Fieldbus Foundation releases new device description (DD) enhancements

Austin, Texas, July 22 -- The Fieldbus Foundation today announced the latest updates to its Foundation fieldbus Device Description (DD) tools and specifications. The new releases for DD technology, which is fully compliant with the IEC 61804 and ISA104 Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) profile, include enhanced versions of DD Services (Version 5.1.0), DD Integrated Development Environment (Version 1.1.0), Device Description Language Interoperability Specification (FF-901), Device Description Language Specification (FF-900) and DD Library (Version 3.2).

The Fieldbus Foundation's manager-fieldbus products, Stephen Mitschke, commented, "The updated DD solutions build upon the robust functionality of the previous DD 5.0 release and are intended to help device developers, system suppliers and end users advance the performance of their Foundation fieldbus products."

Mitschke indicated that the latest DD enhancements support Unicode, providing Foundation fieldbus device and system suppliers with an expanded ability to write and visualize DDs using local languages, including Asian languages. The enhancements also allow developers to build device-level menus, thus enabling visualization of multiple blocks and significantly improving the device integration experience. In addition, support for new parameter attributes will ensure an enhanced user interface for accessing devices.

Mitschke added that support for device-level menus will become mandatory as part of the Fieldbus Foundation's host profile test and registration program. Like the current device registration process, host registration will strengthen fieldbus interoperability and system integration. Hosts successfully completing registration testing will be authorized to bear the foundation's official product registration symbol.

Both of the DD technical documents (FF-900 and FF-901) fully describe the new enhancements and are included in the Foundation fieldbus technical specification. These documents are available for download on Fieldbus Forums to all foundation members with a specification maintenance agreement.

Foundation fieldbus DD Services is a versatile development resource making it easier for host applications to access Foundation device information and work with DDs more efficiently. Operating much like a query server for a database management system, DD Services frees hosts from the burden of decoding DD binary files. The host application constructs a request to access specific information about a device, and DD Services extracts the information from the DD binary file. The host application is relieved of having to know the format of the DD binary file and then searching the file for the information it needs.

DD Services Version 5.1.0 delivers an integrated view of fieldbus devices through DD Menus. The new release is backward-compatible with all existing DD implementations, but still offers new features required for device registration, such as support for device-level menus and Unicode.

The Device Description Integrated Development Environment (DD-IDE) provides a single, easy-to-use application for developing, testing and debugging DD files. It is designed for fast, automatic code completion as the developer types code into DD project files. The application includes an online method debugger with watch window; an integrated text editor with customizable syntax highlighting and color-coding; an output window to display progress and errors during tokenizing; customizable project settings; a global file search tool; customizable tag files; and a project resource tree for management and development.

DD-IDE Version 1.1.0 provides enhanced support for visualization and grid interface. Like DD Services, this new release is backward compatible with all existing DD implementations, but still offers new features required for device registration, such as support for device-level menus and Unicode.

DD Library provides standardized source code for all Foundation fieldbus blocks and parameters, making it easy for developers to build DDs for fieldbus instrumentation. Suppliers only need to implement custom blocks and other manufacturer-specific additional parameters. Furthermore, the DD Library promotes a standardized view of field-device information across manufacturers, enabling consistent configuration by users. The library is maintained to describe the most recent FOUNDATION specification.

DD Library Version 3.2 includes code for the Standard Temperature with Calibration Two Sensor block. It also provides new manufacturer names and IDs. Some unit codes have been added in response to action requests submitted for DD Library Version 3.1.

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