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Publication numberUS20080301613 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 11/757,278
Publication dateDec 4, 2008
Filing dateJun 1, 2007
Priority dateJun 1, 2007
Also published asUS8694952, US20110302549, US20130226531
Publication number11757278, 757278, US 2008/0301613 A1, US 2008/301613 A1, US 20080301613 A1, US 20080301613A1, US 2008301613 A1, US 2008301613A1, US-A1-20080301613, US-A1-2008301613, US2008/0301613A1, US2008/301613A1, US20080301613 A1, US20080301613A1, US2008301613 A1, US2008301613A1
InventorsSimon Edward Holdsworth, Darin Merle Jackson, Simon Norman Springall, Kevin Christopher Witten
Original AssigneeSimon Edward Holdsworth, Darin Merle Jackson, Simon Norman Springall, Kevin Christopher Witten
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Designing wiring harnesses
US 20080301613 A1
Abstract
A method of designing a wiring harness using a wiring harness design tool can include allowing a first user to access and edit a first wiring harness design component in a wiring harness design workspace, allowing a second user to access and edit a second wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace at least during a portion of the time that the first user is allowed to access and edit the first wiring harness design component, and displaying the first and second wiring harness design components to the first and second users during at least a portion of the time that access is allowed to the first and second users.
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Claims(54)
1. A method, comprising:
allowing a first user to access and edit a first wiring harness design component in a wiring harness design workspace;
allowing a second user to access and edit a second wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace at least during a portion of the time that the first user is allowed to access and edit the first wiring harness design component; and
displaying the first and second wiring harness design components to the first and second users during at least a portion of the time that access is allowed to the first and second users.
2. The method of claim 1, further comprising locking the first wiring harness design component against editing by the second user when the first user has access to the first wiring harness design component for editing by the first user and locking the second wiring harness design component against editing by the first user when the second user has access to the second wiring harness design component for editing by the second user.
3. The method of claim 2, further comprising displaying the wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace and visually indicating and differentiating wiring harness design components that are locked by the first user, that are locked by the second user, and that are unlocked.
4. The method of claim 2, further comprising displaying the wiring harness design components of the wiring harness design workspace and visually indicating and differentiating at least the wiring harness design components locked by the first user from other wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace.
5. The method of claim 4, wherein the act of visually indicating and differentiating comprises dimming at least one of the wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace.
6. The method of claim 5, wherein the act of visually indicating and differentiating also comprises using a different color for at least one of the wiring harness design components.
7. The method of claim 3, wherein the act of visually indicating and differentiating comprises indicating wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace that are locked by the first user by a first color, reducing the brightness of wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace locked against editing by a user other than the first user, and indicating wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace that have not been locked against editing by a second color that is different from the first color.
8. The method of claim 3, wherein the act of visually indicating and differentiating comprises indicating wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace that are locked by the first user by a first line style and indicating wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace that have not been locked against editing by a second line style that is different from the first line style.
9. The method of claim 4, wherein the act of visually indicating and differentiating comprises using a first level of contrast for first wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace and using a second level of contrast different from the first level of contrast for second wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace.
10. The method of claim 9, wherein at least the first level of contrast is adjustable by a user.
11. The method of claim 1, further comprising displaying a lock information user interface.
12. The method of claim 11, further comprising the lock information user interface providing user information corresponding to one or more locks within the wiring harness design workspace.
13. The method of claim 11, further comprising updating the lock information user interface in real-time.
14. The method of claim 11, further comprising updating the lock information user interface on a periodic basis.
15. The method of claim 11, further comprising updating the lock information user interface in response to at least one change made within the wiring harness design workspace.
16. The method of claim 2, wherein the first wiring harness design component comprises a wiring harness.
17. The method of claim 16, wherein locking the first wiring harness design component comprises placing a wiring harness lock on the wiring harness.
18. The method of claim 2, wherein the first wiring harness design component comprises a slot.
19. The method of claim 18, wherein locking the first wiring harness design component comprises placing a slot lock on the slot.
20. The method of claim 1, further comprising allowing the first user to store changes made to the first wiring harness design component.
21. The method of claim 20, further comprising allowing the second user to store changes to the second wiring harness design component.
22. The method of claim 20, further comprising performing a refresh to display to at least the second user the first and second wiring harness design components comprising at least the changes made to the first wiring harness design component.
23. The method of claim 22, wherein the refresh is performed in response to a refresh request by at least one of the first and second users.
