22 Replies Latest reply on Oct 31, 2011 3:08 PM by andreas

    Introduction to the project

      Firstly, thanks to the vCampus team for pulling together the Community projects forums!  I know it has taken some discussions behind the scenes.

       

      Now to the project, "AF Symbol Drop" (I couldn't think of a better name just yet).

       

      It will do exactly what the name suggests, allow you to drop a symbol on to a display from AF and have Properties and/or VBA code automatically populated according to the symbol's configuration in AF.  Eventually you will be able to drop a series of symbols on to a display in one drag/drop of the mouse.

       

      Why am I building this?
      In my time with ProcessBook I have built endless number of displays where I either copy and paste symbols from one display to another, or have common appearance properties that I need to apply to symbols and even the situation where I need some common VBA applying to a display / symbol event (that doesn't warrant an addin).  I want to simplify this ongoing process and create a repository of symbol definitions in AF so all users of such an addin within a company location level, enterprise level or public domain can benefit from.

       

      I will shortly be adding more details for how the first version will work including some documentation so watch this space.  Any feedback or questions at this time, feel free to post them within this forum section!

        • Re: Introduction to the project
          mhalhead

          Rhys,

           

          I've been quiet on vCampus for the past few month so I thought that I should start by probing this project.

           

          I've been thinking about something similar for the past couple of months. Building, rebuilding and maintaining displays is a bit of a pain. What I had in mind is the ability to create templates for AF Elements or Hierarchies and then generate the displays based on those templates; something similar to the MCN/IT builder. I think that this would be extension of what you have proposed project.

           

          Basically I had in mind creating a PB addin that would look at the AF hierarchy and build the displays based on a template file; including all the correct symbols, VBA, .... ERDs go some way to solving this "problem" but they aren't capable of dealing with situations were there are varying elements; for example a flotation process unit might contain 10 rougher cells in two banks or 8 rougher cells in one bank.

           

          So the first question is does the very brief description above fit in with what you had in mind or am I simply off track. The second question is where do we start? I have some basic ideas. The templating side is an area I bit flummoxed on, I was think of using PDI files but I'm not sure how to add the logic around multiple symbols without reverting to doing this in VBA.

            • Re: Introduction to the project
              ldieffenbach

              Hi guys,

               

              You may be aware of the AF Modeler add-in, which was originally built to support users of Sigmafine. This add-in code, as well as other aspects of the Sigmafine solution have since been sold off to Visiant Pimsoft (one of our partners).

               

              They have just released an updated version of this add-in along with other new Sigmafine components.

               

              I mention this because the add-in uses the SVG xml grammar to store visual representations of elements in AF and there is notion of a model that is exposed in PI ProcessBook as a visual model in a display.

               

              Are you re-inventing similar functionality?

               

              BTW, I've heard it suggested that one way to manage the multiplicity problem (10 rougher cells in two banks versus 8 in one bank) is to have child elements as part of the template. Maybe someone can elaborate on that concept.

               

              Regards,

               

              Laurie

                • Re: Introduction to the project
                  mhalhead

                  Laurie,

                   

                  The thought had crossed my mind regarding the modeller. So we are probably recreating a wheel or at least a portion of it. Unfortunately purchasing SigmaFine just for the modeller add in is probably not going to fly with my bosses. In the long run I can see us going SF but not right now; too many other fish to fry.

                   

                  Laurie

                  BTW, I've heard it suggested that one way to manage the multiplicity problem (10 rougher cells in two banks versus 8 in one bank) is to have child elements as part of the template. Maybe someone can elaborate on that concept.

                   

                  I would be interested in this, anyone care to elaborate?

                   

                  BTW, Rhys I apologies for hijacking your thread.

                    • Re: Introduction to the project
                      ldieffenbach

                      Thanks for the further thoughts, Michael. I didn't mean to discourage this effort with my references to the Modeler, more to indicate that there is a likely way to solve these kinds of problems :-)

                       

                      As for the multiplicity issue, I wish I could provide more information, but I'm not fluent enough in the workings of AF templates to provide meaningful insight. Hopefully, the right people will chime in here.

