Tdct - a Configuration Tool for EPICS Runtime Databases

Purpose
Configuring EPICS Runtime Databases with tdct
Hierarchy
Customizable Symbol Shapes
Functionality Summary
Help System
    Conventions used in the Help System
Development Road Map
Running Tdct
Running Tdct with Command Line Switches
Differences between Tdct and Capfast

NOTE: tdct requires java 1.7

Purpose

tdct was created as a replacement for the Capfast [1] tool, which was used by the ISAC controls group at TRIUMF from 1996-2009.

Configuring EPICS Runtime Databases with tdct

tdct provides a graphical way for designing EPICS IOC functionality by instantiating EPICS records, assigning values to their properties (=fields)  and defining links between the records. Records (including their links) are instantiated on a schematic and saved to a schematics file.

Hierarchy

tdct supports the creation of schematic hierarchies by allowing symbol instances representing a schematic to be part of another schematic and pass parameters via the symbol instance. This can be used to form an "object-like" superstructure above the flat, process-variable oriented EPICS runtime databases.

Customizable Symbol Shapes

tdct allows the creation of  symbols of fairly arbitrary shapes which helps making schematics functionality more obvious.

tdct Functionality Summary

tdct contains the following functionality:

Interacting with tdct

Functionality of keyboard and mouse are listed in the reference section.

Help System

On-line help is started from menu  Help >> tdct help.
Tdct provides two options of viewing on-line help which are configured with the configuration file directive [helppath]
The second option requires the environment variable TDCT_BROWSER to provide the startup command for a web browser.

Conventions used in this Help System

Commands or configuration file entries are printed in fixed width font, e.g.

[option] dbdmode

Menu items are printed in Italics, i.e. File >> Open New Schematics corresponds to

File >> Open Schematic menu



Development Road Map

The following road-map for development was originally envisaged. Look at the present release number and draw your own conclusions.

Release 1
  1. Full Capfast compatibility mode (within the usage scope of the ISAC controls group and possible collaborators. See unsupported features below):
    1. Schematic files should be compatible with Capfast's schematic editor (schedit).
    1. Symbol files should be compatible with Capfast's symbol editor (symed).
    1. Both Capfast and Tdct should be usable on the same file sets.
    1. Generated EPICS databases should be verifiably identical to those generated by the schedit >> sch2edif >> e2db tool chain. This means that databases generated by the two tools from the same schematic file may only differ in the record sequence within the EPICS database and field sequence within records.
Release 2
  1. Maintain Capfast compatibility mode.
  2. Add frugal database mode ("dbd mode"):
    1. Include a full dbd file parser
    2. In this mode, do not use edb.def  as template for database generation.
      edb.def is still used for mapping of symbol files to record types.
    3. use default properties from dbd and override from symbol file.
    4. add only fields to database which changed from the dbd default.
  3. Add Channel Access functionality
Release 3 - probably a pipe dream
  1. merge symbol and schematic files into a new format






[1] Phase Three Logic, Beaverton, Ore., USA