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Old February 4th, 2013, 11:28 AM   #1
L1234
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FactoryTalk View Studio

Hey everyone,

Currently I'm using FactoryTalk View Studio to work with PanelView Plus Compact600.

Basically, I need to display a simple message to the user when the PanelView looses communication with the controller. I want the message to pop up in one of my created Displays.
I managed to setup a Diagnostics List to display error messages, which is related to the communication errors. The messages seem to be really complex for user information purpose. I just want to notify the user that "Comms have failed with the Controller".

Hope someone can help me with this
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Old February 4th, 2013, 11:51 AM   #2
Ken Roach
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Look up the RSLinx Enterprise "Pre-Defined Items". These are prefaced with the "@" symbol and can be used like HMI Tags in the application.

The simplest way to announce loss of communication with the controller is to connect the Visibility Animation of a text or graphic object with the "[Shortcut]@IsPresent" pre-defined Item.

@IsPresent might still have the strange limitation that you need to create a fake Shortcut to a "PLC-5" type controller just to host it... look around the RA Knowledgebase for details on that.

[Edit] The PLC-5 type shortcut was for the pre-defined Item in RSLinx Classic. In RSLinx Enterprise, just navigate to the Shortcut, then the Diagnostic Items folder, and select @IsPresent or any of the other diagnostic items.

Last edited by Ken Roach; February 4th, 2013 at 12:23 PM.
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Old February 4th, 2013, 12:37 PM   #3
L1234
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Thanks a lot for that.
Its exactly what I wanted.
I can now display the Comms failure by just using the tag @IsPresent.
Thank you
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Old January 8th, 2018, 01:30 PM   #4
keshik
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[I know this is an ancient thread]

Just adding an update to this thread with some relevant KnowledgeBase articles:
KB:825853 Displaying lost communication to Logix controllers on PanelView Plus [TechConnect]
KB:43438 @IsPresent is slow to change when the Ethernet cable is pulled [TechConnect]
KB:23092 DDE/OPC: Using the @IsPresent Predefined Item to Determine Logix Communication Status [TechConnect]

Additional information on the predefined items
KB:51511 ControlLogix Predefined Diagnostic Items for RSLinx Enterprise [TechConnect]
KB:9398 Logix Platform: Diagnostic information via RSLinx Classic or RSlinx Enterprise [TechConnect]

Also, if you need more information on the predefined items, take a look at the RSLinx Enterprise help. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post how to locate it as the entirety of KB 51511 is how to find it. Kind of an odd one to be at TechConnect level.
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Old January 8th, 2018, 02:03 PM   #5
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A subtle rebuttal - never blatant or patent!

Quote:
Originally Posted by keshik
...Also, if you need more information on the predefined items, take a look at the RSLinx Enterprise help. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post how to locate it as the entirety of KB 51511 is how to find it. Kind of an odd one to be at TechConnect level.
keshik,

I usually find that it's quite easy to just make a subtle passing "statement" which references these somewhat trivial tips and tricks, regardless of where the information was first discovered. Who's to say you didn't already know of this information and are just simply passing it on in good faith?...

Did you know - If you open FactoryTalk View Studio, select "Help>Contents" from the top menu, and then choose the "Search" tab, and then type and enter "predefined items", it will take you to a list of all the predefined items with explanations included.

Once you are not perceived as blatantly copying information verbatim, then I think you should be fine.

Regards,
George
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Old January 8th, 2018, 03:37 PM   #6
keshik
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Unfortunately the FactoryTalk View Studio help is different from the RSLinx Enterprise help. You have to get at it through the RSLinx Enterprise portion of FactoryTalk View.

Turns out there's another way to get there.
Go To RSLinx Enterprise >> Communication Setup. Once on that screen (where you set your PLC shortcuts) there's a "Help" button in the bottom right corner by the "OK", "Cancel", and "Verify" buttons. Once in the RSLinx Enterprise help search away. The "@" items are all in there as well as searching for "predefined items".
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Old January 8th, 2018, 09:01 PM   #7
Geospark
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keshik
Unfortunately the FactoryTalk View Studio help is different from the RSLinx Enterprise help...
Oh, I must have missed something? What is different in the information provided using any of the routes we have outlined to get to the "Help"?

Are you saying that what I have outlined does not yield any or all information pertaining to the @predefined items?

I intentionally demonstrated the path to get to the Help in FactoryTalk View Studio, as opposed to getting to the Help via the RSLinx Enterprise instance properties within an application project tree, as described in the technote, and also not via the Communications Setup window itself, as you have now further outlined.

