As vCampus Live 2013 kicks off this week, we're excited to announce the impending arrival of a new family of OSIsoft products: the PI System Web API.
The PI System Web API is a family of RESTful service products that enable resource-oriented access to the PI System. We've heard your calls for a web-based data access layer that's suitable for meeting a wide range of technical needs. Some of the key scenarios we're keeping in mind:
- Mobile - one of the shortcomings of SOAP services is poor support on mobile platforms. Previously, development of compelling mobile applications that used PI System data required that the mobile application developer write services of his own. Our hope is that as the PI System Web API matures, there will be few cases where custom services are necessary.
- Cross-Platform - OSIsoft is positioning the PI System Web API as the premier development platform for retrieving and manipulating your PI data in non-Windows environments. HTTP and REST are fundamentally cross-platform protocols.
- Cross-Business - Along with the announcement of the PI System Web API, we're also announcing the CTP of a product called PI Cloud Access. PI Cloud Access is designed to allow secure access to HTTP-based services that you host and maintain on your premises. With the combination of PI Cloud Access and the PI System Web API, you can effectively enable development of cross-business data sharing, controlled by the existing security infrastructure in your PI System.
- System Integration - As support for REST services has grown in middleware products like Enterprise Services Buses, REST services have become suitable components for application integration scenarios, where PI data is needed in Line of Business systems or other third party applications
- Cloud - As OSIsoft adds cloud-based offerings, the PI System Web API will be well suited as a development platform that provides seamless access to your PI data regardless of where it's located-- on premises, or in the cloud.
We are exploring different ways to expose PI System Data via REST and OData. The following PI System Web API products are currently in development:
- PI System Web API Core Services
- PI OData Service
- PI Search Service
PI System Web API Core Services presently provides basic functionality needed to retrieve and manipulate Time Series, Asset, and Event Frame data. A Community Technical Preview (CTP) is available for immediate download on vCampus (Pre-Release category), and various events at vCampus Live! this week, including the Hackathon, will include hands on time with the services. We're not sure that this will end up being the final name of the product, so stay tuned on that front. More information about the Core Services is available in Brad Hess's series of posts, beginning with Getting started with PI System Web API Core Services.
The PI OData Service provides access to the PI System using the OData model and protocol, which provides SQL like queries through a standard REST API. One primary use case for OData is integration with commercial off the shelf BI and database tools that have an OData connector such as Tableau, QlikView, Tibco Spotfire, and many others. Many of you have expressed interest in implementing your own custom web applications using OData and the PI OData Service will obviously fit nicely into those types of systems. A Community Technical Preview (CTP) is forthcoming and we have a hands-on lab at vCampus Live that features the PI OData Service.
The PI Search Service gathers configuration information from across the PI System to enable rapid querying and auto-complete. The service consists of a crawler, to collect information from across your PI System, and REST interfaces, to facilitate building query capabilities into your applications. OSIsoft's own product development roadmap includes adding Search support to PI Coresight. At this time it's too early to tell when a CTP of the Search Service will be made available for download; however, vCampus Live! Hackathon participants will have the ability to use a restricted pre-release version of the product in their Hackathon application.
Concurrent with the release of these technical previews, we're also reminting the former "Web Services and PI" vCampus forum and blog, to provide you with a place to read product updates and share your experiences and feedback. And of course, we're always happy to hear feedback from our vCampus Community directly. All these product teams have been hard at work, and while none of this is production ready, we're really excited to share our work with you and get feedback from the vCampus community.
For those of you who are attending vCampus Live, we hope to get to meet and speak with you throughout the week and that you get some good opportunities to play with our Web APIs hands on. And for those of you who'll be perusing the materials when they're posted online after the event-- stay tuned-- the materials should be posted shortly after the event, and we have other virtual events that'll take place over the coming months.
The PI System Web API Team!