Release Control 6.0 Timeline: Part 1

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Serena Release Control 6.0 comes with a new and powerful gantt report that we call the timeline. Starting with RLC 6.0 it is decoupled from the processes that we ship with and fully configurable. In order to be successful in customizing the timeline or even creating new ones from scratch (details coming in part 2) it is important to understand the anatomy of the timeline and the terminology we use in the editor.

 

Components of The Timeline

All the data that is used to form the timeline comes from existing SBM reports. From these reports you will be creating the different components of the timeline to build the specific view you need.

Primary Items

Primary items are the main items plotted on the timeline and will be listed vertically.

Ranges

Ranges are the colored bars that render horizontally across the timeline. Ranges must have a start date and an end date and optionally can have actual start and end dates so that you can visually compare the plan versus the actual.

Events

Events are single points in time represented on the timeline with icons. Like ranges events can optionally have actual dates and icons configured for comparison.

 

Overlays

Overlays have both ranges and events. The primary difference is that overlay items come from a different report than the primary items and are linked with a relational field. You can configure as many overlay items as you need. This powerful feature allows you to plot both ranges and events from different items directly on the timeline of the primary item. In the out of the box configuration we use this to plot milestones on the release train.

Child Items

In addition to overlays you can also add child items which can have their own ranges, events and even overlays. If you expand the primary items you will see all of it's child items plotted on the timeline underneath it. In the image below you see all the Release Packages for a Release Train. The range is the time since creation, the blue dots are scheduled deployments into environments and the green arrows are the actual deployments.

 

Timeline Editor

To edit the timeline you must have the remote administration system privilege. If you do, you will have an edit button on the top-right toolbar next to refresh and print. Clicking this button will open the timeline editor.

 

The first option you will see is "Choose Report" this is the report that contains your primary items. It needs to contain all the information for your ranges and events. Keep in mind that ranges can be as simple as a start and end date and are not required as you will see in part 2. Also, events can come purely from another report by using overlay events. For the out of the box configuration we have ranges and events for the major phases of the release train.

Configuring Ranges

To edit an existing range you can just choose the options on the form. To remove a range you click on the delete button on the right hand side of the range row. To add a new range you click the Add Range button which will create an empty range for you to edit. The options available are:

  • Description - This will be displayed as a tool-tip when you hover over or click on a range
  • Color - Color of the range on the timeline
  • Start Date (Plan) - This is a selection of all the date fields available in the report
  • End Date (Plan) - This is a selection of all the date fields available in the report
  • Start Date (Actual) - Optional. This is a selection of all the date fields available in the report
  • End Date (Plan) - Optional. This is a selection of all the date fields available in the report

 

Configuring Events

You edit, delete and add events the same way that you do ranges. The biggest difference is that since they are a single point in time you have just one field for each planned and actual date instead of a start and end date. To select an icon click on the "Select..." link to open the icon chooser.

 

The available options are:

  • Description - This will be displayed as a tool-tip when you hover over or click on an event
  • Planned Icon - Icon that will be displayed for the planned date
  • Planned Date - This is a selection of all the date fields available in the report
  • Actual Icon - Optional. Icon that will be displayed for the actual date
  • Actual Date - Optional. This is a selection of all the date fields available in the report

Configuring Overlays

You add an overlay with the Add Overlay Item button at the bottom of the overlays section. To delete an existing overlay use the Delete Overlay Item button in the top right corner of the overlay item. In order to have an overlay you must have a report that references the primary items with a relational field.

The required options are:

  • Choose Overlay Report - This is a report that has the range and/or event data needed and references the primary items
  • Relational Field - Selection of all fields in the report. You must choose the one that relates to the primary item

Note: Adding overlay ranges and events is the same as other ranges and events except that the description will be a selection of fields available in the report.

Configuring Child Items

You add child items with the Add Child Item button at the bottom of the child item section. To delete an existing child item use the Delete Child Item button in the top right corner of the child item. In order to have a child item you must have a report that references the primary items with a relational field.

 

The required options are:

  • Choose Child Item Report - This is a report that has the range and/or event data needed and references the primary items
  • Relational Field - Selection of all fields in the report. You must choose the one that relates to the primary item
  • Filter Description - Any text that describes the item. This will be used in a future release to filter what is shown by type.

Adding child item ranges and events is the same as for overlays. To add a child item overlay event you will need to choose a report and a relational field that relates to the child item, from there the options are the same as they are for other events.

Conclusion

The new timeline view in Release Control 6.0 offers a huge amount of flexibility on how you can visualize your release schedule. Stay tuned for part 2 where I will show how to create new timelines from scratch and add them to your existing dashboards and forms.

 

 Release Control 6.0 Timeline: Part 2

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