For those of you who attended the last vCampus Live! in November, you may have overheard or even participated in conversations with us on the work that we've been doing with rich data access (RDA) and the PI AF SDK. For the benefit of those who do not know what this is, in a nutshell, we have been busy enhancing the AF SDK so that it would allow you to directly access PI Server data directly in AF Attributes using the AF SDK. Some of you may have been developing .NET-based multi-threaded applications using a combination of the AF SDK and the PI SDK in order to access PI AF and PI Server data respectively. In this case, you may have run into STA/MTA threading issues, as well as performance issues with COM Interop. The AF SDK with RDA functions will allow you to use a single .NET 4 based SDK to access data from the PI System, i.e. PI AF objects and PI Server data, thereby avoiding those issues. In addition, the AF SDK with RDA functions may provide performance improvements depending on the architecture and implementation of your application.
The PI AF Client 2012 CTP setup kit is now available in the vCampus Download Center. This kit consists of two versions of the AF SDK; a .NET 3.5 version that retains backwards compatibility with your existing applications and a .NET 4 version that implements RDA, and includes PI System Explorer and PI AF Builder. Along with the PI AF Client setup kit, there is also an updated PI AF Developer Tools setup kit and a README that describes the improvements and changes. We will continue to ship both the .NET 3.5 and .NET 4 versions of the AF SDK so if you do not have the need for the new RDA functions, you do not have to do anything and your applications will continue to work. If you wish to use the new RDA functions, you will need to implement the methods provided to you in the two new namespaces that have been added to the AF SDK: OSIsoft.AF.Data and OSIsoft.AF.PI.
Of course the PI SDK continues to be fully supported. It’s important to note that if your application is based on the PI SDK and you are not using the AF SDK or if you have no need for the RDA functions in the AF SDK, then you do not have to do anything. Rest assured that your applications will continue to work and be supported going forward.
This CTP is just that, a preview, so it is not intended nor recommended to be used in a production environment. There are some features and functions that are not yet finalized at this time and much refinement is to be done in many areas. This SDK is evolving and will continue to do so over the next few releases. The initial release will happen later this year along with PI DataLink. Keep your eyes on the PI System Roadmap for updates. It is worthwhile to remind everyone that this is one element of our PI Data Access product suite and as such its usage is governed similarly, i.e. vCampus license for Development use and PSA license for Runtime use.
I urge you to spend some time evaluating this CTP. In addition to any bug reports, we are extremely interested in any performance comparisons of the RDA functions in your applications that you are willing to share. You may of course post to the vCampus forums or you can send them to us via email. Any data you send directly to us will be kept strictly confidential. Please use the BetaAF@osisoft.com mailbox to report back any comments, questions or problems that you may have with this CTP. The BetaAF mailbox is monitored by myself, the PI AF product specialists and the PI AF development team. Please do not contact our regular Tech Support as they are not prepared to answer your questions regarding this CTP. Lastly, keep your eyes out for an upcoming vCampus webinar on this CTP later this month.
And oh, one more thing, check out the enhancement to AF Tables
Steve Kwan, PI AF Product Manager