22 Replies Latest reply on Feb 18, 2010 12:40 PM by MichaelvdV@Atos

    Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins

    wpurrer

      Hello together!

       

      In our company everything is about User Expierience, and our customers are challenging us in this way. So i have a lot of Plugins to write in the next couple of weeks.

      Maybe someone has some input on my topics or also want to share some code.

       

      Details and Annoations

       

      At first I need a enhancement for the Details & Annoation - View.

      It should be possible to view the Data in a Matrix form (time on the y - axis, tags on the x - Axis)'

       

      I also read (http://www.rjksolutionsltd.co.uk/main/RJKPIForum/tabid/61/Default.aspx)  .... and i don't wan't to use PI - Datalink.

       

      User Expirience: If you have an trend object in processbook with all the data like it should, you don't want to redo all the work again to do it in excel.

       

      Cursor Difference

       

      Second Plugin "Difference of the values between to cursors".

       

      I like to create a plugin, where the user can simply see the difference between values (cursor 1  at 5   cursor 2 at 7 , difference ist 2)

       

      AF Drag and Drop.

       

      The third one is, that we need a MIX of AF - Tree and Drag and Drop like in the Datafavourites.
      I'm not sure with this, because i read in the roadmap, that there should be some enhancements in the Fall 2010 / Spring 2011 Release

       

      Error Messags - Viewer

       

      The third one, i'm not sure if i try it as a plugin or as an external application, i need a "Reader" for some error messages from an old text - printer i have through UFL in some tags. (With some searching, grouping (top 100 alarms),... and so on functions.

       

      Whats your opinion.

        • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins

          Hi Wolfgang,

           

          Do you mean that for Annotations you want to display values with their associated annotations in a table (or tabular format) within a display?  This one is a little unclear (to me at least) what you need to achieve.

           

          Cursor difference is a simple one but maybe make it more generic to provide other functions on the data point other than subtraction - maybe use dynamically created PI Calculation dataset to perform the calculations so you have full PE syntax at your disposal.  You will need to handle if the user adds more than 2 cursors, i.e. which 2 of the 3 do you perform the subtraction of values on?  As a side note, the cursors tool tip already provides a lot of information.

          • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
            andreas

            Just before Michael @Atos (<= this time no cloaking device enabled ) jumps in

             

            Wolfgang Purrer

            Error Messages - Viewer

            The third one, I'm not sure if i try it as a plugin or as an external application, i need a "Reader" for some error messages from an old text - printer i have through UFL in some tags. (With some searching, grouping (top 100 alarms),... and so on functions.

             

            I would go for PI OLEDB for this one

            • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins

              Details and Annotations: As you first pointed out, we intended the reading of data in a tabular way in Microsoft Excel, through our PI DataLink add-in. I think having the Details and Annotations control display tabular data is an interesting suggestion though; I would like to invite you to file this in as an Enhancement Request by writing to TechSupport@osisoft.com. This, by the way, is a PI SDK enhancement rather than a PI ProcessBook one: the Details and Annotations control is a standard PI SDK control and it just happens to be used within a PI ProcessBook docked window add-in.

               

              Cursor Difference: I invite you to read this other post and see whether it helps.

               

              AF Drag and Drop: I'm pretty sure we are going to do something about AF Elements/Attributes and the Data Favorites - I couldn't tell whether it's in the next version, however. Let me try and get a hold of the PB development team to answer this one...

               

              Error Messages - Viewer: definitely a combination of PI OLEDB and a DataGrid control

                • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                  wpurrer

                  In the last years, i did a lot of research in terms of PIMS - Systems and usability, i think i have seen and worked with about 10 different systems, i also developed some Applications like the processbook by myself. There are a couple of systems far ahead => and now i have to prove, that we can get around this things until the end of June.

                   

                  Regarding "Details - Annotations" its Call # 289754, but as far as i heard osisoft is not a company where you can expected that enhancement requests very fast.

