Listing all Tags and Attributes used by PI Vision

Blog Post created by rborges Employee on May 8, 2018



Recently, during PI World 2018, I was surprised by the number of people asking me if it's possible to list all PI Points and AF Attributes used in PI Vision's displays. The good news is that it's possible to do it, the bad news is that it's not that straightforward.


I will show two different ways to achieve this. The first one using Powershell and the second one querying directly PI Vision's database. Warning: we strongly recommend that you don't mess around with PI Vision's database unless you know what you are doing. If you have questions, please contact tech support or leave a comment in this post.




The PowerShell method is the simplest and safest. In order to understand how it works, let's first do a quick recap of PI's architecture.


In a very high-level description, PI uses a producer-consumer pattern: multiple producers (interfaces, connectors, AFSDK writes, etc) send data to a central repository, while consumers subscribe to updates on a set of PI Points. Whenever a new data comes in, the Update Manager Subsystem notifies subscribers that fresh data is available.


If you open your PI System Management Tools and navigate to Operation -> Update Manager, you will see a list of all processes consuming and producing data.


2018-05-07 09_19_19-Update Manager - PI System Management Tools.png


Now, if you filter by *w3wp* (the name of the IIS process) you can drill down the data and get the list of tags being consumed by that specific signup.


2018-05-07 09_37_34-Update Manager - PI System Management Tools.png


But hey, this is PI DevClub! What about doing it programmatically? Unfortunately, the Update Manager information is not available in AF SDK, but we have the PowerShell tools to help us with this task:


$conn = Connect-PIDataArchive -PIDataArchiveMachineName "emiller-vm2";
$pointIds = @();
While ($true)
     $consumers = Get-PIUpdateManagerSignupStatistics -Connection $conn -ConsumerName "*w3wp*";
     $consumers | ForEach-Object -Process {
          $pointId = $_.Qualifier;
          if ($pointIds -notcontains $pointId -And $pointId -ne 0)
               $pointIds += $pointId;
               $piPoint = Get-PIPoint -Connection $conn -WhereClause "pointid:=$pointId" -AllAttributes;
               $printObj = New-Object PSObject;
               $printObj | Add-Member Name $piPoint.Point.Name;
               $printObj | Add-Member Description $piPoint.Attributes.descriptor;
               $printObj | Add-Member Changer $piPoint.Attributes.changer;
               Write-Output $printObj;


If you run this script it will keep listening for every call to your PI Server originated from an IIS:


2018-05-07 17_09_02-Windows PowerShell.png


By now you may have noticed the two problems of this method: (1) it only shows a new entry if somebody request data for a given PI point (i.e.: open a display) and (2), we are just listing tags and we totally ignore AF attributes. A workaround for the first one is to leave the script running for a while and pipe the result to a text file.


PI Vision's Database


Let me say this once again before we proceed: we strongly recommend users to not touch PI Visions' database. That said...


There are two ways to extract this information from the database. The first one is dead simple, but only works if you don't have displays imported from ProcessBook:


     E.Name [DisplayName],
     E.Owner [DisplayOwner],
     D.FullDatasource [Path]
     BrowseElements E,
     DisplayDatasources D
     E.ID = D.DisplayID


The result of this select is a table with all AF Attributes and PI Points used by PI Vision.


2018-05-07 17_05_28-SQLQuery1.sql - bmoura-vm3.PIVisualization (OSI_rborges (53))_ - Microsoft SQL S.png


This may work for you, but one person that approached me during PI World, also asked me if it was possible to list not only the data sources but also the Symbols using them. Also, most of the displays were imported from ProcessBook. And that's when things get tricky:


     E.Name as [DisplayName],
     E.Owner as [DisplayOwner],
     S.c.value('../@Id', 'nvarchar(128)') as [Symbol],
     D.c.value('local-name(.)', 'nvarchar(2)') as [Source],
     CASE -- Constructing the path according to the data source
          WHEN D.c.value('local-name(.)', 'nvarchar(2)') = 'PI' -- The data comes from a PI Point
          THEN '\\' +
               CASE WHEN CHARINDEX('?',D.c.value('@Node', 'nvarchar(128)')) > 0 -- Here we check if the server ID is present
               THEN LEFT(D.c.value('@Node', 'nvarchar(128)'), CHARINDEX('?',D.c.value('@Node', 'nvarchar(128)'))-1)
               ELSE D.c.value('@Node', 'nvarchar(128)')
               + '\' + 
               CASE WHEN CHARINDEX('?',T.c.value('@Name', 'nvarchar(128)')) > 0 -- Here we check if the point ID is present
               THEN LEFT(T.c.value('@Name', 'nvarchar(128)'), CHARINDEX('?',T.c.value('@Name', 'nvarchar(128)'))-1)
               ELSE T.c.value('@Name', 'nvarchar(128)')
          WHEN D.c.value('local-name(.)', 'nvarchar(2)') = 'AF' -- The data comes from an AF attribute
               THEN '\\' + D.c.value('@Node', 'nvarchar(128)')  + '\' + D.c.value('@Db', 'nvarchar(256)') +  '\' 
               + CASE 
               WHEN T.c.value('@ElementPath', 'nvarchar(128)') IS NOT NULL 
               THEN T.c.value('@ElementPath', 'nvarchar(128)') + '|' + T.c.value('@Name', 'nvarchar(128)')
               ELSE O.c.value('@ElementPath', 'nvarchar(128)') + T.c.value('@Name', 'nvarchar(128)')
     END as [Path]
     BaseDisplays B
     CROSS APPLY B.COG.nodes('/*:COG/*:Datasources/*/*') T(c)
     CROSS APPLY B.COG.nodes('/*:COG/*:Databases/*') D(c)
     CROSS APPLY B.COG.nodes('/*:COG/*:Symbols/*:Symbol/*') S(c)
     LEFT JOIN BaseDisplays B2 OUTER APPLY B2.COG.nodes('/*:COG/*:Contexts/*:AFAttributeParameter') O(c) 
          ON T.c.value('../@Id', 'nvarchar(128)') = O.c.value('@Datasource', 'nvarchar(128)'),
     BrowseElements E
     E.ID = B.BrowseElementID
     AND E.DeleteFlag = 'N'
     AND D.c.value('@Id', 'nvarchar(128)') = T.c.value('../@DbRef', 'nvarchar(128)')
     AND T.c.value('../@Id', 'nvarchar(128)') = S.c.value('@Ref', 'nvarchar(128)')


The result is a little more comprehensive than the previous script:


2018-05-07 17_05_47-SQLQuery2.sql - bmoura-vm3.PIVisualization (OSI_rborges (55))_ - Microsoft SQL S.png


These queries were made for the latest version available (2017 R2 Update 1) and it's not guaranteed to be future-proof. It's known that PI Vision 2018 will use a different data model, so, If needed, I will revisit this post after the launch of the 2018 version.


I'm not going to dig into the specifics of this script as it has a lot of T-SQL going on to deal with the XML information that is stored in the database. If you have specific questions about how it works, leave a comment. Also keep in mind that this query is a little expensive, so you should consider running during off-peak hours or on a dev database.




List all tags and attributes used by PI Vision is a valid use case and most PI admins will agree that it helps to understand their current tag usage. We have been increasing our efforts on system usage awareness and, with this post, I hope to help with this goal.