The TOP Server's support
of Wonderware's FastDDE and SuiteLink simplifies the task
of connecting the server with FactorySuite applications such as InTouch.
By using the Wonderware connectivity toolkit, our TOP Server can simultaneously
provide OPC and FastDDE/SuiteLink connectivity to address your communications
needs. With built-in support of these Client/Server technologies, the TOP Server
allows you to quickly access device data without the need to use an
intermediary software bridge as is done when using a strictly OPC only
communications server. For Wonderware users the familiar look and feel
of FastDDE/SuiteLink tag database setup is maintained.
The TOP Server makes the best use of these technologies by using only the
components necessary for Wonderware users. If you are not a Wonderware
user there's no need to be concerned, the TOP Server still uses its own
OPC technology to provide the best performance available for OPC client
Important Note: This page will only be displayed in the server's
Options menu if a Wonderware FactorySuite product is installed on your
PC. Specifically, the Wonderware Suite Common Components must be installed
on your PC for proper FastDDE/SuiteLink operation.
"Enable FastDDE/SuiteLink" option allows you to turn support of these
Client/Server protocols On or Off. By default this setting will be enabled
when a Wonderware product is installed on your PC. If FastDDE/SuiteLink
operation is turned off, the server will not respond to any request
for FastDDE or SuiteLink data. If you intend to use the TOP Server only
as an OPC server you may want to disable FastDDE/SuiteLink operation
This can increase the security of your data and improve the overall
performance of the server.
The "Update active clients" option configures how often new data will
be sent to attached FastDDE/SuiteLink client applications. The range
is 20 to 32000 milliseconds, with a default of 100 milliseconds. The
"Update active clients" timer is used to allow FastDDE/SuiteLink data
to be batched up for transfer to client applications. When using a Client/Server
protocol like FastDDE or SuiteLink, performance gains only come when
large blocks of server data can be sent in a single response. To improve
the ability of the server to gather a large block of data, the update
timer can be set to allow a pool of new data to accumulate before being
sent to a client application. An important thing to remember is that
this update rate applies to how often data is sent to the client application
not how often the data is read from your device. You can still use the
tag setting "DDE scan rate" to adjust how fast or slow the server acquires
data from an attached device.
Using TOP Server data in Wonderware
This section describes the changes that have been made to the TOP Server
to support FastDDE/SuiteLink operation and how those changes can be
used to get data into your FactorySuite application. This section doesn't
get into the specifics of connecting with FactorySuite. That can be
found in the our connectivity guide supplied with your purchased product
or available from our web site.
The TOP Server is first and foremost an OPC server, as such common FastDDE/SuiteLink
nomenclature such as DDE Service name, Topic name, and Item name are
applied differently from their OPC equivalents.
Like any DDE server, the TOP Server must register itself as a DDE service
provider. To do so a DDE Service name must be registered with the system.
Normally this name can be anything your application may require. For
proper FastDDE/SuiteLink operation this name must match the name of
the TOP Server executable file which is "Servermain". With this in
mind you must use this name when you configure an Access Name in your
FactorySuite application. If you intend to use SuiteLink as your Client/Server
protocol you must also configure a PC node name. This applies even if
the TOP Server and your FactorySuite application exist on the same PC.
shown here the Access Name dialog "Node Name" must match the name of
your PC if you intent to use SuiteLink. The "Application Name" must
match the predefined DDE Service name of "Servermain" for both FastDDE
and SuiteLink operation. The "Topic Name" is one area where the TOP Server
has been enhanced to make using the server within the FactorySuite environment
Normally as an OPC server, the TOP Server provides a complex hierarchical
structure to manage how individual items are referenced in the server.
For an OPC client this normally doesn't present a problem due to the
support of tag browsing. DDE client applications historically have relied
on a much more simplified Application|Topic!Item method of referencing
data within a server. If you look at a typical TOP Server application
you may see a configuration that appears similar to the following:
you review the section on how to use TOP Server data in a DDE application
you would find that the tag "ToolDepth" could be access as follows:
Application Name = Servermain
Topic Name = _ddedata
Item Name = Channel1.Device1.Machine1.Cell2.ToolDepth
shown here the actual topic name is the default topic of "_ddedata".
The item name is "Channel1.Device1.Machine1.Cell2.ToolDepth" which encompasses
the whole path to the item. As can easily be seen this would make using
TOP Server data very time consuming when establishing your FactorySuite
tag database. To make this easier the TOP Server supports an Alias Map
function to provide DDE topic names. The Alias Map feature has been
a part of the TOP Server since its inception, however with the addition
of FastDDE/SuiteLink support the Alias Map will now automatically be
generated as you create your TOP Server application.
Using the TOP Server project shown above the Alias Map generated would
appear as follows: