6 Replies Latest reply on Jun 17, 2011 2:40 PM by Gopal

    Manual Data Entry




      To start I think that we should ask the vCampus team to move this discussion to a different thread.


      We stopped using PIML awhile ago for a number of reasons. The list below is the highlights:

      • The configuration of PIML was cumbersome in comparison to things like AF
      • The actual client was beyond the limited ability of most of our operators; we really struggled with the concept of saving a tour and writing to PI. Although the client has quite a lot of features; the additional features simply caused confusion.
      • The tour concept proved to be a real issue for the operators.
      • The management of the PIML SQL database was lacking. This is an area that could be improved.
      • PIML requires that both PI and the SQL be online for the entries to work; otherwise the user get an error at some point. This tends to make life difficult as we can't take down the systems for maintenance; plus if there is a problem we lose the support of the operators very quickly. The solution must be able to work in a disconnected manner.

      We have implemented a simple solution in good old excel which is working well. What we are now doing is moving this solution to a dedicated client; a Silverlight client with a one-click install. We are currently in the scoping stage. I wasn't aware that this new version was being released this quickly; I will definitely take a look. I'm still of the opinion that we should look at using PIML as the back end with a custom front end.


      Gopal, I'm happy to share the scoping document with you. I'm afraid that this will have to be done offline for now.

        • Re: Manual Data Entry

          Thanks, Michael!


          Yes, indeed it is was a good idea to move this post to this new thread specific to Manual Data Entry.


          Just so everybody is aware and can find the other posts related to this new thread, this is the original thread.

            • Re: Manual Data Entry

              I pretty much have the same experiences as Michael has highlighted.


              Even though operators were used to other data collection applications and used terms like "data rounds", they didn't warm to "Tours" or "Tour Runs" (maybe fussy european operators ).  Having the grid approach to data entry for a tour was a plus but it lacked copy/paste to/from Excel, where in some circumstances the values had to be entered in to one system via Excel then also in to PI ML (there was no link between PI and the other system).  We look at the Import/Export utility but it looked as though it was add as an after thought - there was no supporting documents or utilities.  Everything had to be manually configured based on GUIDs of PI tags from SQL (I really didn't like this part) and was more effort than the benefits to be had.  Also, we were implementing against Collectives, which means having PItoPI interfaces and restricting PI SDK priorities.  Even with PI SDK 1.4 coming, I am nervous about having PIBufss running on each client (another conversation).


              I haven't evaluated the new version that you have screen shots of but from what I can see it looks vastly improved.  I will try and get some time to evaluate, especially the web interface and AF.  The solution we have is based on AF and linked in to ProcessBook displays - 2 clicks and a value is entered, PI ML was something like 9 clicks.  Clicks matter to operators!

                • Re: Manual Data Entry



                  I notice on the roadmap that there is no mention of AF for PI ML 2010 R2, can you confirm AF integration will be part of R2?  If AF integration is there then how are digitals handled? - By the use of corresponding enumeration sets or inheriting the digital state set from the digital tag?

                    • Re: Manual Data Entry

                      Digital state set from the digital tag

                        • Re: Manual Data Entry

                          Okay, thanks.


                          AF integration?  I have a ProcessBook add-in to be enhanced for better ERD compatibility for manually entered data, but I would like to at least explore PI ML 2010 R2 if it is linked in to AF.

                            • Re: Manual Data Entry

                              The AF integration is loosely coupled i.e. you have the PIML meta data in AF via templates. AFBuilder is one option to go from PIML XML to AF.  As mentioned in the earlier thread, the advantage of PIML meta data in AF is to reuse the config items (limits, schedule etc.) when required for reporting, or with other PI tools - see screens below.






                              And, now we can start thinking about other front ends for data entry with the Manual Entry tag templates exposed via AF.