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From Christofer Dutz <>
Subject Re: [DISCUSS] The State and Future of PLC4X
Date Mon, 06 May 2019 08:24:49 GMT
Hi Rolf,

I sort of didn’t see the intermediate emails on the list, so replying to multiple ones here
… as I manually had to release this one, I guess you are not all subscribed to the mailing
list. Please do so by sending an email to<>
… otherwise I will have to manually release every email you send ;)

As Julian mentioned, the meetup date has been set to 24. May 2019 in our codecentric office
in Franfurt.

Regarding OPC-UA … I think we have to distinguish between OPC-UA Server and Client functionality.
While OPC-UA Client is definitely something we have on our plan (Being able to connect to
OPC-UA enabled devices), also an OPC-UA Bridge utility have been discussed (Connect an OPC-UA
client to this server and in the backend this uses PLC4X to connect to non-OPC-UA devices)
and its implementation might even start earlier (Will be decided in the next few days if this
gets prioritized up).

We already have the Specs for Profinet here at codecentric and Ethercat is also on our ToDo
list. Howerver for Ethercat we haven’t got the specs yet.

Currently we are working on preparing a new way of creating drivers therefore we haven’t
added new protocols for quite some time. But I hope we’ll get that finished soon and be
able to start mass-producing new drivers as soon as that’s done (It would have been a nightmare
to implement, maintain and sync drivers in currently 4 languages, therefore we are working
on a driver specification and generation tooling that will automatically keep all driver implementations
in sync).

Regarding OPC-UA: I think we could probably implement quite an efficient OPC-UA driver, if
we limit the OPC-UA features we support. So instead of providing all the features, if we concentrate
on the Data-Exchange part, I bet this could be quite efficient. But we’ll see how they perform
as soon as we have them … but it wouldn’t be the first time we out-perform the insanely
expensive industry solutions ;-)


Von: Rolf Wutzke <>
Antworten an: "" <>
Datum: Montag, 6. Mai 2019 um 10:04
An: Julian Feinauer <>
Cc: "" <>, Ralf Kölle <>
Betreff: Re: [DISCUSS] The State and Future of PLC4X

Hi Julian,

thanks for adding us here.
We are currently not working with PLC4X but the topic looks quite promissing to jump onto.
At the moment we have a lot of PLX connection implementations done by our own which is ...

Are there any news in regard to the meetup date? I put my availability in the doodle, would
be really happy to discuss the topic face-2-face with the rest.


Am Do., 18. Apr. 2019 um 10:29 Uhr schrieb Julian Feinauer <<>>:
Hi all,

Fedlbus is a good Keyword.
Yesterday I met with Ralf Koelle and Rolf Wutzke from scitis / sotec and they were quite interested
in these two.

@Ralf, @Rolf: I took the freedom to take you in CC. Do you already have a working stack for
these protocols?


Am 18.04.19, 10:14 schrieb "Bjoern Hoeper" <<>>:

    Hi erveryone,
    I agree with Markus because OPC UA is somewhat universal. If we want something open source
there is a stack which is quite evolved already: it
is maintained by a bunch of institutes (one of them is the Process Control Institute in Aachen).
So we should at least think about an adapter to OPC UA. The thing we would need to prove is
that we can really get faster than the vendor OPC UA server.

    Another thing that I think is promising and needed is adaptation to field bus systems
like Profinet and EtherCAT because they provide good performance and a quite general applicability.
And are at least not vendor specific.

    Best Regards

    -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
    Von: Markus Sommer <<>>
    Gesendet: Donnerstag, 18. April 2019 09:06
    Betreff: AW: [DISCUSS] The State and Future of PLC4X

    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
      *   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
         *   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 knowledge

    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

Rolf Wutzke | SOTEC |<> | T +49 7033 5458
56 | M +49 171 286 4514

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