24. The method of claim 1, further comprising allowing the first user to create and save a third wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace.
25. The method of claim 24, further comprising notifying the second user of the third wiring harness design component being created in the wiring harness design workspace.
26. The method of claim 25, wherein the notifying the second user is performed automatically in response to the first user saving the third wiring harness design component.
27. The method of claim 24, further comprising performing a refresh to display to at least the second user the third wiring harness design component.
28. The method of claim 24, further comprising allowing the first user to merge the first wiring harness design component into the third wiring harness design component.
29. The method of claim 28, further comprising deleting the first wiring harness design component after merging the first wiring harness design component into the third wiring harness design component.
30. The method of claim 29, wherein deleting the first wiring harness design component comprises automatically deleting the first wiring harness design component in response to the first user saving changes made in the wiring harness design workspace.
31. The method of claim 28, further comprising notifying the second user of the first and third wiring harness design components being merged together.
32. The method of claim 1, further comprising allowing the first user to delete the first wiring harness design component.
33. The method of claim 32, further comprising notifying the second user of the first wiring harness design component being deleted.
34. The method of claim 1, further comprising allowing a user to set a user access right corresponding to a wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace.
35. The method of claim 34, further comprising precluding users from editing the wiring harness design component based at least in part on the user access right.
36. One or more tangible computer readable media comprising computer executable instructions which, when executed by a processor, perform the method according to claim 1.
37. A computer program product comprising a wiring harness design tool, the wiring harness design tool comprising:
a wiring harness design workspace in which a first wiring harness design component and a second wiring harness design component can be implemented;
a wiring harness design locking module operable to allow a first user to place a lock on at least the first wiring harness design component; and
a visual notification displayed in a user interface notifying a second user of the lock placed on at least the first wiring harness design component by the first user.
38. The wiring harness design tool of claim 37, wherein the lock comprises a wiring harness design workspace lock.
39. The wiring harness design tool of claim 37, wherein a slot can be implemented within the wiring harness design workspace.
40. The wiring harness design tool of claim 39, further comprising a wiring harness slot design locking module operable to allow a user to place a slot lock on the slot.
41. The wiring harness design tool of claim 37, further comprising a refresh module operable to provide a refresh of the wiring harness design workspace.
42. The wiring harness design tool of claim 37, further comprising a dimming feature that can allow a user to adjust the visual notification.
43. The wiring harness design tool of claim 37, further comprising a tracking module operable to track changes made within the wiring harness design workspace.
44. The wiring harness design tool of claim 43, wherein the tracking module is also operable to record information regarding the changes within the wiring harness design workspace in a log.
45. A computer implemented display, comprising:
a wiring harness design workspace;
a first visual indicator corresponding to a first wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace, wherein the first wiring harness design component is editable by a first user but locked against editing to a second user; and
a second visual indicator corresponding to a second wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace, wherein the second wiring harness design component is editable by the second user but locked against editing to the first user.
46. The computer implemented display of claim 45, wherein the first visual indicator comprises a first color and the second visual indicator comprises a second color that is different than the first color.
47. The computer implemented display of claim 45, further comprising a locking tool which, in response to a user request, can place a lock on at least one wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace.
48. The computer implemented display of claim 45, further comprising a locking user information interface that can display user identification information corresponding to at least one locked wiring harness design component.
49. A method, comprising:
allowing a first user to access and edit a first wiring harness design component in a wiring harness design workspace;
allowing a second user to access and edit a second wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace at least during a portion of the time that the first user is allowed to access and edit the first wiring harness design component; and
allowing the first user to perform a synthesis function on the wiring harness design workspace.
50. The method of claim 49, wherein allowing the first user to perform a synthesis function on the wiring harness design workspace comprises allowing the first user to perform a synthesis function on a wiring harness design within the wiring harness design workspace.
51. The method of claim 49, further comprising providing to the first user a report of the synthesis function performed on the wiring harness design workspace.
52. The method of claim 50, wherein providing to the first user a report comprises providing an indication of an inconsistency within the wiring harness design workspace.
53. The method of claim 52, wherein the inconsistency within the wiring harness design workspace comprises a potential disconnect between a first signal and a second signal within a wiring harness design in the wiring harness design workspace.
54. One or more tangible computer readable media comprising computer executable instructions which, when executed by a processor, perform the method according to claim 49.
Description
    FIELD
  • [0001]
    The disclosed technology relates to designing wiring harnesses including, but not limited to, electronic wiring harness design tools and methods of designing wiring harnesses.
  • BACKGROUND
  • [0002]
    Connectivity between electrical and electromechanical components (e.g., circuit packages, fuse panels, and circuit boards) can be accomplished by way of a wiring harness. A wiring harness generally refers to a collection (e.g., bundle) of one or more wires coupled together. One example of a wiring harness is a bundle of separately insulated wires that couple an automobile dashboard with the control electronics for the automobile's engine. Another example is a bundle of wires that couple an airplane cockpit to the wing assembly, engines, tail assembly, and landing gear.
  • [0003]
    Wiring harness diagrams can reduce a potentially complicated collection of wires to a readable map of components and connections. Wiring harnesses can be represented using wiring harness diagrams, which can include many physical details of the wires, couplings, and components of a particular wiring harness. Software tools, such as the CapitalŪ Harness Systems™ (CHS) product suite by Mentor Graphics Corporation, allow a user to design, analyze, engineer, and produce wiring harnesses for various types of electrical interconnect systems.
  • [0004]
    Previous wiring harness design tools known to the inventors, however, have been limited in various aspects. For example, a user login would only allow one designer at a time to work on (e.g., edit) his or her wiring harness design(s), effectively locking out other users from working on their own wiring harness designs. If another designer wanted to edit his or her wiring harness design(s), he or she would need to wait until the first user logged out and then login separately in a different session.
  • [0005]
    Also, previous systems provided access to a designer on a workspace basis, as opposed to a wiring harness design basis. Since a workspace often has multiple harness designs each assigned to different users, this arrangement meant that users may have had access to one or more wiring harness designs that were not meant to be made available to them for editing.
  • [0006]
    Thus, there exists a need for improved electronic wiring harness design tools and methods.
  • SUMMARY
  • [0007]
    A wiring harness can be designed using a wiring harness design tool. In accordance with one aspect, the wiring harness design tool can allow a first user to access and edit a first wiring harness design component in a wiring harness design workspace, allow a second user to access and edit a second wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace at least during a portion of the time that the first user is allowed to access and edit the first wiring harness design component, and display the first and second wiring harness design components to the first and second users during at least a portion of the time that access is allowed to the first and second users.
  • [0008]
    In some embodiments, a first wiring harness design component can be locked against editing by a second user when a first user has access to the first wiring harness design component for editing by the first user, and a second wiring harness design component can be locked against editing by the first user when the second user has access to the second wiring harness design component for editing by the second user.
  • [0009]
    In some embodiments, a wiring harness design tool can display wiring harness design components in a wiring harness design workspace and visually indicate and differentiate wiring harness design components that are locked by a first user, that are locked by a second user, and that are unlocked.
  • [0010]
    In some embodiments, a computer implemented display can display a wiring harness design workspace, a first visual indicator corresponding to a first wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace, wherein the first wiring harness design component is editable by a first user but locked against editing to a second user, and a second visual indicator corresponding to a second wiring harness design component in the wiring harness design workspace, wherein the second wiring harness design component is editable by the second user but locked against editing to the first user.
  • [0011]
    In some embodiments, a wiring harness design tool can also track information regarding changes made within a wiring harness design workspace (e.g., placement and/or removal of locks and creation, modification, and/or deletion of wiring harness design components). This information can be stored in a log, for example.
  • [0012]
    The foregoing and other features and aspects of the disclosed technology will become more apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying figures.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
  • [0013]
    FIG. 1 shows a general method of designing wiring harnesses using an electronic wiring harness design tool in multi-user mode.
  • [0014]
    FIG. 2 shows another general method of designing wiring harnesses using an electronic wiring harness design tool in multi-user mode.
  • [0015]
    FIG. 3 shows an exemplary wiring harness design workspace as viewed by a first user, in which all of the wiring harness designs are fully accessible (e.g., visible and modifiable or editable) to the first user.
  • [0016]
    FIG. 4 shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by the first user, in which the first user can now see exemplary harness locks that have been implemented by another user or users on some of the wiring harness designs in the wiring harness design workspace.
  • [0017]
    FIG. 5 shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by a second user who is locked out of all of the wiring harness designs.
  • [0018]
    FIG. 6 shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by a third user who is locked out of some of the wiring harness designs but has access to one of the wiring harness designs.
  • [0019]
    FIG. 7 shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by the first user again, but now the first user can tell that a harness lock on one wiring harness design was implemented by one user and that the harness locks on the other wiring harness designs were implemented by another user.
  • [0020]
    FIG. 8 shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by the first user, who has now added a slot to the wiring harness design workspace as well as a wire connecting to the slot to a wiring harness design within the wiring harness design workspace.
  • [0021]
    FIG. 9 shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by the third user, who has now added a slot to the wiring harness design workspace as well as a wire connecting to the slot to a wiring harness design within the wiring harness design workspace.
  • [0022]
    FIG. 10 again shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by the third user, but now the view has been refreshed such that the third user is able to view the slot and wire added by the first user.
  • [0023]
    FIG. 11 shows the wiring harness design workspace of FIG. 3 as viewed by the first user. FIG. 11 does not show the slot or wire added by the third user.
  • [0024]
    FIG. 12 is a block diagram of an exemplary computer network that can be used with the disclosed technology.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION
  • [0025]
    Disclosed below are representative embodiments of methods, apparatus, and systems for designing wiring harnesses that should not be construed as limiting in any way. Instead, the present disclosure is directed toward all novel and nonobvious features and aspects of the various disclosed methods and systems, alone and in combination with one another. The disclosed technology is not limited to any specific aspect or feature, or combination thereof, nor do the disclosed methods and systems require that any one or more specific advantages be present or problems be solved.
  • [0026]
    Although the operations of some of the disclosed methods are described in a particular, sequential order for convenient presentation, it should be understood that this manner of description encompasses rearrangement, unless a particular ordering is required by specific language set forth below. For example, operations described sequentially can be rearranged or performed concurrently. Moreover, for the sake of simplicity, the attached figures may not show the various ways in which the disclosed methods, apparatus, and systems can be used in conjunction with other methods, apparatus, and systems. Additionally, the description sometimes uses terms like “determine,” “analyze” and “identify” to describe the disclosed technology. These terms are high-level abstractions of the actual operations that are performed. The actual operations that correspond to these terms may vary depending on the particular implementation and are readily discernible by one of ordinary skill in the art.
  • [0027]
    As used in this application and in the claims, the singular forms “a,” “can” and “the” include the plural forms unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Additionally, the term “includes” means “comprises.” Further, the term “coupled” means electrically connected or linked and does not exclude the presence of intermediate elements between the coupled items. The phrase “and/or” can mean and, or, or both.
  • Exemplary Definitions
  • [0028]
    For purposes of this specification, a wiring harness refers to a bundle of wires that may include other components (e.g., connectors, splices, and multicores), wherein at least some of the wires terminate in at least one component such as a connector. A wire can be a standard conductor (e.g., copper) or any other type of applicable conductor (e.g., optical).
  • [0029]
    For purposes of this specification, an electronic wiring harness design tool refers to a software tool or suite that provides a user with the ability to create, modify, and/or save at least one wiring harness design. As described elsewhere within this specification, the software tool or suite can be implemented in one or more tangible computer readable media and/or as a computer program product.
  • [0030]
    For purposes of this specification, a wiring harness design workspace refers to a partial or complete view (e.g., a topology) of the wiring harness makeup of an entity (e.g., a vehicle). One or more topologies can be implemented within a single wiring harness design workspace.
  • [0031]
    For purposes of this specification, a slot refers to a representation of a physical space or component intended to receive at least one electrical component (e.g., an electrical device or a wire). For example, a slot in an automobile wiring harness design workspace can refer to a battery intended to receive certain power-related wires (e.g., by way of a connector). A single-harness slot refers to a slot intended to attach to a single harness using one or more connectors, for example. A multi-harness slot refers to a slot that can attach to more than one harness.
  • [0032]
    For purposes of this specification, a wiring harness design component refers to an editable component within a wiring harness design, such as a wiring harness or a slot.
  • [0033]
    Placing a lock on an item refers to an action carried out with respect to a wiring harness diagram workspace or one or more wiring harness design components within the wiring harness design workspace (e.g., a wiring harness) such that the lock prevents certain users from performing certain actions (e.g., viewing or editing) with respect to the item or items being locked.
  • [0034]
    A plane lock refers to a lock on a complete plane (e.g., a wiring harness design workspace or one or more topologies) such that certain users are prevented from editing any part of the plane while the lock is in effect. In some embodiments, a plane lock can also prevent the locked-out users from even viewing at least or portion or all of the wiring harness design workspace.
  • [0035]
    A harness lock refers to a lock on a wiring harness. For example, when a user is working on (e.g., viewing, analyzing, or editing) a particular wiring harness, he or she can implement a harness lock to prevent other users from modifying the wiring harness while he or she is working on it.
  • [0036]
    A slot lock refers to a lock on a particular slot. For example, when a user is working on (e.g., viewing, analyzing, or editing) a particular slot, he or she can implement a slot lock to prevent other users from modifying the slot while he or she is working on it. For example, a user may want to preclude other users from modifying a particular slot while the user is working on a wiring harness design that connects to the particular slot.
  • Exemplary Systems and Methods for Designing Wiring Harnesses
  • [0037]
    FIG. 1 shows a general method 100 of designing wiring harnesses using an electronic wiring harness design tool. The wiring harness tool has two or more modes of operation. For example, the tool has a single-user mode, in which only one user can work within a certain wiring harness design workspace at a time, and it also has a multi-user (e.g., concurrent) mode, in which more than one user can work within the same wiring harness design workspace. Two or more users can each edit one or more wiring harness designs within the same wiring harness design workspace at least partially simultaneously and also lock a wiring harness design against editing by the other user.
  • [0038]
    In some embodiments, user access rights (e.g., privileges) that determine which users can access which wiring harness design components within the wiring harness design workspace can be set (e.g., by an administrator). These rights can be used to preclude certain users from being able to access (e.g., edit) certain wiring harness design components.
  • [0039]
    At 102, a user (e.g., a wiring harness designer) opens a wiring harness design workspace in multi-user mode. The user can create a new wiring harness design workspace or open a previously-created wiring harness design workspace. In some embodiments, the user can open multiple wiring harness design workspaces within the same session.
  • [0040]
    At 104, the user works on one or more wiring harness designs within the wiring harness design workspace. This can include creating new wiring harness designs and/or viewing, analyzing, editing, and/or saving previously-created wiring harness designs.
  • [0041]
    At 106, the user closes the wiring harness design workspace. For example, the user can save his or her work and then close the application or merely log off so that another user can login at that terminal.
  • [0042]
    FIG. 2 shows another general method 200 of designing wiring harnesses using an electronic wiring harness design tool.
  • [0043]
    At 202, a first user (e.g., a wiring harness designer) opens a wiring harness design workspace in multi-user mode, which step can include the first user creating a new wiring harness design workspace or opening a previously-created wiring harness design workspace.
  • [0044]
    At 204, the first user works on one or more wiring harness designs within the wiring harness design workspace, which step can include the first user creating new wiring harness designs and/or viewing, analyzing, editing, and/or saving previously-created wiring harness designs.
  • [0045]
    At 206, a second user (e.g., another wiring harness designer) logs in to the same wiring harness design workspace opened by the first user. While working in multi-user (e.g., concurrent) mode, each user generally has the same view of the logical design data at least until changes are made by one or more users.
  • [0046]
    The first user can lock a first wiring harness design component against editing by the second user when the first user has access to the first wiring harness design component for editing by the first user. Also, the second user can lock a second wiring harness design component against editing by the first user when the second user has access to the second wiring harness design component for editing by the second user.
  • [0047]
    Locks can be placed on wiring harness design components manually and/or automatically in various embodiments. For example, a lock can be automatically placed on one or more wiring harness design components when a user switches to a certain mode (e.g., edit mode). A lock can also, for example, be automatically placed on one or more wiring harness design components when a second user logs into a wiring harness design workspace being edited by a first user. In some embodiments, a user can define rules used in determining whether a lock is to be placed on a wiring harness design component.
  • [0048]
    The wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace can be displayed, and wiring harness design components that are locked by the first user, that are locked by the second user, and that are unlocked can be visually indicated and differentiated by, for example, using a different color for at least one of the wiring harness design components or using a first level of contrast for first wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace and using a second level of contrast different from (e.g., dimmer than) the first level of contrast for second wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace.
  • [0049]
    In some embodiments, wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace that are locked by the first user, by another user, and/or unlocked wiring harness design components can be visually distinguished in a display. For example, such locked wiring harness design components can be indicated in a first color, the brightness of wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace locked against editing by a user other than the first user can be reduced, and wiring harness design components in the wiring harness design workspace that have not been locked against editing can be indicated by a second color that is different from the first color.
  • [0050]
    At 208, the second user works on one or more wiring harness designs within the wiring harness design workspace, which step can include the second user creating new wiring harness designs and/or editing previously-created wiring harness designs. This step can occur at least partially simultaneously with step 204.
  • [0051]
    At 210, one or both of the two users can refresh their view of the wiring harness design workspace, which step can include revealing to the refreshing user(s) what if any changes the other user(s) made to any wiring harness designs. For example, when another user creates a new wiring harness design, the wiring harness design tool can be configured such that the new wiring harness design are not to be displayed to the user until a refresh occurs. In some embodiments, this refreshing step is performed automatically by the wiring harness design tool.
  • [0052]
    The wiring harness design tool can also perform a refresh operation in response to a user making a particular change within the wiring harness design workspace. The change may or may not impact the other user work sessions. For example, the tool can perform a refresh operation for the first user if the second user makes a change to a wiring harness, slot, and/or connector that may impact one or more wiring harness designs being worked on by the first user. This is advantageous because it provides a user with the ability to adapt his or her wiring harness design(s) in response to a change elsewhere in the wiring harness design workspace by another user.
  • [0053]
    The refreshing step 210 can also be performed in response to a user initiated request. For example, a user can perform a refresh request (e.g., click on a refresh button) to see if there are any changes within the wiring harness design workspace that my impact the work he or she is presently doing. This is advantageous because it provides a user with the ability to confirm that his or her wiring harness design(s) will comport with at least the rest of the wiring harness design workspace that couples with his or her design(s).
  • [0054]
    FIGS. 3 through 11 show an exemplary multi-user case scenario in which three users (e.g., wiring harness designers) each login to the same wiring harness design workspace 300. Each user session may or may not overlap in time with one or more of the other user sessions.
  • [0055]
    FIG. 3 shows an exemplary wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by a first user. In the example, the wiring harness design workspace (e.g., vehicle topology) is an automobile topology having multiple wiring harness designs 302-308. All of the wiring harness designs 302-308 in FIG. 3 are fully accessible (e.g., modifiable) to the first user.
  • [0056]
    FIG. 4 shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by the first user. In FIG. 4, the first user can see exemplary harness locks that have been implemented by another user or users on some of the wiring harness designs 304-308 in the wiring harness design workspace 300, as represented by the dashed lines.
  • [0057]
    For purposes of clarity and simplicity, the harness locks in the example are represented by dashed lines but can be represented in various other ways. For example, harness locks can be represented by the displayed wiring harness designs having a different dimness (e.g., grayscale), color, and or line style than the non-locked wiring harness designs.
  • [0058]
    Additionally, a user can be provided with the ability to change the representation of a lock such as a harness lock. For example, a user can be provided a user interface tool (e.g., a sliding scale) corresponding to a harness lock such that the user can adjust the dimness of the displayed harness having the lock. The dimness range can include a total dimness level such that the locked harness is not visible at all to the user.
  • [0059]
    The use of locks can provide a user with a variety of certain advantageous actions that can now be performed within a wiring harness design workspace. For example, merge harness functionality generally requires that all harness to be merged together are locked by the user seeking to perform the merge. When a first wiring harness design component (e.g., a wiring harness) is merged into a second wiring harness design component, the first wiring harness design component can be deleted (e.g., automatically in response to a user saving changes in the wiring harness design workspace). In general, deletion of wiring harness designs can require that they be locked prior to deletion to ensure that such deletion will not impact any other users working within the wiring harness design workspace at the same time.
  • [0060]
    In FIG. 4, the locked wiring harness designs 304-308 can each be viewed by the first user but not modified. The non-locked wiring harness design 302, however, can be edited by the first user. For example, the first user can change the layout, wires, signals, signal routes, and/or connections with respect to the non-locked wiring harness design 302.
  • [0061]
    FIG. 5 shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by a second user who is locked out of all of the wiring harness designs 302-308. In this example, the second user can view all of the wiring harness designs 302-308 but he or she is prevented from modifying or editing any of the wiring harness designs 302-308. Unless a plane lock has been implemented, however, the second user can be allowed to create new wiring harness designs within the wiring harness design workspace 300.
  • [0062]
    FIG. 6 shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by a third user who is locked out of some of the wiring harness designs 302, 306, and 308, but has access to one of the wiring harness designs 304. In this example, the third user can view all of the locked wiring harness designs 302, 306, and 308 but he or she is prevented from modifying or editing any of the wiring harness designs 302, 306, and 308. The third user is allowed, however, to modify the non-locked wiring harness design 304. The third user can also be allowed to create new wiring harness designs within the wiring harness design workspace 300.
  • [0063]
    In FIG. 6, the harness lock on one wiring harness design 302 is represented by a dashed pattern that is different than that used to represent the harness locks on the other wiring harness designs 306 and 308. In the example, this is done by the tool to illustrate that the harness lock on wiring harness design 302 was implemented by the first user and that the harness locks on the wiring harness designs 306 and 308 were implemented by the second user.
  • [0064]
    Locks (e.g., harness locks and plane locks) can be indicated to a user by a user interface. For example, the wiring harness design tool can have a user interface that displays one or more fields with information regarding the locks. In some embodiments, a table is displayed showing which wiring harness designs are locked and by which user. The user(s) implementing a harness lock can indicate what, if any, information pertaining to the lock is to be presented to other users.
  • [0065]
    FIG. 7 shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by the first user again, but now the first user can tell that a harness lock on one wiring harness design 304 was implemented by one user and that the harness locks on the wiring harness designs 306 and 308 were implemented by another user because the harness lock on wiring harness design 304 is represented by a dashed pattern that is different than that used to represent the harness locks on the other wiring harness designs 306 and 308.
  • [0066]
    FIG. 8 shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by the first user, who has now added a slot 310 (e.g., a winch slot) to the wiring harness design workspace 300. The user has also added a wire bundle 312 to the wiring harness design 302 that can connect to the new slot 310.
  • [0067]
    FIG. 9 shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by the third user, who has now added a slot 314 (e.g., a DVD player slot) to the wiring harness design workspace 300. The user has also added a wire bundle 316 to the wiring harness design 304 that can connect to the new slot 314. FIG. 9 does not show the slot 310 or wire bundle 312 added by the first user because the third user's view has not yet been refreshed.
  • [0068]
    FIG. 10 again shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by the third user, but now the view has been refreshed such that the third user is able to view the slot 310 and wire bundle 312 added by the first user. The wire bundle 312 added by the first user is locked, as represented by the dashed line, which means that the third user is prevented from modifying the wire bundle 312. The slot 310 added by the first user, however, appears to be modifiable by the third user as it is not represented differently in the example (e.g., as represented by a dashed line) than the wiring harness design 304 over which the third user has complete control.
  • [0069]
    FIG. 11 shows the wiring harness design workspace 300 as viewed by the first user. FIG. 11 does not show the slot 314 or wire bundle 316 added by the third user because the first user's view has not yet been refreshed.
  • [0070]
    As can be seen from the foregoing and following examples, embodiments of the systems and methods described herein can allow one or more users to more easily, efficiently, and securely view, create, modify, and/or save one or more wiring harness designs within a given wiring harness design workspace. For example, a tracking functionality can provide an ability to track information pertaining to what locks were implemented and/or removed as well as what users made what changes within a given wiring harness design workspace over a period of time.
  • Exemplary User Case Scenario
  • [0071]
    In an exemplary user case scenario, a first user (User1) working within a wiring harness design workspace can create a first slot (Slot1) and a first wiring harness design (Harness1) having two virtual connectors (VConnector1.1 and VConnector1.2) terminating at Slot1. User1 can implement a slot lock on Slot1 and a harness lock on Harness1 while working on them, thereby preventing other users from editing Slot1 and Harness1 for as long as the locks are implemented. Slot1 and Harness1 can be visible to other users, however, such that the other users can monitor what changes are being made by User1. When User1 finishes his or her work, he or she can release the locks, thereby allowing other users to modify Slot1 and/or Harness1.
  • [0072]
    A second user (User2) can log into the wiring harness design workspace and implement a slot lock on Slot1. User2 can create a second wiring harness design (Harness2) having a virtual connector (VConnector2.1) that terminates at Slot1. User1 can be informed of the locks by User2 through the user interface. Once User2 finishes his or her work, he or she can release the locks on Harness2 and Slot1.
  • [0073]
    A third user (User3) can log into the wiring harness design workspace and implement a slot lock on Slot1. The third user can create a third wiring harness design (Harness3) having a virtual connector (VConnector3.1) that terminates at Slot1. The third user can also create another slot (Slot3) and connect Harness3 to Slot3, creating VConnector3.3. Once User3 finishes his or her work within the wiring design workspace, he or she can release the locks.
  • [0074]
    User2 can place locks on Slot1 and Harness2. The second user can place a first device (Device2) in Slot1, and its pins can be mapped to new cavities within VConnector2.1. User2 can release the locks when finished.
