Opto 22 releases PAC Project Automation Software v9.5 | Automation.com

Opto 22 releases PAC Project Automation Software v9.5

July 27, 2016 - Industrial automation manufacturer Opto 22 has announced immediate availability of version 9.5 of PAC Project, a Microsoft Windows-based integrated software development suite for industrial automation, process control, remote monitoring, and Internet of Things applications. The most significant addition in this version is new firmware for Opto 22 programmable automation controllers (PACs) that includes an HTTP/S server with a RESTful API, providing developers with secure, programmatic access to control variables and I/O data using any programming language that supports JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). This capability closes the IT/OT gap, allows for rapid Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) application development, provides for secure data exchange using open Internet standards, and reduces time to market in machine and system design.

Other features found in this new version include tools to develop modular control applications with nested subroutines, debugging tools to reduce development time, support for a worldwide installed base of legacy Optomux I/O systems, and integration of third-party systems and protocols with the IIoT. To provide enhanced security and auditing for HMI access, PAC Project now offers sophisticated user groups and data rights, as well as the ability to embed video directly into HMI windows.

PAC Project 9.5 provides updated firmware for Opto 22 SNAP PAC S-series and R-series controllers that enables a secure HTTPS server on PAC controllers. Combined with a RESTful open and documented API, this new version allows developers to write applications that access data on the PAC using the developer’s programming language of choice with the JSON data format. This capability allows software and IoT application developers to decrease time to market, reduce the development learning curve, and eliminate layers of middleware for secure Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications.

Firmware version 9.5 for SNAP PAC R-series and S-series controllers enables REST endpoints for both analog and digital I/O points as well as control program variables including strings, floats, timers, integers, and tables. REST endpoints are accessed using the RESTful API for SNAP PACs. Names of RESTful endpoints are derived from a configured PAC Control program strategy file and are therefore unique to each PAC’s program and I/O configuration.

Client data requests are returned in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) format, enabling PAC controllers and I/O to be used with virtually any software development language with JSON support, including C, C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, node.js, Python, PHP, Ruby, and many more. Database support is also available for database tools that work with JSON, like MongoDB®, MySQL®, and Microsoft’s SQL Server®. With the release of PAC Project 9.5, developers are no longer tied to a specific manufacturer's software development environment. They can use the development environment and language of their choosing to write new software, create web services, and build Internet of Things applications.

RESTful data from PACs is secured using TLS encryption over HTTPS connections authenticated using basic access authentication (Basic Auth). RESTful data access can be restricted to read-only use, or allow reading and writing to I/O and strategy variables. The HTTP/S server is disabled by default and must be configured and enabled to operate, preventing unwanted or unauthorized access to the controller over HTTP.

Also included in this release are two Node-RED nodes, used for communicating with SNAP PAC controllers through the RESTful API with Node-RED, a visual tool for wiring up the Internet of Things. Node-RED is an open-source, graphical, flow-based application development tool designed by the IBM Emerging Technology organization that makes wiring up APIs, represented as “nodes,” simple and easy to do. Node-RED is particularly useful for developing IoT applications that interact with cloud-based platforms and APIs, such as IBM Bluemix, IBM Watson, Amazon’s AWS IoT, AT&T® MX2, Microsoft Azure®, and Google Cloud Platform.

For more information on working with the new RESTful server for Opto 22 PACs, reviewing the open and documented RESTful API for SNAP PAC controllers, and using SNAP PAC Node-RED nodes, please visit http://developer.opto22.com.