7.5 Document Change Process
In addition to the ability to control versioning with the Office Connector, Aras provides full enterprise change process capabilities for Documents. This process allows you to create revisions of Documents, driven by an approval workflow where the Documents progress through a set of life cycle states. This process is typically driven from an Aras Change item such as an ECO (engineering change order) or DCO (document change order). This is an extensive topic and can involve many site-specific customizations done at your company, so here we will just introduce the topic and explain how the Office Connector interacts with the change process. For further details please refer to general Aras documentation.
The diagram below illustrates an example of a Document moving through two successive revisions, being created, updated, and released to revision A, and then being modified again and released to revision B. The grey boxes marked "Preliminary", "In Review", and "Released" indicate life cycle states of the Document.
Important things you should understand from this diagram are:
- The edit cycles described in the diagram in section 7.2 are shown here as well; they take place during the "Preliminary" life cycle state
- Permission to modify Documents is based on the life cycle state. In "Preliminary" state (which means "In Work"), permissions are set such that users responsible for creating Documents have edit rights. In states "In Review" and "Released", these users will not have edit rights, because the Document should not be changed while it is in review or released.
- The life cycle state of the Document is changed by activities taking place within the workflow. For example, the Document moves from "Preliminary" to "In Review" when the responsible user says the Document editing is complete.
- Versions (also called Generations in the Aras web client) always increase by one on each edit cycle, across all revisions. In the example above, version 2 is released as revision A, and version 5 is released as revision B.
- Any number of new versions can be created within one revision. Only the last one will be released, but the others are still kept in the system and can be retrieved later if needed.
- The new "to be" revision is assigned to the Document as soon as it moves to "Preliminary" state.
- During "In Review" state, the Document contents are being reviewed by those people responsible. If they approve, the Document moves to "Released". If they do not approve, it is possible for the workflow to loop back such that the Document goes back to "Preliminary" state for further editing. This is not shown in the diagram.
- Revision sequences (A, B, C, etc.), life cycle state names, and workflow activities are all very configurable in Aras Innovator, in order to fit company processes. The example shown is based on out-of-the-box behavior of the software.
If you were to look at the example in the diagram using the Get Version command, you would see the dialog below. Note that the State for version 2 is "Superseded"; this used to be "Released" but is changed to "Superseded" as soon as a later released revision has been created. Only one version will have the state "Released" at any given time, and so if you are using the Get Version command to open old versions for purposes of comparison to the latest, just be aware that the ones marked "Superseded" are the previously released revisions.
Be aware that you can always see the revision and state of the current Document in the Aras ribbon: