About creating items

Typically, you create a new item by adding a file to Dimensions CM. You can also create items that are not based on a file.

Create items

When you create an item by adding a file, you identify the file and specify the item type and other item attributes.

You can create an item that is not based on a file, for example, when you want to represent hardware that cannot be physically represented in Dimensions CM, or to have a placeholder item for content that is still to be written. If your process model defines an item format template, the template determines the initial content of the item when you preview it or get a copy of it.

An item format template is a text file that defines the initial content of an item created without content. Item format templates can include substitution variables, which are expanded dynamically when you copy or preview an item. For details, see Use header substitution variables.

You can add multiple items by using the Deliver function for a project or stream, or the Synchronize function for a project. Multiple items located in a folder structure in your work area can be added to the project/stream under a corresponding folder structure. For details, see the following topics:

Web client: Create multiple items
Desktop client: Create items

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Set the item type

For each new item, you must specify an item type, such as an object file, source file, or documentation.

Based on the item type and rules in your process model, Dimensions CM automatically specifies certain attributes for the item.

When you create an item by adding a file, Dimensions CM automatically selects an item type based on the file extension. You can change the item type if needed.

When you are creating an item without adding a file, you must select an item type.

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Set the item data format

Your process model may specify multiple data formats for a given item type. This enables Dimensions CM to handle different kinds of items differently even though they share the same item type.

Example: In a software application, you could distinguish files on the basis of language (for program sources) or execution platform (for executable program files) to use different build processes for items of the same type but different formats. Thus, an item of type SRC and format C is compiled using a C compiler, and an item of type SRC and format CBL is compiled using a COBOL compiler.

If an item type has a list of associated data formats, you must select one of those formats when you create an item of that type. If an item type has no associated data formats, you can type in any format, even ones not defined in the process model.

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Set the item ID and project file name

When you create an item by adding a file to a project, Dimensions CM uses the project folder structure and the name of the file to create a project file name.

The project file name determines the name of the item file when it is accessed from or to your work area. For example, if you add a file named cabin.c to a project folder named src, the new item project file name is src\cabin.c. You can change the default project file name.

In the desktop client, if you create an item without adding a file, you must enter a project file name for the new item. If your process model has been set up to automatically generate a unique item ID, this is based on the project file name and extension.

For example, if you add a file named cabin.c, the item ID is set to CABIN C. Dimensions CM may add an integer to the item ID to make sure it is unique within the product. If the process model has not been set up to automatically generate the item ID, you must enter one, and make sure it is unique within the product.

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Use header substitution variables

You can include configuration management information in the form of a file header for certain types of items.

For example, in a C program, the file could include a header section giving details about the file such as its file name, revision, lifecycle status, and item ID.

In Dimensions CM, you can add a header that contains substitution variables that refer to attributes of an item revision. The variables are expanded dynamically when you get a copy of, preview, or build the item.

For example, you could include the specification of an item in the item file. The following header:

Copy code

produces this text:



You can embed multiple headers anywhere in a file.

There is also a reversible header expansion syntax, which enables you to edit expanded files and then deliver them back to Dimensions CM without losing the original file structure.

You can expand item headers only if item header substitution is enabled in the Administration Console. For details, see Set up the process model.

Note: Dimensions CM does not carry out Item header substitution when performing an update from a stream.

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See also: