Somebody asked me today about a list of third party companies that offer products on top of PI-AF.
I assume that most OSIsoft partners who provide such apps are on vCampus. Steve: how about a section where such apps are listed/described?
That's a great idea! We used to have a section like that in the partners secion of the main web site. I don't know why they changed it. Let me check into that and I'll post what I find out. In general we do not endorse other peoples products, but rather provide opportunities for partners to present them to customers (like the UC partner expo). Are you thinking of major applications or smaller "littleware" stuff?
I was thinking about such things as:
+ Generic Data Reference/Analysis Rules.
+ PI Notification Delivery Channels.
+ PowerShell scripts
So you are thinking about small applications like what I refered to as a "littleware share". I think it is a great idea with lots of potential. There is a way to do this now by loading project files into your profile area and linking to it in a post on the forums, but this is far less than ideal. If we provided a place in each forum for project files and descriptions would that fit with what you are thinking?
Can I add my support for a 3rd Party Apps Store. I’m sure there are a lot of PI administrators like myself, who would prefer to buy reasonably priced 3rd party applications rather than coding solutions ‘in house’.
Unfortunately, apart from the annual User Conference there is little opportunity to find out which companies are developing applications for PI. In my opinion vCampus is the perfect location to host a structured list of suppliers and applications.
It would appear from the recent vCampus Live presentation on PALs (PI Access Licenses) that OSISoft would like to encourage development of new applications that extend the use of PI within the various industrial sectors e.g. chemical, T&D, power generation …etc. A centralized list of PI ‘add-ons’ could help stimulate the development of new applications specific to an industrial sector which is different from OSISoft who typically focus on general application for all.
If we examine the most successful software applications from the world around us (Windows, Photoshop, Firefox …etc) we can see that part of their strength comes from an active development community creating 3rd part applications to help users make better use of the software and I’m sure the same would be true OSISoft. Michael
Working in PI Sales & Consulting in the MENA area, I know that many PI Admins share your view. Just recently, we proposed the Process Plugins product to an O&G customer, and he is seriously considering their product. Another Utilities company is giving a serious look at SISCO's UIB and Transpara's VKPI. I am sure there are many more apps out there we do not know about.
Wouldn't this be of interest to our PI user community at large more than vCampus? I could see some kind of working group if peope wanted to collaborate on something. If we are talking about commercially available and supported stuff, I would think we want to promte to the whole PI community.
I really like the idea of having a third party app store! This should be indeed available to the entire PI community, but I like the idea of having it as an integrated part of vCampus (vCampus should be _the_ PI community, shouldn't it ?)
What are your idea's on the format of such a store?
Will it be regulated by OSIsoft? Will there be any quality standards and quality checks? What if the functionality of a third party app collides with OSIsoft products? I think these are important considerations.
My 2c. I think that most third-party app developers are or will be on vCampus. This is because a vCampus subscription is the most cost effective way to have access to the OSIsoft products that a PI developer needs.
If a completely independ, fully-public area to post PI products offerings is created, somebody would have to act as a moderator. Would not it be easier to just create a free area within vCampus where the whole PI Community can visit the App Store, but that requires a vCampus subscription to post to? Queries from non vCampus subscribers can be directly sent to the app vendors.
So I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I like the idea of creating a community "littleware" application space that is availble for all users that is fed by an open-source group in vCampus. I think it addresses several of the issues identified. If they become dated or have known problems they can be removed until the group addresses them. The main problem is when developers share code with non-developers, which is what happened with DEVNET. There are some legal issues around open-source we need to address before doing something like this from an OSI hosted community as well, but I think we can get around that easily enough.
My 2 english pence worth...
An open source group of vCampus members (and OSI staff?) is a great idea, would certainly fly the flag for vCampus.A 3rd party apps store should not be specific to vCampus but visible across the enterprise of OSI. Maybe even classify the applications in the store..."OSIsoft verified", "Unverified" etc Would it really be a store though or just a directory listing of applications and their creators..?
It would be great to have an appstore that contains both open source projects from vcampus. The open source projects would be free, and ready to download (maybe add some 'donation' option for beers/redbull/jolt cola during vCampus Live! :P )
As for commercial applications, using the classifications you mentioned would be a good idea. We can do this on 'vendor' basis, or on the basis of the product itself. OSIsoft then should test/approve of the applications, but I don't know how to do this financially (compensate for the time OSIsoft needs to verify the applications)...
I think that people who are interested in a commercial product from the appstore should contact the vendor directly to agree on price/service etc.
I like the idea of having a 3rd party apps store that’s viewable by the entire community and only allowing vCampus members to post apps on the store is one way of managing the apps that are posted on the site.
Asking OSIsoft to test/approve apps in my opinion will not work, as there is a significant cost involved but I could be proved wrong. As a PI administrator I would simply like a structured list of what PI applications are available, a short description of the application and contact details of the supplier.
Open source projects are a completely different ‘ball game’ and I don’t know if the PI development community is sufficiently large enough to support many open source project but again I could be proved wrong.
In my experience it is the simple ideas that usually succeed. So how about OSIsoft start with a simple app store that hosts a description, a few images and a link to the suppliers web site. This would relinquish OSIsoft from any responsibility for the 3rd party software. Michael
Offering applications should be a privilige for vCampus subscribers, I totally agree. In order to reach a larger community with your apps, it would be nice to have it available to non vcampus subscribers also. The only thing is that discussions about a certain (3th party) product should be on the vCampus forums (because this is the place to discuss). non vCampus subscribers would not be able to participate in such a discussion (but would still find the need to discuss about it)...
We can't expect OSIsoft to approve/test our apps, only if it could have some commercial value for them. Having tested/approved apps really does make the quality of apps provided in the appstore a lot better, but it would mean a larger threshold for people wanting to offer their apps. I'm not really sure about what I think would be the best approach.
I don't see why offering/downloading open source projects in the appstore would be any different. If we develop an open source project, and have a release version ready, it could just be offered as an complete app. The whole development and collaboration process before the release would take place totally outside the appstore.
I really agree with the last paragraph where you say that the most simple idea's mostly succeed. It should be some evolving process, adapting to the needs that rise while using it. We should have some basic setup, use it, and get feedback from everyone what to enhance/change.
I spoke briefly with Steve Pilon about this in SFO at the Live event, and I too like the app store idea. Not necessarily set up as a store/webshop, but a list divided into two sections - Applications offered by ISVs, and "Open source" applications.
To speak for myself - and Amitec - we have software which can fit in both sections. On one side software we've spent some time developing, on the other side several minor apps and utilities made to make our life as pi-people more convenient :)
(The "app store" should be visible for everyone, but downloading from the "open source" section should only be available for vCampus members. For the non-open-source applications, no download should be offered at all - just a title, description, screenshots, pricing (?) and contact details should be present)
Wow, it's definitely great to see all the interest around open source and collaborative projects, as well as some kind of app store! As I alluded to in this other post, we are seriously looking into facilitating your requests and should be able to provide an answer in a week or so. Stay tuned!
I'd like to revive this thread.
I've been extremely busy at work for the last three or four weeks, and haven't found much time for vCampus. I noticed the release of the Community Projects section the other day, and I remembered this thread from back in december - right after the vCampus Live! event.
So, I'm happy to see the open source projects capabilities being added to the vCampus forums. This is a great thing both for end-users and partners here on vCampus - but I'd also like to take the opportunity to ask about the App Store itself.
As we've discussed here, all 3rd party applications (both commercial and open-source) should be listed in an App Store where the whole PI community (both vCampus subscribers and non-vCampus) could reach them. Still the same idea as before - partners can offer commercially available applications with descriptions and contact/purchasing info, and vCampus members can offer open source projects with descriptions, contact info + link to download the app.
While the community-part of me likes the new Community Projects section, the partner-part of me would like to speed up the work of getting such an app store in place. As an OSIsoft partner, Amitec develops some applications/utilities at own risc/cost, and usually our own customer base is not big enough to justify the development of these sometimes very special/unique apps and utils.
I'm sure other partners feel this way as well, and giving the partners a platform to offer these apps to the whole PI community would make it easier to make the decision to develop something that doesn't already exist, and also to buy the stuff that already exist instead of developing their own.
Asle, I agree that at the broader OSISoft level there needs to be some kind of app store and this should probably be part of the partnership program. When a partner signs up or renews, they can list their apps that are available - that way all partners and their offerings could be searched on OSISoft. From that point onwards it would only be a pointer to the partner's website where the purchasing/licencing details would be discovered.
Definitely shouldn't be a vCampus thing but a broader OSISoft thing.