This was so my example did not actually convey the instructions in the technote you provided, yet still demonstrated a "way" to get to the same information. Or what I believed to be the same information.

I could, of course, have simply outlined what was in the technote, or indeed the other method you have outlined, as I am aware of it, but either way, it was my understanding that all routes lead to the same information?

My assessment of the information being the same is based on the fact that all the @predefined items pertain to RSLinx Enterprise. As such, any mention of these items, in any Help, should be the same as there are none, that I know of, that do not pertain to RSLinx Enterprise.

I'm not in front of software again until day after next. So genuinely, I am asking what is different in the information provided regarding the list of @predefined items you can find using any of the mentioned routes to the Help?

Regards,
George
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Old January 9th, 2018, 11:50 AM   #8
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George - as far as I can determine, the "RSLinx Enterprise Help" is a separate thing from "FactoryTalk View Machine Edition Help". They open up different help files (different Contents and all that). In fact, if you open a SE application and go to help you get "FactoryTalk View Site Edition Help". They all have different information from each other.

I'm guessing that because the predefined items are actually RSLinx Enterprise items (for example, you could access them through a DDE/OPC interface instead of FactoryTalk View) and not FactoryTalk View items they are not shown in the FactoryTalk View help.

On the more original subject, I did find the below in the RSLinx Enterprise Getting Results PDF (http://literature.rockwellautomation...r001_-en-e.pdf), so I suppose this information isn't Technote Top Secret.
Quote:
Where is the help for RSLinx Enterprise?

From the FactoryTalk Administration Console, select Help > Contents > FactoryTalk Help > Work with RSLinx Enterprise. If this book is not present, RSLinx Enterprise is not installed on your computer. Refer to Chapter 3 for the installation procedure.
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Old January 9th, 2018, 12:00 PM   #9
bright676
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More than one way to skin a cat.............
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Old January 9th, 2018, 12:57 PM   #10
arlenjacobs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keshik View Post
Unfortunately the FactoryTalk View Studio help is different from the RSLinx Enterprise help. You have to get at it through the RSLinx Enterprise portion of FactoryTalk View.

Turns out there's another way to get there.
Go To RSLinx Enterprise >> Communication Setup. Once on that screen (where you set your PLC shortcuts) there's a "Help" button in the bottom right corner by the "OK", "Cancel", and "Verify" buttons. Once in the RSLinx Enterprise help search away. The "@" items are all in there as well as searching for "predefined items".
At least for FTView Studio v9.0 that is the ONLY way to get access to the predefined items: you must open an RSLinx Enterprise dialog and click the help button there.


RSlinx topics are no longer included in the FTView Studio help; so you have to open the RSLinx Enterprise help to see the predefined items list (@ items).

The only way I found to do that is to open RSLinx Enterprise and click the help button (from RSLE server properties or shortcuts dialog)
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Old January 10th, 2018, 06:46 PM   #11
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Ahaa, that is interesting and why I genuinely wanted to know, keshik, what you, or anyone else has found to be different here. I could not see any difference, but now I know why!

arlenjacobs,

I think you've solved this riddle as to why myself and keshik were on different pages, so to speak...

I was referencing the Help from within FTVS v6 inside a VM, as I just happened to have that open when I took a break and was replying here the last day. I actually took a particular screenshot of this earlier this morning to reply here with my findings on the Help contents, but hadn't time to post it up. I was going to do it tomorrow as the screenshot is on a laptop in work (I'm at home with no software).

Just to proffer - I was/am fully aware that the Help applet, opened via the RSLinx Enterprise shortcuts, is specific to just RSLinx Enterprise and not the same main Help applet opened by FTVS itself. I was never in doubt or questioning that fact. I was questioning the differences, if any, in the availability and content of the same RSLinx Enterprise information that you can find in both Help applets.

The main FTVS Help, in version 6 of FTVS that I searched, contains the entire section dedicated to RSLinx Enterprise in exactly the same structure and content as the RSLinx Enterprise specific Help. Everything.

Any of us that have that version can check, but for clarification, I will post that screenshot tomorrow which displays both applets open at once with identical information available.

From what ye are saying, at some future version, which I can't check right now (perhaps someone else can - v7 or v8?), but definitely at v9 of FTVS, they decided to strip out the likes of the RSLinx Enterprise content from the main Help, and possibly others; leaving them to now only be found in the specific Help applets for those features. Applets which are not easily found we would agree?

If doing so, they should have considered creating a list of Help links under the Help context menu at top of the software. This would be normal practice when there are several separate Help applets pertaining to different features of a software product. That hasn't been done, no?