  • [0075]
    User1 can place locks on Slot1 and Harness1 and place a device (Device1) in Slot1. The pins of Device1 can be mapped to new cavities in VConnector1.1. User1 can release the locks when finished.
  • [0076]
    User3 can place a slot lock on Slot1 but no harness locks on a harness. User3 can place Device3 in Slot1. A new virtual connector (VConnectorX.1) can be created and the pins of Device3 can be mapped to new cavities on VConnectorX.1. User3 can release the locks when finished.
  • [0077]
    User2 can place locks on Slot1 and Harness2. User2 can invoke a signal mapping functionality and reorder cavities in VConnector2.1. User2 can copy a pin on Device1 (e.g., to create an additional mapping for that signal) and map it to a cavity on VConnector2.1. Once finished, User2 can release the locks.
  • [0078]
    User3 can place a slot lock on Slot1 but no harness locks on a harness. User3 can invoke the signal mapping functionality but not signal mapping itself because no virtual connectors are available since no harnesses have been locked. User3 can release the lock on Slot1.
  • [0079]
    User1 can place locks on Slot1 and Harness1. User1 can invoke the signal mapping functionality and swap the mappings of the Device 1 pins between the cavities of VConnector1.1 and VConnector1.2. Once finished, User1 can release the locks.
  • [0080]
    User2 can place locks on Slot1, Harness1, and Harness2. User2 can invoke the signal mapping functionality and swap the mappings of the Device1 and Device2 pins between cavities of VConnector1.1, VConnector1.2, and VConnector2.1. Once finished, User2 can release the locks.
  • Exemplary Computer Networks
  • [0081]
    The disclosed embodiments can be implemented in a wide variety of environments, such as in a computer program product. For example, any of the disclosed techniques can be implemented in software comprising computer-executable instructions stored on computer-readable media (e.g., one or more CDs, volatile memory components (e.g., DRAM or SRAM), or nonvolatile memory components (e.g., hard drives)). This particular software implementation should not be construed as limiting in any way, however, as the principles disclosed herein are generally applicable to other software tools.
  • [0082]
    Such software can be executed on a single computer or on a networked computer (e.g., via the Internet, a wide-area network, a local-area network, a client-server network, or other such network). For clarity, only certain selected aspects of the software-based implementations are described. Other details that are well known in the art are omitted. For example, it should be understood that the disclosed technology is not limited to any specific computer language, program, or computer. For the same reason, computer hardware is not described in further detail. For example, the disclosed embodiments can be implemented using a wide variety of commercially available computer systems and/or testing systems. Any of the disclosed methods can alternatively be implemented partially or completely in hardware (e.g., an ASIC or a PLD).
  • [0083]
    Further, wiring harness designs produced from any of the disclosed methods can be created, updated, or stored on computer-readable media (e.g., one or more CDs, volatile memory components (such as DRAM or SRAM), or nonvolatile memory components (such as hard drives)) using a variety of different data structures or formats.
  • [0084]
    Any of the aspects of the technologies described above can be performed using a distributed computer network. FIG. 12 shows one such exemplary network. A server computer 1200 can have an associated storage device 1202 (internal or external to the server computer). For example, the server computer 1200 can be configured to display wiring harness design information according to any of the disclosed embodiments. The server computer 1200 can be coupled to a network, shown generally at 1204, which can comprise, for example, a wide-area network, a local-area network, a client-server network, the Internet, or other such network. One or more client computers, such as those shown at 1206 and 1208, can be coupled to the network 1204 using a network protocol.
  • [0085]
    Having shown and described the principles of the illustrated embodiments, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that the embodiments can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles. In view of the many possible embodiments, it will be recognized that the illustrated embodiments include only examples and should not be taken as a limitation on the scope of the invention. Rather, the invention is defined by the following claims. We therefore claim as the invention all such embodiments that come within the scope of these claims.
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Classifications
U.S. Classification716/119, 703/13
International ClassificationG06F17/50
Cooperative ClassificationG06F17/50, G06F17/5095, G06F2217/36, Y02T10/82
European ClassificationG06F17/50V
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Jul 9, 2007ASAssignment
Owner name: MENTOR GRAPHICS CORPORATION, OREGON
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:HOLDSWORTH, SIMON EDWARD;JACKSON, DARIN MERLE;SPRINGALL,SIMON NORMAN;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:019530/0430;SIGNING DATES FROM 20070606 TO 20070611