Object oriented programming in control system software engineering

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While it was initially esoteric, Object Oriented Programming (OOP) crept into mainstream Information Technology (IT) applications by the mid 1980s. A decade later, the very popular incarnation of these object-based process control applications has arrived in the form of OPC client/server technology.

By Sean Leonard, B.Sc Eng. CompE, Msc (CompE), MBA, Matrikon

OOP METHODOLOGIES have played a key role in the rapid adoption of OPC technology. With widespread adoption, OPC facilitates the abstraction of control systems components such as DCS, PLC, process historians, and many others. These applications use OPC as a standards-based communication mechanism.

OOP has enabled rapid growth in control system software implementation and deployment. The rapid adoption of OPC is a good case study on some of the benefits of an OOP approach. OOP techniques have enabled software engineers to put the word "advanced" into the phrase "control applications." It has also facilitated the rapid evolution of software for process control.

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