The user interface of Wonderware’s Application Server, called the Integrated Development Environment (IDE), provides users with a graphical picture of their Galaxy from a number of different perspectives and works well with small to medium-sized applications.
When dealing with large numbers of complex objects, however, Flexware and its customers wanted an environment that could more easily speed the process of creation and maintenance of objects, as well as I/O assignments of object instances.
The Galaxy Object Manager provides a means to create and maintain a galaxy—templates, instances, scripts, UDAs, field attributes, etc. for both standard and client developed objects. The core features are:
- All templates and instances can be completely imported and exported and therefore maintained externally.
- As of Application Server 2014R2, graphics (symbols, template, and instance level) can also be exported and imported into an easy to edit XML structure.
- Editing large numbers of items becomes much faster and easier, including UDA arrays, extensions and scripts.
- Galaxy Object Manager supports both the use of XML and CSV for the import / export of galaxies. CSV format files can include programmatic extensions.
- Supports the import of objects in an easy-to-modify format which assists in assigning I/O, alarm messages and descriptions.
- Easily assign I/O address to object instances based on data output from a galaxy.
- Enables objects to be renamed easily and simply.
- Save large or complex scripts to files, edit scripts, provide search / replace on scripts and then update objects or create new objects with these scripts.
- Ability to search exported files (object definition, scripts, and graphics) for information. Can use external tools (such as Notepad++) to search and replace information quickly across a large number of objects.
The Galaxy Object Manager is much more than a DBDump / DBLoad for System Platform. It provides capability to import / export but the import files include commands to create, modify and delete object libraries, templates and instances. It works not only with the standard objects but also with custom developed objects.
- Support for User Defined Attribute (UDA) arrays.
- Supports 2014R2 attribute extensions.
- Provides the ability to insert levels of template hierarchy into the parent / child relationship as desired.
- Provides the ability to promote instances to templates or demote templates to instances.
- Has a programmatic interface for command files (looping, conditionals, includes). This can provide enhanced scripts to create templates, attributes, or instances rapidly using “common” code.
Unique features not available in the IDE
- Delete hierarchical templates and instances without the need to delete all the children first.
- Perform cascade attribute unlocks for all child templates.
- Compare properties between two objects for differences
Where to apply?
- New or Existing Galaxy. Users can both create a galaxy from scratch in the Galaxy Object Manager, or export an existing galaxy that was created in the IDE, and begin maintaining it from that point forward in the Galaxy Object Manager (or mix maintenance between the IDE and the Galaxy Object Manager).
- Speed & Version Control. Although enormously increased speed and ease of use are the most obvious advantages, users can also utilize Galaxy Object Manager exports of a galaxy as a means to accomplish version control.
Flexware has used the Galaxy Object Manager on many System Platform projects. For galaxy development, the amount of time that can be saved over using the IDE depends on how large the galaxy is and how much repetitive activity there is in development. But the savings is often huge. Two examples:
- The Galaxy Object Manager was applied on a project. The time to create and edit the large number of objects and instances was reduced by a factor of 5, from three weeks to three days.
- Flexware also achieved a roughly 80% time savings taking a general template model for a MES and implementing it at numerous plants. In these cases, in addition to the development work, there are about 700 objects that need instantiation with various configurations, which would take several days to do in the IDE. It takes 20 minutes using the Galaxy Object Manager.
The benefits for galaxy maintenance are virtually always large. Recently just before the commissioning of a new large production line, one of the equipment vendors unilaterally made a change to the interface between their PLCs and many of our MES objects. By using the Galaxy Object Manager, Flexware’s engineers made the changes in hours, rather than days to allow the commissioning to proceed without delay.
See our White Paper: Flexware’s Galaxy Object Manager (GOM) – Why Our Customers Should Care
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