OSI used to have a reference guide for 3rd party applications, it was difficult to keep current and more difficult to justify the expanding expense. I agree that this needs to be outside of vCampus, mostly becuase the target audiance seems misplaced. There are some industry stores that could be leveraged to provide a commercial basis for this. You could provide some details on pertainent products in vCampus, but I would target the PI USER COMMUNITY with those details. What kind of products are you thinking of?
Yes, the general PI user community (ie the techsupport pages, etc) was also the idea from this thread.
As an example, Amitec has developed a product called "SMS Notifications for AF 2.x" which basically is an SMS delivery channel plug-in allowing text messages to be utilized for notifications. The product is sold as a package, along with a subscription from our sms service provider - so that it should work all around the world. This is a typical partner developed application or utility, where OSIsoft says "we won't develop this, go to one of our partners".
There is already a small note about this product here: http://techsupport.osisoft.com/support+solution/8/kb00294.htm
But this is "hidden" in the knowledge base, and would be much easier to locate in an App Store - like the DevNet was (for open source or free projects) but for commercial products instead.
This was developed "on demand" from OSIsoft without any particular customer in mind. To take the same kind of risc at a later time, we need to know that we can make money from it. Since this is such a specialized product, we need to promote it for the entire PI user community - and especially to other partners, so that they know what exists out there - eliminating the need for them to develop something themselves.
Asle Frantzen @ AmitecThis was developed "on demand" from OSIsoft without any particular customer in mind. To take the same kind of risc at a later time, we need to know that we can make money from it. Since this is such a specialized product, we need to promote it for the entire PI user community - and especially to other partners, so that they know what exists out there - eliminating the need for them to develop something themselves.
Yes - an "AppStore" should not be hosted on the vCampus site, agreed!
To take an example from the world of musical instruments: I have a guitar effects and modelling device from www.line6.com and this device can easily be updated with new tone packs or patches from other people. So instead of "mixing" this with Line6's normal business, they set up www.customtone.com where users can share patches.
Maybe this'd be the best way for OSIsoft as well. www.piapps.com seems to be available :)
But on the matter of lobbying for an AppStore, we feel that everything dealing with software around PI should be handled here on vCampus. We at Amitec would much rather see the vCampus team bringing this suggestion forward to whoever it may concern - especially since we've had such a great discussion about this - in this very own thread!
Asle Frantzen @ AmitecBut on the matter of lobbying for an AppStore, we feel that everything dealing with software around PI should be handled here on vCampus. We at Amitec would much rather see the vCampus team bringing this suggestion forward to whoever it may concern - especially since we've had such a great discussion about this - in this very own thread!
Agreed. But I do feel that we as PI users, customers and specially vCampus should provide strong backup and a strong motivation for the vCampus team. The appstore should not be a vCampus only thing, but it could be initiated from vCampus!
Michael @ Atos OriginThe appstore should not be a vCampus only thing, but it could be initiated from vCampus!
The appstore should not be a vCampus only thing, but it could be initiated from vCampus!
Our thoughts exactly! I'm sure I'm not the only one here on vCampus with a couple of good idea's concerning this AppStore, which - in all simplicity - wouldn't have to be a "store" at all, just a nice description of the products, some glossy images and contact info for the company selling it!
I stumbled upon this tread doing some searches; it looks like this never got traction. I agree with our two all stars that having something to promote 3rd party apps would be very nice. Maybe as Asle suggested it could just be a simple page on the main website with descriptions and links. Maybe there could be a special partner program or certification required so we meet OSIsoft's standards for applications that play nice with PI infrastructure. This seems like something that would be very simple and not cost OSIsoft much, maybe just putting someone in charge of getting the program off the ground. That could be a part-time project. I'm sure there are a few vCampus folks (me included) that would help out.
As for the open source projects and discussions we already have the forums for tiny ones and the Community Projects space for the bigger projects.
As for a PI App Store, the idea has been around and the feedback shows how much OSIsoft and the community's interests are aligned on this. We will definitely look some more into it and hopefully get to some conclusion with the community and internal decision makers soon.
In the meantime your feedbacks would be very valuable as always. Please keep them coming
I like the fact this thread got revived again.
I'm still having some doubts about how it has to work out exactly, but I would really like the idea of having a centralized place to offer/buy PI applications. Not sure about the legal issues involved for OSIsoft if they are involved though.
Please have look at This blogpost!
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