But either way, a strange move to strip the content, I must say? It would have been doubling up on a certain ammount of space but would it be a deal breaker? I'm sure they have their reasons?

Until tommorow then and thanks for the enlightenment. I love learning new "things", especially Rockwell "things". They do like to keep us on our toes and constantly guessing.

Regards,
George
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Old January 10th, 2018, 06:50 PM   #12
keshik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geospark View Post
I love learning new "things", especially Rockwell "things". They do like to keep us on our toes and constantly guessing.
Aren't those words the truth?

For what it's worth, I'm running FactoryTalk View v8.0.
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Old January 12th, 2018, 01:05 PM   #13
arlenjacobs
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geospark View Post
From what ye are saying, at some future version, which I can't check right now (perhaps someone else can - v7 or v8?), but definitely at v9 of FTVS, they decided to strip out the likes of the RSLinx Enterprise content from the main Help, and possibly others; leaving them to now only be found in the specific Help applets for those features. Applets which are not easily found we would agree?
Maybe v.7. But regardless, it is painfully difficult to find the RSLinx Enterprise help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geospark View Post
If doing so, they should have considered creating a list of Help links under the Help context menu at top of the software. This would be normal practice when there are several separate Help applets pertaining to different features of a software product. That hasn't been done, no?
No, not done.
You cannot find RSLinx Enterprise help under the Help menu in FTView Studio.

Going a step further, every other FactoryTalk component has a help file listed in the Start menu. They are listed in the program shortcuts Start>Programs>Rockwell Software
But, not RSLinx Enterprise. Doesn't exist (from what I could see).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Geospark View Post
But either way, a strange move to strip the content, I must say? It would have been doubling up on a certain ammount of space but would it be a deal breaker? I'm sure they have their reasons?
If I had to make an educated guess: keeping them apart is easier for development, to ensure there is no outdated or inconsistent info.
The developers and tech writers for FactoryTalk View and RSLinx Enterprise are probably not the same group of people.
RSLE is used in multiple products, so it does need its own help.
Duplicate the RSLE help in every other FT product?
What happens if you update FTView but not RSLE? or the other?
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Old January 12th, 2018, 04:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arlenjacobs
...What happens if you update FTView but not RSLE? or the other?
Yes, that's a very good point and highly likely to be the case. As, I said, there is often a very good reason for these changes and it's quite easy for us to bemoan such facts, without considering the "bigger picture".

Having said that, FTVS and RSLE have always been extremely closely aligned software products. Each updated version of FTVS is released with an equivalent updated version of RSLE and it is intended to be embedded in the FTVS software environment. It's not to say you cannot break the intended relationships, but generally they would have expected the matching two be installed together. Hence, the Help content would also match. Perhaps it has too often been the case that they were found to be "playing away" with another version, and so they decided to let them go their separate ways, for good, at least with regard to the RSLE Help?

But, on the shortcut to the RSLinx Enterprise Help - the developers could use a fixed location for the installation of this Help applet, if it does not already exist. That way, a shortcut link, from any other location, inside or outside of software, could easily open it, irrespective of versions, within reason. Even if RSLE or FTVS are updated separately, the link should and could remain valid between the two.

But, another but, what if a feature in one product version relies on the other being at a compatible version, and it is not? The interlinked and convenient shortcut to the Help could be stating things, in what appears to be a native environment for that Help content, that are simply not true, or available?

Keeping a products Help within itself is probably the better way to go, for a normal piece of standalone software. But RSLE is not normal. It is a complimentary communications tool for the FactoryTalk platform and so is intertwined in many a web. Because you do not open the software as a standalone product, instead opening it in an embedded fashion within other products, it is very difficult to distinguish or establish a separation between the two products. The old Help being a good example of interdependency. Within this environment, they have now chosen to provide the Help at that separated level, without making it any clearer to less knowledgeable users, that they are, or ever were separate products.

So now the old and obscure routes to the RSLE Help, which did not previously matter as you had it all in the main FTVS Help, are the only means to access what is, undoubtedly, extremely important information, especially for those less knowledgeable users who again, may not even realize the degree of separation at play here.

You can hear a lot of "Hey? Why is there nothing in the FTVS Help about RSLE?" after this change. But hopefully our little discussion here will have enlightened at least a few good souls that Rockwell wont get to take!

Just for good measure, here is that screenshot I promised showing the old way with the exact same RSLE content in both the FTVS & RSLE Help...



Regards,
George
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