If you have been paying attention to OSIsoft product releases over the last year you most likely have heard a lot about PI Coresight. There have been two significant feature additions to the product last year; a display editor and an extensibility framework.
Coresight was released over five years ago and, from the beginning, has shown the potential to become the new flagship product for PI System visualization. While ProcessBook and DataLink are still widely used for many of the typical operational use cases, they are both based on older Windows OS technology and are showing their age in the new web and mobile based world.
The initial release of Coresight back in late 2011 was met with a warm reception, it had a nice modern, polished look and could be accessed just using a browser. But that was short lived, as it was based on Microsoft ill-fated Silverlight and too limited in functionality. It became more of a glitzy selling tool for ad-hoc analysis, while the real work was, and is still being done, by ProcessBook and Datalink.
After a few years of working on the feature set and getting all the code based converted to HTML5, Coresight may now get the acceptance from the operations folks, who have had to depend on older products for a bit too long now.
From the moment the display editor feature was released, I saw Coresight being used in new projects over ProcessBook. I knew that Coresight had finally made the jump and was pretty excited. But just replacing an existing product with a new product that is not really doing much more, is, to be honest, kinda boring. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to see a path for customers that does not require ProcessBook, but that is about it.
Now comes the thing that has gotten me very excited about Coresight - the Extensibility Framework. Although the framework is in Community Preview, it is more than capable of being used in the real world, as long as the user accepts that they will have to make code changes when the final version is released.
I have been working with the Extensibility for a few months now and am amazed at how much power this adds to Coresight. The framework allows for custom symbols to be developed and added to Coresight’s symbol library. This gives those that wish Coresight could solve some specific use case, but is outside the current feature set, the ability to make it happen. That was always a strength of ProcessBook. If all else failed, you could crack open the VBA editor and roll your own. Now when someone asks if we can do something in Coresight, where in the past if the answer was a definite “no”, it is now a “yes with some strings attached”. This is a significant step and should not go unnoticed.
I won’t get into all the technical details in this post about extensibility, but just want to give it a plug at this early stage and give it a thumbs up. If you have not checked it out, it is worth your time to do so. Even if you’re not going to develop anything until the first release happens, it is good to see how it works and how it can fit in as part of an overall PI System solution. There will be much more about this feature mentioned in the coming months, and I’m sure we will see it talked about at the OSIsoft Users Conference in March. There is also going to be a Visualization Virtual Hackathon February 20 to March 13 focused on using this technology.
To get you started here are some resources:
PI Coresight 2016 R2 (CTP) Extensibility Documentation (Tech Support Login Required)
PI Developers Club Webinar Series: Visualization Virtual Hackathon (you may still be able to register for this at the time of this posting)
What are the plans for extensibility in PI Coresight? (This is OSIsoft's plans for Extensibility, a must read)