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From Julian Feinauer <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] The State and Future of PLC4X
Date Thu, 18 Apr 2019 09:27:06 GMT
Hi Chris,

there are two ways.. and you are doing the other one, I think : )
You are talking about the OPC UA interface for other drivers, or?
There, you do that implicitly by your config, so this is fine.

But, especially when we start to implement an OPC UA Driver, this will fall on our feet :


Am 18.04.19, 11:19 schrieb "Christofer Dutz" <>:

    Hi Julian
    I don't agree that we have to do the other first.
    Right now I was thinking about building a configuration that could offer a complex type
structure to OPC-UA clients but map simple Addresses to elements of such a tree. 
    So I think we could start without refactoring.
    Am 18.04.19, 09:15 schrieb "Julian Feinauer" <>:
        Hi Markus,
        I agree with you.
        And, as one can see in my mail.. there are multple efforts which are currently going.
        So perhaps, if we focus a bit, we should reach first results pretty fast.
        But I think one necessity is a refactoring to a complex type model.
        I will file a Jira for that.
        Am 18.04.19, 09:06 schrieb "Markus Sommer" <>:
            Hi all,
            I was at the Hannovermesse and the industry clearly relies on OPC UA. If PLC4x
could realize a very fast OPC UA, this would be a massive advantage over other manufacturers.
            Best regards
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            -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
            Von: Julian Feinauer <> 
            Gesendet: Mittwoch, 17. April 2019 09:07
            Betreff: [DISCUSS] The State and Future of PLC4X
            Hi all,
            as we had a lot of non-technical discussions and topics the last time (the coming
of age of a software project, I guess) it’s time for us to go back to the real fun part
and do technical shit.
            I had a lot of discussions (on list and off list) with several people like Chris,
Matthias, Björn, Tim and others and wanted to share my thoughts on the future of PLC4X as
I see it (from a solely technical perspective).
            Currently, I see several “fronts” or centers of activity (or where I think
we should spend it).
              *   Language adoption – We should define and deliver APIs and bindings for
other languages to bring what we currently have to other people and other communities. The
activities we have there are currently (from my head): Markus and C++, Björn who wanted to
investigate C# and the “Interop Server” which I played around a bit (in fact, Matthias
made a python binding yesterday…)
              *   Driver Generation – This is a well-known Topic which is currently driven
by Chris. This is a large topic, which includes
                 *   Model Generation (currently dfdl and state-xml)
                 *   Templates for many languages (will partially derive from above)
                 *   A build process, to wire both together
                 *   Some kind of Test Suite to check the correct generation of drivers
                 *   Automated Documentation / Spec Generation (!!
              *   Ecosystem / Tools – We have a set of tools that are based on PLC4X and
which enable to do things which where unthinkable before. Some are
                 *   Scraper – A tool to scrape massive amounts of data from multiple PLCs
based on a yml configuration, this is mostly driven by Tim
                 *   OPC UA Server – Yet to come. Maps OPC UA requests to PLC4X requests
which then go native to the PLCs. Matthias started some work on this, Tim looked over it and
I think Chris plans on implementing something here also
                 *   We had multiple discussions about tools that “guess” something about
locations of variables or their types. Chris brought that up yesterday and plans to do something
there, Matthias and I discussed this several times and we plan to also do something with one
or two students there
              *   New programming models – As plc4x is open, it allows us to implement new
programming models on top of it. The best example I can give is OPM, the JPA equivalent of
PLC4X. The idea is to work with POJOs and annotations and EntityManagers (as Beans) and have
a “type safe” and Business-esque way to communicate with PLCs.
            Here I see a lot of potential and possible next steps could be (discussed by Matthias
and me)
                 *   “Richer” Typesystem (not just primitives and Arrays as currently)
which covers complex objects
                 *   Mapping of complex objects from POJOs to PLC segments (Like structs in
S7 or ADS)
                 *   Auto-generation of annotated POJOs from PLC programs (much like JPA or
the C# ORM does that based on an existing database). This could be a “killer-feature”
as it would really allow type-safe end to end communication with the plc with zero plc specific
            Other Topics in this area that can be named are
                 *   A connection pool to share / reuse connections for efficiency (which
was implemented by Sebastian and is absolutely crucial for us!)
                 *   A central monitoring component (similar to how a Webserver monitors each
side access and the results and latencies and so..), I am currently working on this and hope
to provide a PR soon
            Of course, all of this is solely based on my personal opinion or things that came
out in discussions with other involved people.
            For me, this structure makes sense and perhaps it helps us to “broaden” our
scope a bit from the initial focus (drivers, drivers, drivers) to the new picture which evolved
over the last to years.
            Of course, feel free to agree, disagree or participate with other opinions.
            PS.: I could offer to bring this in a more “presentable” form and prepare
a short “overview” talk about this for the next meetup, if interesting

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