How to bridge DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) protocol to Suitelink protocol using Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway

Tech Note: ISS-TN071
Published Date: August 11, 2008
Primary Product: Communication Drivers
Revision Date: October 28, 2011

Applies to

  • Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway 1.5

Summary

With the release of newer operating systems from Microsoft, such as Windows Vista, support for NetDDE (Network Dynamic Data Exchange) is being discontinued. This poses a problem for legacy I/O communication servers which are DDE based, as newer clients may not be able to directly communicate with them.

A workaround exists, which will translate DDE to Suitelink protocol and give legacy DDE servers the ability to communicate with the most recent client operating systems. This workaround involves configuring Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway (FS Gateway) on the DDE IO Server node for protocol translation.

FS Gateway is capable of translating DDE, Suitelink, OPC and LMX/NMX bi-directionally to any of the previously mentioned communication protocols. For further details on communication protocol bridging, please contact Wonderware PacWest Technical Support. FS Gateway is supported on Microsoft Windows 2000 SP4, Windows Server 2003 SP2, Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista.

This tech note provides two examples, both of which detail the process for translating a DDE server conversation to Suitelink:

  • The first example uses a legacy DDE IO Server providing Modbus protocol data

Part 1 – Installation of Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway

1. Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway can be downloaded either from the Wonderware PacWest Website or from the Wonderware Support Website:

Wonderware PacWest Website: Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway (FS Gateway) 2.0

Wonderware Support Website: Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway (FS Gateway) 2.0

2. Extract the downloaded zip file, and run Setup.exe to start the installation. You may be prompted during the installation for a Windows user account for services registration. Ensure that the user account entered has local administrative rights and a password that will not change.

Also, it is recommended to perform the installation with all options left default unless otherwise instructed.

Part 2 – Configuration of Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway to access Modbus data provided by legacy DDE IO Server

In this example, we’ll configure FS Gateway to access Modbus data provided by a legacy DDE IO Server. We assume the Modbus DDE IO Server has been already configured and is functioning properly. We further assume the legacy DDE IO Server has a communication topic defined and called ‘PLC1’.

1. Start the Wonderware System Management Console (SMC) by clicking on Start > Programs > Wonderware > System Management Console.

2. Expand the DAServer Manager in the tree, then expand Default Group, then expand Local. You should now see ArchestrA.FSGateway.1, along with any other installed DA Servers.

3. Expand ArchestrA.FSGateway.1 and left-click on Configuration. Next, right-click on Configuration and select Add DDE Object from the drop-down list. Rename the New_DDE_000 object to something that represents the DDE server you will be connecting to. In this example, we will call this object Modbus.

4. In the right-hand pane of the Wonderware System Management Console, you should see some configuration details related to the Modbus object. Specifically, theServer Name: field needs to be modified to the application name of the DDE server. If you do not know the application name of your DDE server, please consult the documentation for that product. In this example, our Server Name: will be DASMBSerial.

5. Next, right-click on the Modbus object in the Wonderware System Management Console tree and select Add Topic Object from the drop-down list. If you are prompted to save changes at this point, make sure to click on Yes. Rename the New_Topic_000 object to represent the existing topic name configured in the DDE server. In this example, we will be using PLC1.

Note that in the configuration pane of the PLC1 object there is a field named Device Group Name. The Device Group Name is to be used by clients as the topic namewhen accessing FSGateway.

6. Now, configure Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway to run as a service by right-clicking on ArchestrA.FSGateway.1 and selecting Configure As Service > Auto Service from the drop-down menu. When prompted if you want to configure the server as an auto service, click on the Yes button.

7. Last, activate the server by right-clicking on ArchestrA.FSGateway.1 and selecting Activate Server. You should see a green check-mark appear on the server icon in the tree.

8. If Wonderware InTouch WindowViewer is being used as a client, existing access names will need to be changed. Specifically:

  • the application name field will need to be changed to FSGateway
  • the topic name will need to be changed to represent the hierarchy configured in Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway. In this example, the new topic would be Modbus_PLC1
  • the protocol used will need to be switched from DDE to Suitelink

9. For instance, here is an example of Wonderware Client being used on a Windows Vista PC to confirm communication (for detailed information on how to use Wonderware Client refer to Wonderware PacWest Tech Note 62: How to monitor and troubleshoot communication using Wonderware Client utility, which is also listed at the end of this tech note):

Part 3 – Configuration of Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway to access data provided by Microsoft Excel DDE Server

In this example, we’ll configure FS Gateway to access Microsoft Excel spreadsheet data provided by Microsoft Excel acting as a DDE Server. We assume the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet has already been configured and saved as ExcelData.xls. It contains a sheet called Sheet1.

1. Start the Wonderware System Management Console (SMC) by clicking on Start > Programs > Wonderware > System Management Console.

2. Expand ArchestrA.FSGateway.1 and left-click on Configuration. Next, right-click on Configuration and select Add DDE Object from the drop-down list. Rename the New_DDE_000 object to something that represents the DDE server you will be connecting to. In this example, we will call this object Excel.

3. In the right-hand pane of the Wonderware System Management Console, you should see some configuration details related to the Excel object. Specifically, theServer Name: field needs to be modified to the application name of the DDE server. If you do not know the application name of your DDE server, please consult the documentation for that product. In this example, our Server Name: will be Excel.

4. Next, right-click on the Excel object in the Wonderware System Management Console tree and select Add Topic Object from the drop-down list. If you are prompted to save changes at this point, make sure to click on Yes. Rename the New_Topic_000 object to represent the existing topic name configured in the DDE server. In this example, we will be using Sheet1.

5. Now, configure Wonderware FactorySuite Gateway to run as a service by right-clicking on ArchestrA.FSGateway.1 and selecting Configure As Service > Auto Service from the drop-down menu. When prompted if you want to configure the server as an auto service, click on the Yes button.

6. Last, activate the server by right-clicking on ArchestrA.FSGateway.1 and selecting Activate Server. You should see a green check-mark appear on the server icon in the tree.

7. Now, we can test communication to Excel using Wonderware Client


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