DriveWorks Pro 17: Specification Flow [send feedback...]

Specification Flow

The specification flow task provides the ability to customize the behavior of specifications created by running a project. Multiple steps can be configured, and the actions that are taken at each customized.

Specification Flow gives complete control over the specification process.

It allows the creation of the navigation buttons that appear on the user forms.

You can choose what will be created from a specification and when it will happen.

Furthermore you decide which Users or Teams have permission to perform actions on a specification.

Beyond simply customizing the built-in specification flow, it is possible to completely replace it with a custom one of your own design to gain complete control over the specification process.

At the top of the specification flow designer, there is a list of warnings (if there aren't any then this won't be visible). Many of these warnings will prevent you from being able to run a project.

Default Specification Flow

The default specification flow can be customized to suit your own requirements. This is useful if changing the name of the Transitions or Operations is all that is required. Anything more than this and we recommend to Clear the default Specification Flow.

Default Specification Flow Transitions

The default specification contains some intricacies with the release transitions:

  • ReleaseLocal - will use the application that the specification is being made from (DriveWorks Administrator, User, Live, etc.) to release the specification.
  • ReleaseAutopilot - will use DriveWorks Autopilot to release the specification, but only when the setting Release specifications to Autopilot is checked.

    There is a condition that will check if this setting has been applied. Please see Setting: Release To Autopilot for more information.

DriveWorks Autopilot will generate models, if it is running, regardless of the method of release.

Releasing specifications to DriveWorks Autopilot is recommended when using DriveWorks Live for performance.

Please see How To: Modify Specification Flow for more information.

To Customize the Specification Flow

By default, the Specification Flow for a project is not customized and cannot be changed. A warning message indicating this will appear at the top of the design area, which reads:

Warning: This specification flow is not customized and can not be edited

To customize the Specification Flow, click the  button on the command bar.

Add StateSet State TypeEdit StateAdd OperationAdd TransitionRenameDeleteOverviewCustomize SpecificationRestore DefaultClear

Aligning States

To align two or more states, either box select (by click-dragging the specification flow design surface), or control-select each state you wish to align, and then press the relevant alignment button.

The following alignment tools are available:

To Zoom In and Out of a Specification Flow

To zoom in or out of a specification flow, hold the control key on your keyboard, and scroll using the wheel on your mouse.

To reset the zoom to 100% at any time, double click the Zoom box at the top right of the specification flow.

To Move the Transition Connection Line

The transition connection line is placed onto the target state automatically by DriveWorks.

If a target state has been selected incorrectly it can be moved to a different state.

If the position of the connector on the source or target state is not to your liking it can be repositioned.

If the connection line or lines interfere with other connection lines they can also be moved.

Move to a Different State

  1. Locate the transition connector that is to be moved.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the gray orb, just near the Transition Direction arrow. The orb will be highlighted with a blue circle around it and the name of the State the transition belongs to will pop up.

  3. Click and drag the connector to the required State.

Reposition the Connector on the State

  1. Locate the transition connection line that is required to be repositioned on the State.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the black block that connects the transition line to the State. The name of the Transition and the name of the source State and target State will pop up.

  3. Click and drag the connection block to a new location on the State.

Move the Connector Line(s)

  1. Locate the transition connector line that is required to be moved.
  2. Move the mouse pointer over the line segment. The mouse pointer will change to be directional arrows that indicate the direction the line can be moved. A vertical connector line can be moved left and right, a horizontal connector line can be moved up and down.

  3. Click and drag the connector line to the required position.

To Rename/Delete/Modify Transitions and Operations in a State

To be able to work with transitions or operations in a state, you first need to expand the state by using the Expand/Collapse box at the top right of the state, this will expand the state so that it looks like the following:

You can then use the arrows at the top and bottom to scroll the operations, transitions, and events in the state.

  • To Move the select an operation, transition, or event, click it in the list.
  • To edit conditions or tasks for an operation, transition, or event, double click it in the list to launch the State Editor with the operation, transition, or event selected.
  • To delete an operation or transition, select it in the list, and click the "Delete" button on the command bar.
  • To reorder an operation or transition, the operation or transition to the desired location.
The order of the operations and transitions in the state list is the same as they will be shown on the specification explorer.
  • To change the name of an operation or transition, select it in the list, and click the "Name" link that appears to the right.
  • To change the title of an operation or transition, select it in the list, and click the "Title" link that appears to the right.

Operations and Transitions have both a name and a title. Two operations or transitions can have the same title but must have different names, this is useful in cases where you want the end-user to see the same action, but you want to do slightly different things, perhaps based on the team they belong to, or settings in DriveWorks.

For example, in the default specification flow, there are two Release transitions ReleaseLocal and ReleaseToAutopilot which are both titled Release, but only one is visible to the end-user depending on the settings in DriveWorks.

Load Template

DriveWorks has some pre-loaded Specification Flow Templates that can be used for your projects.

Additionally your own customized Specification Flows can be exported and loaded into other projects.

Load a DriveWorks template

  1. Click Load Template from the command bar of the specification flow stage.
  2. Select the template from the template list
  3. Click Finish to load the template.
Basic Child FlowBasic Child Specification with Model Release on Transition
Basic Specification FlowA Basic Specification Flow with no Approval Process
Advanced With ApprovalAdvanced Specification Flow with Approval Loop before creating Designs
Expense ClaimA Specification Flow for Approving/Rejecting Expenses Claims
Holiday RequestA Specification Flow for Approving/Rejecting Holiday Requests
Quotation With ApprovalA Specification Flow ideal for a Quote with an Approval Loop

Load an Exported Template

To export your own customized template please see Export Template below.

To load an exported template it must first be installed on the DriveWorks Administrator machine it is to be used.

  1. Using Windows Explorer, locate the .drivesft template file created when the template was exported.
  2. Right click on the template file and select Open. The DriveWorks Content Installer will guide you through the process of making this template available in DriveWorks Administrator.
  3. Select who will have access to use the template. Click Next.
  4. Review the details of the template to ensure the correct one has been loaded. Click Next to begin the install.
  5. Click Finish to close the content installer.

Once the template has been installed on the DriveWorks Administrator machine it will be available in the Template list once the Load Template button is clicked.

  1. Click Load Template from the command bar of the specification flow stage.
  2. Select the template from the template list
  3. Click Finish to load the template.

Export Template

The customized specification flow can be exported as a template, this is essential when:

  • The current customization needs additional modification.
  • The current customization is to be repeated on additional projects in the same group.

Using the Export function on projects in different groups may cause complications if the security policy is different between the groups or the specification flow refers to documents or models specific to the source group.

To Export the Specification Flow

  1. Save the current customization by clicking the Save project icon on the DriveWorks Administrator toolbar.
  2. Click the Export Template button
  3. Enter a Title for the customization, this name will be shown when the template is loaded.
  4. Enter a description for the template, the description ideally gives a good synopsis of what the specification flow does.
  5. Click Next and browse to a location to save the template and enter a File Name.

The created template will have the file extension .drivesft.

DriveWorks Tech Tips Portal

Approval Concept

A customized Specification Flow can be used to implement and Approval State for Specifications, so that users specifications must be approved by an administrator before release.

View all Tech Tips

DriveWorks Tech Tips Portal is available to DriveWorks Pro customers with an active subscription and support contract.

Tech Tips provide cut down projects that highlight specific functionality for faster and more effective learning.

To access the portal:

  1. Go to
  2. Login with your DriveWorks Pro account credentials, if asked
  3. Click the Visit Tech Tips Portal button for access

The portal provides a search facility, start typing the name of the Tech Tip (as indicated above) to display the Tip you require.

The first state a specification enters when a new specification has been started.

An automatic state is similar to a "Paused" state, except that if DriveWorks Autopilot is running, it will automatically find the first transition to a "Paused" state and run it. This is useful if you want certain tasks to take place on a server.
If a state is a "Paused" state then it is one which is shown in the Specification Explorer, e.g. "Pending", "Completed" are paused states.

Indicates the user forms will be loaded into the specification window or browser for the users to enter data onto.

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