                   

                  Regarding "AF - Search & Drag'n'Drop , there is also the thing, that the treeview and search in the path should be supported. (# http://techsupport.osisoft.com/techsupport/NonTemplates/CallDetails.aspx?call_ID=62DC57D1348645D387C64D4DE55EE679287935)

                   

                  Thanks for the hints with Cursor.

                  • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                    ldieffenbach

                    Hi, everyone. Product Manager for PI ProcessBook and other client applications here...

                     

                    I wanted to respond to the wish list at the top of this thread with some insight into our product direction. If I don't hit all the points, I'll try to follow up with the ones I missed.

                     

                    Displaying a grid of tag values with a single time reference

                     

                    This is not an uncommon request, actually. And, it makes perfect sense to want to see that type of presentation based on the information already shown on a trend (or other symbol, for that matter) within the application you are already using. Unfortunately, our existing default mechanisms for retreiving data (e.g., the PI-SDK calls used by PI ProcessBook) do not lend themselves to this type of display. What you see on a ProcessBook trend time scale generally represents the times from the first trace and other traces are drawn within that scale. That's an oversimplification, of course, but the actual data values in the plot buffer do not have matching timestamps in most cases. So, you'd need to do some additional work on transforming timestamps so that you could produce a grid that only has one set of times in it.

                     

                    PI DataLink has different calls to the PI-SDK than ProcessBook uses for trending, so it is much easier to get data back that has matching timestamps in that tool, but of course, that doesn't solve the problem of wanting to see the data you already have in front of you in a particular fashion.

                     

                    There are a couple of paths forward to address this type of request. One approach would be to add something to the PI-SDK call set that would return a table of data such as you describe with the timestamp matching all ready done for you. Another approach would be to do something within PI ProcessBook to make this type of presentation possible (although that solution might not be as performant or robust, given the nature of this mature application). Yet another approach is to provide more application integration between, for example, PI ProcessBook and PI DataLink so that viewing a trend in ProcessBook can be easily transferred (without starting over) to a DataLink analysis. This is the approach I am currently advocating within the development group.

                     

                    As some have noted, requests for additional functionality do not always come quickly in our product line. While I could make many lame excuses for that, I'd rather just point out that we have a fairly mature set of product offerings, so adding new functionality can only be considered in the context of all the features and functionality that already exist. Adding new features to an already mature feature set has certain risks to it, and there are often conflicts among various different customer requests (one customer wants the behavior one way and another customer wants behavior that excludes the possibility of the first request). When one is building custom solutions for one customer, this is less of a challenge (although it happens in those cases as well).

                     

                    Drag and Drop AF functionality

                     

                    As one of the posters noted, we are planning to add drag and drop capability for AF elements in PI ProcessBook. The initial plan was to add it to the Data Favorites window, but we found that we were restricted to using two different search controls to find items of interest (the Tag Search and the AF Search). As there are plans to provide a unified searching experience (that provides both AF element results and PI Tag results), we decided to wait until that was available. I don't have an ETA on that at this time.

                     

                    Cursor Deltas

                     

                    This is also an existing request. The challenge with this one is again related to how data is represented in the plot buffer (as opposed to what you see on the trend itself). We draw nice, smooth (in most cases) lines to show the history of a data stream (PI tag or other data source). Behind the scenes, there may be a variety of different representations of that data from which those lovely lines are drawn. In order to post an accurate delta from one point on a trace to another, we'd need some internal logic to make sure we were showing an accurate result. One proposal has been to just interpolate the values from the plot value axis scale, but that is not likely to be all that precise and there would be room for some error. I'm reasonably sure that those who are requesting this feature expect a great deal of precision in whatever that delta value is shown to be. Perhaps I'm wrong about that.

                     

                    If we had a good solution to the grid of values problem, perhaps we could provide a related solution for the cursor deltas as well. In any case, this probably represents a fairly fundamental change in the way we do things behind the scenes.