                       

                      Laurie

                        • Re: Introduction to the project
                          Bannikov

                          Hello

                           

                          I've recently forced to re-invented another wheel. I've developed a ProcessBook plug-in which is support so-called 'symbol library' (a set of grouped symbols on specially selected ProcessBook display). The symbols are copied from symbol library to user displays and connected to appropriate AF Elements. This is quite a complete (but small, of course) solution. If somebody has interest in it, I can post more information about this. Currentyl it's only for Russian language, but can easybe localized.

                            • Re: Introduction to the project
                              Ahmad Fattahi

                              Sergey,

                               

                              That might be interesting to some people; thanks for sharing the information. What would you say in turning it to a Community Project if the interest is there? That way everyone would be able to take advantage and also give you feedback

                                • Re: Introduction to the project

                                  Ooops, since the vCampus forum groups got messed up and I lost my email subscriptions I totally missed these posts of this community project.  Apologies Michael, not ignoring you!  Let me read through your posts (and Laurie & Sergey's), digest and respond...

                                    • Re: Introduction to the project
                                      aabrodsky

                                      Laurie,

                                       

                                      Do you have an idea whether they are selling that PB Modeller Add-in separately from Sigmafine and whether it can work alone just to build a graphical representation of a model? It sounds like something we are looking for. I used to work with PB Modeller add-in for Sigmafine, but that was an older versions and interface wasn't great. But though it was quite useful.

                                       

                                      Thanks,

                                       

                                      Alex

                                        • Re: Introduction to the project
                                          ldieffenbach

                                          Hi Alex,

                                           

                                          As it happens, we've been working with the lovely folks at Visiant Pimsoft to see whether their new Modeler version (which works with AF 2.1) would be appropriate for stand-alone use (without the Sigmafine backend).

                                           

                                          There isn't any news yet, but I'll share when I know something meaningful.

                                           

                                          Regards,

                                           

                                          Laurie

                                            • Re: Introduction to the project
                                              aabrodsky

                                              That's great, thank you Laurie, looking forward to hearing about it.

                                              • Re: Introduction to the project

                                                Laurie Dieffenbach

                                                Hi Alex,

                                                 

                                                As it happens, we've been working with the lovely folks at Visiant Pimsoft to see whether their new Modeler version (which works with AF 2.1) would be appropriate for stand-alone use (without the Sigmafine backend).

                                                 

                                                There isn't any news yet, but I'll share when I know something meaningful.

                                                 

                                                Regards,

                                                 

                                                Laurie

                                                 

                                                 

                                                Laurie, any chance of giving them a prod and pointing them towards this thread?  The community would benefit from knowing the future of the Modeller, and Pimsoft would benefit from some use cases for a standalone (non-Sigmafine) version.

                                                  • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                    mhalhead

                                                    Rhys @ RJK Solutions

                                                    In a nutshell, yes, what you describe is pretty much along the lines of my original intentions

                                                     

                                                    As the sayings goes great minds think alike or ....

                                                     

                                                    I would be interested to see the response from Laurie/Pimsoft.

                                                     

                                                    Rhys @ RJK Solutions

                                                    I'm still prepared to invest some time in this as I just signed up on a project to template (in AF) some assets and represent them in ProcessBook for manual entry, so I have some current motivation.  

                                                     

                                                    Interestingly we are in the process of finalising a MDE scope for AF. The difference being we are going the SilverLight route. Before anyone mentions PIML there are reasons we aren't using PIML (nothing to do with licensing).

                                                      • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                        ldieffenbach

                                                        Hi gang,

                                                         

                                                        I'm happy to see activity in this post again. I don't have anything further to report about Visiant Pimsoft just now, but I have poked some people to get their attention. Hopefully, people will post here directly, but I'll post any updates I get through other channels.

                                                         

                                                        Regards,

                                                         

                                                        Laurie

                                                        • Re: Introduction to the project

                                                          Rhys and Michael:  Can you elaborate on your manual input requirements?

                                                           

                                                          PIML 2010 R2 (scheduled for release in June 2011) includes an XML schema to import and export the "manual input data collection" configuration.  It also includes sample AF templates to represent the Tour, Equipment and Tag related details so that you can store the PIML meta data in AF. This is handy when you want to use tools such as PI OLEDB for reporting (via Excel, WebPart etc.) on manually collected data.  It is also useful when you want to repurpose the meta data to allow alternate manual input screens such as browser, silverlight, Excel, and others.

