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Home » Eclipse Projects » 4DIAC - Framework for Distributed Industrial Automation and Control » Plugin architecture for FORTE?
Plugin architecture for FORTE? [message #1771429] Fri, 25 August 2017 05:43 Go to next message
Neil Higgins is currently offline Neil HigginsFriend
Messages: 4
Registered: September 2016
Location: Brisbane
Junior Member
Has the possibility of implementing function blocks (say SIFBs and BFBs) as FORTE plugins ever been considered? The positive side is that function block development could be independent of FORTE itself. The consortium could concentrate on FORTE while opening the platform to a wider range of contributors. Platform-specific variations would be easier to accommodate, and alternative language implementations might also be easier. Code management and distribution would be easier. Debugging might be harder and there would be a small performance penalty (depending on implementation).

[Updated on: Fri, 25 August 2017 05:45]

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Re: Plugin architecture for FORTE? [message #1771450 is a reply to message #1771429] Fri, 25 August 2017 07:19 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Martin Melik-Merkumians is currently offline Martin Melik-MerkumiansFriend
Messages: 48
Registered: March 2016
Member
Hi Neil!

This is already part of FORTE. Everyone is able to contribute his/her own FBs as a so-called module into the FORTE source tree, via a CMakeLists file.
I am myself using this feature, I have created SIFBs which are utilizing the ADS interface of Beckhoff to communicate with a TwinCAT system. These FBs are not part of the eclipse release and can be easily added to FORTE by copying the ADS module source folder into the modules folder and enabling the module via CMake.
Re: Plugin architecture for FORTE? [message #1771483 is a reply to message #1771450] Fri, 25 August 2017 13:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Alois Zoitl is currently offline Alois ZoitlFriend
Messages: 645
Registered: January 2014
Senior Member
Hi Neil,

to add to martins comment, in the work for the upcoming release we noticed that having our code mixed with user code is sometimes hard to manage. Therefore we provide a new option which allows you to have FORTE extensions in an external directory separate to FORTE. This is especially handy for storing extensions in separate repositories.

But I'm not sure if this is the core question of Neil. Maybe Neil you are interested also in functions where FORTE can be extended with new FB types without the need to compile the full FORTE. This feature is also under work, you can find it in the issuetracker under names where LUA is involved. The core idea is that with this extensions 4diac-ide and forte are extended in such a way that during deployment the code of new FB types is downloaded into FORTE. For this we use the LUA interpreting engine. If you want to test it you can find a first, I would say alpha stage, version in the development branches of both 4diac-ide and forte repositories.
Re: Plugin architecture for FORTE? [message #1771558 is a reply to message #1771483] Mon, 28 August 2017 01:28 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Neil Higgins is currently offline Neil HigginsFriend
Messages: 4
Registered: September 2016
Location: Brisbane
Junior Member
Hi Alois. Yes, it is the latter form of plugin that I have in mind. Essentially, it would provide not only code isolation for platform-specific extensions, but the ability to extend functionality without recompiling the core. I realise that this would have the potential to conflict with the open-source nature of the project - that would be a disadvantage - but considering the level of portability of the core, a mechanism for further reducing dependencies between the core and extensions could be useful.
Re: Plugin architecture for FORTE? [message #1771573 is a reply to message #1771558] Mon, 28 August 2017 08:53 Go to previous message
Alois Zoitl is currently offline Alois ZoitlFriend
Messages: 645
Registered: January 2014
Senior Member
Hi Neil, I don't see the conflict between open source and your request. From the beginning we considered the possibility of proprietary extensions of 4diac. That was one of the main reasons that we chose EPL as license and also the code is structured such that non open source extensions can be handled better. In the other hand EPL protects our code very well and we hope to have best of both worlds.
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