicking the Next… option will retrieve the next set of items in the query:

Query showing items
Query showing items

Selecting Previous… again will return you to the previous block of items.

Reporting Items

If you are creating a report or publishing a document using a query, it is likely that you would NOT wish to be restricted by blocks of items.

Reports allow you to specify:

  • Selected items – items highlighted in the query
  • All items in this set – the block of N items
  • All matching items in database – the totality of items matching the query criteria

    Publish Table Dialog
    Publish Table options


How can I create the same report each month?

Report Definitions

Like many settings a report’s setup can be saved. This creates a report definition file that can be stored in the Project, User, User Type, Team or Personal areas. It can then be recalled by each user that is permitted to see those ‘directories‘.

The report definition can hold the content definition and design layout of the report.

Example – A query based report.

In this example ‘Alan’ has set up an Item Summary report based on the Test – All query. This has been saved as Monthly test report and the output shown in a browser. The example shows a selected Style, and the Options that have been selected elements that are required in the report columns.

Saving a report definition from the Report Inspector
Save Report Definition

A different user ‘Peter’ does not have the permission to create or alter definitions, but can still run the report each month as it has been added to the Project’s phases.

running a report from the phase tree
Report from a Phase

Phases/Definition Sidebar

You have users that are not permitted to access definitions directly. They might be the user that needs to trigger the report each month, then there are two ways they can access it. Opening the Definitions sidebar and drilling down to Reports -> Project the report could be triggered from here. Alternatively it could  be added as a phase. Users accessing the phase sidebar can then select and run the report definition directly without access to the report definition itself.


You’ll need the CREATE_DEFS privilege to be able to edit the report definition.


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.


Meeting Corporate Style

Match in Style

If you want your reports to match you Corporate style, you can create your own Report Styles in Cradle. Although this example of the Vibrant Corporation takes it to the extreme!

How to set report colour settings
Report Colour Settings
Cradle Reports in colours

You can save the style and apply it to each report generated throughout Cradle. This applies to HTML and RTF styles, plain text and CSV are not altered. See Cradle help for more details. Whether you are printing a list of items from the database, or the component parts of a data definition or a baseline summary, you can pick from the built in styles or create your own.

Running Reports

Reports can be run from within the Phase hierarchy (great if you need the same report running regularly) or directly through the Reports tool.


Updated : September 2020 -additional linksand screen shots