Windchill Fundamentals > Collaborating with Others > Networks
A network is used to organize information from various contexts throughout Windchill. Networks are available from the Network page under each context (such as Products > Network and Projects > Network).
For example, Company A manufactures farm implements such as plows, hay bailers, and mowers. To manage information about their line of harvest equipment, they have created a program called Harvest Line. From the Network table of the program, the Harvest Line program manager creates a network structure with folders representing each piece of equipment: Combine, Hay Picker, and Cotton Picker. Within each folder, the program manager creates context references to the products, libraries, and projects used to manage the development of and product information associated with each piece of equipment. Finally, the program manager links to files, websites, or specific objects throughout Windchill, such as parts and documents, related to each piece of equipment.
Each project, program, product, or library can have its own network. For example, the Combine project in the previous example could have its own network of folders, context references, and links available in its Network table.
Network Structures
The structure of a network is completely arbitrary, meaning it is up to the context manager to set up folders, context references, and links in a way that is meaningful or useful to them. The network can be reorganized at any time by moving, deleting, and adding the following:
Context references
Links to websites, Windchill objects, and other contexts
You can link to a context in a network by creating a link or by creating a context reference. Both allow the user to navigate to the context. However, when you create a context reference, you define the relationship to the context you are referencing. The Relation attribute is used to sort and group information in the Network table.
Although you can set the Relation attribute to specify child and parent contexts, this attribute does not affect the context itself. It is used only for organizational purposes within the Network table.
Users can navigate through network structures by clicking links. They can also search for objects related to a context or search the network to find information across all referenced contexts. For more information on searching a network structure, see Searching within Networks.