                                                           

                                                          The screen below (this version will be updated before release) is an example of a Tag template - the key items are of course, LoLo, Low, Hi, HiHi validation limits.

                                                           

                                                          5141.PIMLTag.PNG

                                                           

                                                          I recognize that the current PIML meta data may not fit your manual input requrements, but we wanted to start with this for backward compatibility; PIML uses the same structure whether you use a PC or a handheld for data entry.

                                                           

                                                          And then, the following (these are from a mock-up) could allow you to enter data via dynamic URL - similar to how you bring up adhoc PI WebPart trend today:

                                                           

                                                          These URLs assume AF based links:

                                                           

                                                          http://pimlserver:3463/PIManualLogger.html#/Home?Data=myAF\PIML\ChillerLog\Chiller1|SuctionPressure                  - expects that SuctionPressure is of PIML Tag template, brings up a screen for entering Suction Pressure

                                                           

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          http://pimlserver:3463/PIManualLogger.html#/Home?Data=myAF\PIML\ChillerLog\Chiller1   - expects Chiller1 to be of PIML Group template, and then permits data entry for the Chiller1 attributes such as Inlet Temperature, Outlet Temperature etc. (i.e. tags of PIMLTag template) in that group

                                                           

                                                           

                                                           

                                                          http://pimlserver:3463/PIManualLogger.html#/Home?Data=myAF\PIML\ChillerLog  - expects that ChillerLog is of PIML Tour template, and then permits data entry for Groups and Tags in the ChillerLog Tour

                                                           

                                                           

                                                            • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                              skwan

                                                              Regarding the AFModeler, Pimsoft has renamed it SigmaFine Modeler and the latest release works with SigmaFine version 4.5, which is based on AF 2.3.  So that's a round about way of saying that the SigmaFine Modeler works with AF 2.x :-).  Anyway, Pimsoft is not currently selling the SigmaFine Modeler standalone.  I have started some conversation with Pimsoft pointing to the needs of PI users for the SigmaFine Modeler's functionality.  In addition, we are doing some technical evaluation on the SigmaFine Modeler.  These are ongoing and will take a bit a time.  I'll update this thread when I have more information.

                                                              • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                                dtakara

                                                                Hi everybody!

                                                                 

                                                                Just a heads-up that I created this new thread, in the Generic vCampus Discussions forum, for follow-up posts on the Manual Data Entry topic.

                                                                  • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                                    Bannikov

                                                                    Hello All!

                                                                     

                                                                    As I see, 'AF Symbol Drop' remains only investigation, not really software. And no news from PimSoft.

                                                                     

                                                                    Meanwhile we've used my 'symbol library' (PB Add-in) as mainstream tool for our projects where we need build many ProcessBook displays based on AF data. If somebody like to see technical background of my add-in, I'll like to post it here.

                                                                      • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                                        andreas

                                                                        Sergey, thanks for the offer. I am definitely interested in some background information on what you did. BTW, will we see you at OSIsoft vCampus Live! 2011?

                                                                          • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                                            Bannikov

                                                                            Andreas,

                                                                             

                                                                            yes, I've registered on vCampus Live! and can show this utility there.

                                                                             

                                                                            This is quick translation from our technical document about this utility:

                                                                             

                                                                            Symbol Library

                                                                             

                                                                            Introduction

                                                                             

                                                                             We should develop a lot ProcessBook displays based on our AF model. To simplify this process we should have a tool which can do the following tasks: 

                                                                            • We should have a library of graphical symbols. Each symbol is associated with particular AF Element Template. Each symbol contains a set of graphical ProcessBook objects.
                                                                            • Library symbol should support association between AF Attribute and appropriate ProcessBook objects (Value, Trend, SQC). 
                                                                            • Library symbol should support association between AF Attribute and multistate setting of ProcessBook objects (Text, drawing primitives, Value) 
                                                                            • To develop such symbol library we should use existing tools (PI ProcessBook), with help of additional modules (ProcessBook add-in). 
                                                                            • We use our symbol library to develop ProcessBook displays. These displays should be usable in standard PI ActiveView/ProcessBook application (without additional add-ins). But the connection information between AF Elements and ProcessBook symbols should remain.
                                                                            • We should have an ability to edit library symbol and update all connected displays without manual redrawing.
                                                                            • We should have an ability to change connection between particular symbol and AF Element.

                                                                            Implementation

                                                                             

                                                                            Symbol Library

                                                                             

                                                                            Symbol Library is implemented as separate ProcessBook display. Each library symbol is Composite Symbol in ProcessBook. For identification the NamedValues collection associated with Composite symbol is used. This NamedValues collection should contain such NamedValue’s:

                                                                             

                                                                            Symbol: specifies unique name of symbol in library.

                                                                             

                                                                            Revision: revision number of symbol – used by automated display updates.

                                                                             

                                                                            Template: optional template name, used to restrict AF Elements that can be associated with this symbol. Composite symbol can contains various ProcessBook objects like Value, Trend, Text, Bar etc). For each type of ProcessBook symbol appropriate collection of NamedValue’s is supported. For example, for ‘Value’ should have one NamedValue with name ‘Attribute’. This NamedValue should contain AF Attribute name.

                                                                             

                                                                            ProcessBook Display

                                                                             

                                                                            When library symbol is instantiated, user will select symbol from list and then select appropriate AF Element. After that Composite symbol from library is copied to target display, and for each object in Composite specified task is performed, for example (not all supported objects are listed):

                                                                            • Value: AF Attribute (specified in «Attrbibute» NameValue setting) is used as data source for ProcessBook Value object
                                                                            • Trend: Af Attrbites (specified in «Trend» NamedValue’s settings) are used as data source for ProcessBook Trend object

                                                                            Additional, for static symbol multistate metadata can be specified. When multistate metadata is presented (as appropriate NamedValue’s), multistate tuning is done during symbol instantiating.

                                                                             

                                                                            In result, ProcessBook display contain many Composite symbols; each Composite is associated with AF Element. The one restriction – if Composite will be un-group, the association between symbol and AF Element is broken (but all ProcessBook objects remain connected to appropriate data soucres).

                                                                             

                                                                            This display can be used in standalone ProcessBook, in ActiveView and even as SVG for PI Graphics webpart.

                                                                             

                                                                            Samples

                                                                             

                                                                            Library Symbols

                                                                             

                                                                            1273.Symbol1.png1108.Symbol2.png5482.Symbol3.png

                                                                             

                                                                             

                                                                             

                                                                            Complete Display

                                                                             

                                                                            Additional comments on-screen3324.Display.png

                                                                             

                                                                             

                                                            • Re: Introduction to the project
                                                              mhalhead

                                                              Rhys @RJK Solutions

                                                              Apologies Michael, not ignoring you!

                                                               

                                                              No worries, as the Aussies would say.

                                                  • Re: Introduction to the project

                                                    Michael Halhead

                                                    Rhys,

                                                     

                                                    I've been quiet on vCampus for the past few month so I thought that I should start by probing this project.

                                                     

                                                    I've been thinking about something similar for the past couple of months. Building, rebuilding and maintaining displays is a bit of a pain. What I had in mind is the ability to create templates for AF Elements or Hierarchies and then generate the displays based on those templates; something similar to the MCN/IT builder. I think that this would be extension of what you have proposed project.

                                                     

                                                    Basically I had in mind creating a PB addin that would look at the AF hierarchy and build the displays based on a template file; including all the correct symbols, VBA, .... ERDs go some way to solving this "problem" but they aren't capable of dealing with situations were there are varying elements; for example a flotation process unit might contain 10 rougher cells in two banks or 8 rougher cells in one bank.

                                                     

                                                    So the first question is does the very brief description above fit in with what you had in mind or am I simply off track. The second question is where do we start? I have some basic ideas. The templating side is an area I bit flummoxed on, I was think of using PDI files but I'm not sure how to add the logic around multiple symbols without reverting to doing this in VBA.

                                                     

                                                     

                                                    Hi Michael,

                                                     

                                                    Finally got 5 minutes...

                                                     

                                                    In a nutshell, yes, what you describe is pretty much along the lines of my original intentions.  I had a rough prototype built some time ago but I would start from scratch when resurrecting this project.

                                                     

                                                    I am interested in hearing Pimsoft's opinion on this topic considering the AF Modeler, I guess they are vCampus members just not that vocal?

                                                     

                                                    I'm still prepared to invest some time in this as I just signed up on a project to template (in AF) some assets and represent them in ProcessBook for manual entry, so I have some current motivation.