Working areas in AlphaSimple

One thing that may be confusing for someone trying AlphaSimple for the first time is the fact that for any given project (for non-guest users), there is always two working areas: a test area, and a published area:

  • the test area is rebuilt from scratch every time you save your project. When you hit the “Test” button, the prototype you are running is generated based on the test model area. It reflects your latest changes (at the time you hit Test). The URL for the prototype based off of the test area has a “run” segment (<id>).
  • the published area is only refreshed when you hit Publish. In order to run the prototype off of the published area, you hit “View Published”. Any changes you make to your model will *not* affect the published model/prototype. The URL for the prototype based off of the published area has a “published” segment (<id>).

Imagine the published area as a snapshot of your work that you would want others (business analysts, customers, other modelers) to see, while the test area is what you use for your own testing on an ongoing basis as you develop your model. Guest (non-registered) users just quickly trying AlphaSimple anonymously have only the test area.

Shared projects

A mostly orthogonal concept is shared projects. A project that is shared appears in the Shared Projects page in AlphaSimple, and anyone can run the prototype, browse your model (including a graphical view), and even copy your project and make it their own. Any registered user can share their projects. In fact, there is currently a limit of 3 non-shared projects. As you can guess, we want to encourage users to share their models.

You may be asking: “what is the relationship between shared projects and working areas?”. It is simple: what you see when looking at a shared project is the published state of that project. So for a shared project of yours, if you want to affect what is seen on the shared projects page, you need to publish your model (in addition to sharing the project). Actually, there is a bug in that if you don’t ever publish a shared project, trying to run or view it from the Shared Projects page will fail (we should be automatically publishing the model when a project is first shared, or hide shared projects until they are effectively published).

Does all this make sense? Let us know if it doesn’t, either by commenting here or by starting a thread on the community forum.

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