The addition of a secure RESTful server and an open, documented API to a programmable automation controller (PAC) is a significant, ground-breaking industry innovation, because REST architecture and associated technology are intrinsic to the Internet of Things and paramount to web and mobile-based application development. Opto 22’s implementation of REST directly into a commercially available, off-the-shelf industrial PAC is unique in the market and places the company as the first and only industrial automation and controls manufacturer to offer this industry-changing technology.
Other features found in this new version include new tools to develop modular control applications with nested subroutines, new 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.
An Industry First
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 well-known and widely supported JSON data format. This new 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 PAC-R and PAC-S 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 securely accessed using the new, fully documented 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.
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™.
• 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.