                     

                    End of Rant

                     

                    So, while I'm sure I haven't been all that helpful in providing solutions to these requests, I do hope I've provided some insight into why these enhancements have not already been added. Please be assured that we hear your requests and we are constantly considering the best ways to address them. Some of these may likely end up in new product directions. It is sometimes a little easier to design these things in from a fresh start than to try and imagine how to shoehorn them into existing functionality. However, we are pursuing the idea of application integration I mentioned at the top because that seems a really good way to leverage all the best features of our product line that already exist and which customers use all the time.

                     

                     

                     

                    Regards,

                     

                    Laurie Dieffenbach

                      • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                        wpurrer

                        Thank you Laurie for your insights.

                        • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                          MichaelvdV@Atos

                          Laurie Dieffenbach

                          Hi, everyone. Product Manager for PI ProcessBook and other client applications here...

                          (...)

                           

                          I have nothing on-topic to say, but I would like to say the following:

                           

                          This is why I love vCampus! This is why I love hanging out here! An OSIsoft product manager taking the time and effort to reply with such a post with in-depth information is awesome.

                            • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                              ldieffenbach

                              Gosh, you guys will have me blushing... :-)

                               

                               

                               

                              In fact, the purpose of vCampus is to enable frank exchange about how our products work, what you can do with them (in an advanced sense), and how they can be improved. If we (OSIsoft) didn't respond to your posts in this fashion, this environment could not flourish. We all win when we can have this type of open exchange.

                                • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins

                                  I will add to the praise, great post Laurie!

                                   

                                  (Apologies to Wolfgang for hijacking your thread )

                                   

                                  On the ProcessBook - Datalink interaction, are you talking about being able to create a worksheet on the fly with the relevant Datalink function arrays pre-populated to represent the data of the traces in the trend?  I worked on this some time ago, problem being I didn't get time to really resolve was translating PI Expression Datasets - had planned to use Advanced Calculated Data function in Datalink but client decided raw PI Points was fine.

                                   

                                  Do we get any inside information on what will happen to ProcessBook longer term..?  In my vision I always see it would be great to have a "new" ProcessBook integrated in to PI System Explorer so you have all the useful applications in one application.  Maybe a candidate for a collaborative project.

                                    • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                                      wpurrer

                                      As i mentioned i did a lot of market research and development the last 2 years in this direction (more or less fulltime)

                                       

                                      So this is very interesting for me too, Reasons:

                                       

                                      => VBA ist not supported from Microsoft anymore
                                      http://msdn.microsoft.com/de-de/isv/bb190538%28en-us%29.aspx

                                       

                                      As of July 1, 2007, Microsoft will no longer offer VBA distribution licenses to new customers. Existing VBA customers can still purchase additional VBA licenses from Summit Software and Microsoft for existing solutions.

                                       

                                      => At lot of other companies honeywell, wonderware, iconics,....... are going in more a "Ribbon", fully integrated,  .net based way.

                                       With WPF , this applications got a lot cheaper to build, its also the reason, why a lot of  SCADA - Software appears from various small companies and it seems for me, some of the older vendors, take the chance now to make a switch:

                                       The technology is not important, but they are result of the Usability Research from Microsoft,...
                                       The way, people interact with applications has changed ... and nobody like to buy a software which just looks like it is from 1997

                                      Typical Produktmgmt - End of Lifecycle Questions.

                                      => Some bodies/working groups like namur and so on try to movie forward with way how to diagnose Process (@Laurie , maybe you take a look at Case # 288782, i attached a pdf with an results out of this working group.)

                                       

                                       

                                        • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                                          ldieffenbach

                                          Thanks for your continued dialog on these issues, folks.

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                          There are currently three main areas of activity around the client products at OSIsoft:

                                           

                                          1) Working on critical issues that are product specific, which may involve issues customers are having or the introduction of new technologies (such as new operating systems or Microsoft Office versions or even new features in our own products).

                                           

                                          2) Working to consolidate our current client portfolio, so that our existing tools work better together and provide better ways for customers to solve their existing problems. Some of this work also involves tighter integration with Microsoft technologies.

                                           

                                          3) Innovating new tools that fill the gaps in our existing product line, use newer technologies and provide opportunities to introduce new features (and extensibility) that our existing tools cannot easily add. This work will most likely replace some of the older products, eventually. However, one must recognize that replacing all the existing functionality of a tool like ProcessBook will take quite a bit of time. After all, we want to make better products, not just products that are younger. :-)

                                           

                                           

                                           

                                          Regarding some of Wolfgang's specific points:

                                           

                                          We continue to have an arrangement with Summit software to distribute VBA. We are a strong partner with Microsoft, and it appears they will continue to work with us on this until we no longer have a need for it. They would like us to move to VSTA, but that didn't make sense for our existing product line, where customers have significant investments in VBA scripts already and there is no upgrade path.

                                           

                                          Again, due to our close partnership with Microsoft, we are working in the Silverlight/XAML/WCF/WPF space for our new product efforts. We are also involving usability professionals in this work.

                                           

                                          It is true that many companies in the control systems market are introducing newer UI tools that are more showy than ours. It may just be my opinion, but the advantage I have always seen with the PI system is that it isn't vendor specific, can aggregate data across a variety of vendor-specific hardware and control systems and our performance is still top-notch. Nonetheless, the PI system doesn't help people if they can't or don't want to use it.

                                           

                                          More to come....

                                           

                                          Laurie

                                            • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                                              MichaelvdV@Atos

                                              Laurie Dieffenbach

                                              Again, due to our close partnership with Microsoft, we are working in the Silverlight/XAML/WCF/WPF space for our new product efforts. We are also involving usability professionals in this work.

                                               

                                              Yeah, that's what I'm interested in! But, no mather how hard I try, I cannot get any OSIsoft staff to divulge any real information about the efforts surrounding the innovative projects.

                                               

                                              Since you are serving the community in an awesome way in this thread: please elaborate as much as possible

                                            • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins

                                              Wolfgang Purrer

                                              Some bodies/working groups like namur
                                              Are you referring to http://www.namur.de/start/?L=2?

                                            • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                                              ldieffenbach

                                              Rhys @ RJK Solutions

                                              On the ProcessBook - Datalink interaction, are you talking about being able to create a worksheet on the fly with the relevant Datalink function arrays pre-populated to represent the data of the traces in the trend?  I worked on this some time ago, problem being I didn't get time to really resolve was translating PI Expression Datasets - had planned to use Advanced Calculated Data function in Datalink but client decided raw PI Points was fine.

                                               

                                              Actually, Rhys, I'm thinking more generic than just ProcessBook to DataLink and back. I'm thinking that you should be able to take any data display in any of our tools (including PI WebParts) and reuse that information in another application to further your analysis without having to rebuild queries or reconfigure symbols. We've had some bits and pieces of this, but nothing generic enough to span the product line. We have some good conceptual work done on this, so now it's a matter of implementing it across the suite.

                                    • Re: Details & Annoation in Table/Matrix - View and other Addins
                                      MichaelvdV@Atos

                                      John Baier

                                      OK, this is John Baier, Director of Product Management.   I have to commend Laurie on being sufficiently vague about any new development, as these are her instructions.   That said, instead of us saying more about what we have planned, maybe we can get a little discussion going about what all of you would like to see.   This forum, and vCampus in general, is a great place to voice your opinions and help us prioritize our development efforts.   We are looking to deliver our new visualization products to achieve the most value for all customers in all industries.   Given that, what would all of you like OSIsoft to concentrate on in the visualization space?   What would you like us to provide to help you partner with us in visualization?

                                       

                                      thanks for the discussion, I think it's really healthy and helpful,

                                       

                                      John

                                       

                                       

                                      Hi John, thank you for taking the time to reply in this matter.

                                       

                                      As you know, I personally have great interest in the upcomming Silverlight clients. I would really like to get a discussion started on this subject also.

                                       

                                      I think it could be a good idea to start a new thread, with yours and Lauries post as a start. In this way, we will not totally hijack this thread and have a good start for discussions. (@Steve / moderators: can this be arranged?)