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Allegro® Pulse offers a unique method of keeping track of versions and revision history of a PCB layout as well as controlling access to layout databases for different users. Similarly, Allegro® PCB Symphony Team Design Option offers an ad-hoc solution for multiple designers to work concurrently on placement, routing, and in-design analysis in real-time. Though these two features are independent of each other, they can be used together to reduce development time and improve design data traceability.In this blog, we will explore a case where these two are used in tandem. Let’s consider an example where a team of engineers wishes to use Symphony Team Design Option to share a Pulse-managed board with other users for a team design session and keep track of the version changes and updates through Allegro Pulse.
For this example, one user is entrusted with the task of locking and committing the Allegro Pulse database as well as running the Symphony Team Design session. This user ensures that the design is locked for editing before any changes are made to it as illustrated in the following figure:
Figure 1 - Locking a project (left) and a project in a locked state (right)
After the design is locked, the user starts the Symphony server from the File – Start Symphony Server menu command in Allegro® PCB Editor or Allegro® Package Designer Plus with the Symphony Team Design option selected. After a brief initialization process, the server is up and running. The Allegro layout editor is now a Symphony client connected to the Symphony server. At this point, other users can log into the Symphony session and begin concurrent design and analysis activities. These users are not required to be a part of the shared Allegro Pulse design. For more details about Symphony Team Design features, check out the product page.
By default, Allegro Symphony keeps a backup of autosaved versions of the designs while users are working on the layout. Backups are stored on the machine running the Allegro Symphony Server application in the same directory as the source layout file. You can modify this option in the Autosave Settings section accessible from the File – Options menu command in the Allegro Symphony Server window. It is important to understand that because these are the autosaved versions of a locked Pulse-managed database, each version is also managed by Allegro Pulse. Each version carries the same unique ID as the original Allegro Pulse database and can be committed over the previous versions of the design. Overwriting the current version in Allegro Pulse with an autosaved file should be done carefully.
Figure 2 - Options for autosaving Symphony layout data
When all the users are done editing the design, they can disconnect from the Symphony server without worrying about explicitly saving the data or backing up their work. The user responsible for starting the Symphony server saves the design and commits a new version to Allegro Pulse.
Figure 3 - Symphony client pane in Allegro layout editors
In the Symphony server application, selecting the Save button writes all the changes to the layout database. If the user tries to close the session without saving or saves and subsequently closes the server, they are prompted to save the layout. This ensures that all the changes from the Symphony session are saved.
Figures 4 and 5 - Closing and saving a Symphony layout
After the server is closed, Allegro PCB Editor or Allegro Package Designer Plus default back to an unnamed design. The user can then open the layout file that was used in the Symphony Server application. All changes done in the Symphony Team Design session can be seen on the opened layout, which is still locked by Allegro Pulse (as illustrated in Figure 1). To commit it back to Allegro Pulse, the user opens the Commit dialog box from the File – Commit menu command and adds any relevant tags or comments. After it is committed, this version of the layout is preserved in the Version Control application.
Figure 6 - Commit dialog when checking in the design to Allegro Pulse
Following the general steps of locking a layout, making changes in a Symphony Team Design, and finally committing the layout back saves design time in concurrent layout sessions and tracks changes with Allegro Pulse Version Control. Design teams can unlock powerful new levels of productivity by combining these two tools in Allegro PCB Editor and Allegro Package Designer Plus.
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The BoardSurfers series provides solutions to the various tasks related to the creation and management of PCB design using the Allegro platform products. The name and logo of this series are designed to resonate with the vision of making the design and manufacturing tasks enjoyable, just like surfing the waves. Regular, new blog posts by experts cover every aspect of the PCB design process, such as library management, schematic design, constraint management, stackup design, placement, routing, artwork, verification, and much more.