Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keeping Focus

I’m just back from a week of vacation at the beach. Very relaxing (except for having to get my presentations done for Emerson Exchange).

I got a call yesterday from one of my customers who’s just upgraded to version 10.3 of DeltaV. In case you haven’t heard, Emerson has equipped the new versions of control and recipe studio with Microsoft’s ribbon technology (ala Office 2007).

So Ray asks me “how do you know which control studio session has focus”? I hadn’t looked that close at 10.3 yet, but from past experience, the title bar at the top of the window is usually darker if that window has focus:

So I open up 10.3, launch three control studio windows, put them next to one another and damn if you can’t tell which one has focus:

Not a show stopper, but something to watch out for (BTW, the CS window in the upper left had focus).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another 10.3 Nugget

Not everything that’s new in DeltaV version 10 is in the New Features section of the release notes – some new stuff is detailed in the Enhanced Functionality section.

Case in point – Linker utilities have been added to the batch toolbar to make linking the ActiveX buttons and lists in DeltaV Operate easy. Prior to version 10, a little under the hood magic was required to tie the objects together.

Just mouse over the buttons in the DeltaV Batch toolbar and you’ll notice the 3 new linker utilities:

Select the linker of your choice (below is the batch list control linker).

Be sure to select the linker after you’ve dropped the two items to be linked on the graphic – otherwise, you won’t be able to select them and complete the operation.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shareware Behavior

The powerful little workhorses inside of the work instructions of Syncade are called “Behaviors”. I wondered where this terminology came from so I turned to the one true source of all knowledge on the Internet – Wikipedia. Once you wade through the animal and psychology sections, you get this definition:

Behavior as used in computer science is an anthropomorphic construct that assigns ‘life’ to the activities carried out by a computer, computer application, or computer code in response to stimuli, such as user input. Also, ‘a behavior’ is a reusable block of computer code or script that, when applied to an object (computer science), especially a graphical one, causes it to respond to user input in meaningful patterns or to operate independently”

Out of the RA (Recipe Authoring) box you get some behaviors as part of Syncade. You also get a nifty Behavior Editor program for developing your own. As part of our in-house development work with Syncade, Scott Thompson came up with a clever new behavior to generate an email REM_SIMPLE_EMAIL.

You could conditionally notify a supervisor his attention is need – based on events. You could generate the status of an order, from inside the order, to folks who aren’t normally monitoring the batch. You could automatically notify your local business partner to dispatch a site services engineer because of an equipment or instrumentation failure.

I think there’re so many uses, I’ve posted the behavior up on the acmebiotech.com web site and made it available as a shareware, as-is download. Follow this link to the page for both the behavior and detailed instructions.

If you like it (or hate it), tell Scott and I about it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Remote Terminal Sessions with Monitor Spanning

Here’s another cool feature on DeltaV version 10 – maybe enough to get you to run right out and upgrade this week!

Version 10 now supports spanning monitors of DeltaV Operate on a remote terminal session. So for instance, if you connect to a remote session from any old PC with a couple of monitors attached, DeltaV Operate is smart enough to automatically give me a dual head session.

There are a couple of caveats:
  • The monitors have to be in the horizontal configuration
  • The maximum horizontal pixel width is 4096

The pixel width limitation means you can have 2 widescreen monitors side by side, or 3 1280x1024 monitors, or 4 1024x768 (but nobody uses that anymore, right?).

So you’re asking “Quick, tell me how to do this!” – It’s pretty easy. Most folks are familiar with the Remote Desktop Connection dialog box:

The thing is, there’s this /span option, and it’s not a selection as part of the Desktop dialog box. To use it, you need to use the mstsc command prompt. After creating the above .rdp file, you create a .bat file with the mstsc command:

By double clicking on the .rdp file, you get a single monitor session. Double clicking on the .bat file, you get a double wide!