Smart Alec® User Manual - Alpha

Smart Alec® User Manual - Alpha
Smart Alec®
User Manual
version 2.1
© 1999 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
Part No. 9709-2040
7/29/99
NOTE:
Due to continuing product innovation,
specifications in this document are subject to
change without notice.
Copyright © 1997-1999 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
The distinctive appearance of this product is a Trade Dress of Adaptive Micro Systems,
Inc.
Trademarked names appear throughout this document. Rather than list the names and
entities that own the trademarks or insert a trademark symbol with each mention of the
trademarked name, the publisher states that it is using the names for editorial purposes
and to the benefit of the trademark owner with no intention of improperly using the
trademark.
BetaBrite, BETA-BRITE, BIG DOT, POWERVIEW, and SMART ALEC are trademarks of Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
ADAPTIVE, Alec, ALPHA, AlphAlert, AlphaNET, AlphaNET plus, AlphaNET plus II, ALPHAVISION, Automode,
BetaBrite Director, Director, EZ KEY II, EZ95, PagerNET, PPD, PrintPak, Solar and TimeNet are trademarks of
Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
Visit us at our Internet World Wide Web site:
http://www.ams-i.com or e-mail us at [email protected]
ii
Table of Contents
Introduction to the Smart Alec software......................................................................................1
Installing Smart Alec software ...............................................................................................1
Overview ...................................................................................................................................2
Smart Alec applications...........................................................................................................4
Smart Alec basics.............................................................................................................................7
Starting the Smart Alec system ..............................................................................................7
Shutting the Smart Alec system down................................................................................10
Security authorization ...........................................................................................................12
How Smart Alec uses variables............................................................................................18
How the Smart Alec windows work ...................................................................................20
Working with Smart Alec application components..........................................................22
Setting up the Smart Alec system ...............................................................................................27
Overview .................................................................................................................................27
Setting up the Smart Alec software .....................................................................................27
Creating user environments .................................................................................................28
Authorizing applications and application functions ........................................................34
Identifying notification device interfaces ...........................................................................40
Identifying notification devices............................................................................................46
Identifying variables ..............................................................................................................50
Establishing DDE input data sources..................................................................................52
Establishing socket input data sources ...............................................................................56
Managing the Smart Alec system ..............................................................................................58
Creating messages..................................................................................................................58
Using commands to control messages ................................................................................67
Grouping notification devices .............................................................................................74
Grouping display commands...............................................................................................77
Using variable rules ..............................................................................................................80
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events.................................................................86
Appendix 1: Troubleshooting......................................................................................................93
Appendix 2: Smart Alec computer requirements .....................................................................95
Appendix 3: Notification Device Interfaces...............................................................................96
Appendix 4: What modes are available on signs......................................................................99
Appendix 5: Glossary .................................................................................................................100
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide ................................................................104
iii
iv
Installing Smart Alec software
Introduction to the Smart Alec software
Installing Smart Alec software
To install the Smart Alec system, insert the Smart
Alec CD in your CD drive. The Smart Alec installation
process will start automatically. Simply follow the
on-screen instructions.
NOTE:
If the Smart Alec installation process does not
start automatically, you can start it manually:
1.
Select Start > Run…
2.
Type setup.exe
3.
Click OK
NOTE:
If you already have Smart Alec installed on the
computer, this version of Smart Alec will not
install. Please contact Adaptive Micro Systems’
Technical Support department at
1-800-558-7022 for assistance.
NOTE:
If you are installing on a computer with
Windows 98, after the Data Access installation,
you will be prompted to restart the computer.
Do not restart at this time. Instead, click Exit
Setup and allow the Smart Alec installation to
complete. When complete, you will again be
prompted to restart the computer. Do so at this
time.
NOTE:
If you click Cancel at the Smart Alec
Registration Information screen, the Smart
Alec files will remain on the computer.
5
Overview
Overview
Smart Alec is a software system that integrates data
from many sources, and sends that data to ALPHA
electronic signs, alphanumeric pagers, and email
systems.
Input vs. output
Data can come from many sources and can be in a
variety of formats. This data can be placed into messages
which can be sent to a number of viewing destinations.
These destinations are called “notification devices.”
Messages can be sent to the notification devices in a
number of ways.
Setup vs. management
Normally the applications that are needed to set up
the Smart Alec system are available only to an
administrator, while the applications needed for routine
management of messaging needs are available to all
users. In an environment where only one person is
responsible for using Smart Alec, this user is also the
administrator, with full access to all applications.
System security
Security for Smart Alec is available to be able to limit
access to some features or functions. This security applies
to Smart Alec applications and what users can do with
the applications, either read-only (“Details”) or both read
and update (“Update”) access. Security also applies to
system resources, such as hardware and data. A user will
be able to use an application or resource only if he has
authorization greater than or equal to the level
determined to be needed for that application or resource.
6
Overview
Administrator vs. user security
Security is available so that, for instance, applications
needed only by the Smart Alec administrator (to set up
the system) are not accessible by normal users (for
general management of the system.)
Single-user vs. multi-user environments
A “single-user” environment in Smart Alec might
have more than one user, but all users have full access
rights to all applications, application functions, and
system inputs and resources. A “multi-user”
environment is appropriate when users should not
necessarily have access to the same applications and
application functions; that is, access can be restricted for
some users for applications, application functions, or
system inputs or resources. For example, you may want
to restrict a clerk’s authority and not allow that person to
send messages to the signs on the production floor. But
you would want the building security manager to be able
to send a fire alarm to every sign. Also, you might not
want either of these people to be able to set authority for
other users.
7
Smart Alec applications
Smart Alec applications
The applications (programs) available in Smart Alec
and their respective functions are as follows:
SA Bar
The initial Smart Alec application from which you
can start any other Smart Alec application for which you
are authorized.
Notification Device Setup
Designate the names and properties to be used for
places where messages will be displayed (i.e., signs,
pagers, and email.)
Notification Device Group Manager
Designate groups of notification devices so a user
can send a message to multiple devices simultaneously.
Notification Device Interface Setup
Designate the type of hardware the computer uses to
send messages to notification devices. See “Appendix 3:
Notification Device Interfaces” on page 96 for
descriptions and examples.
Variable Setup
Designate variables to be available in Smart Alec.
Variables represent values that can change at any
time. When there is a change in a variable’s value, actions
set up in Variable Rule Manager (see below) can be
triggered.
Variable Rule Manager
Designate rules to govern variables, what is done
with them, and what happens when their values change.
A rule is a pre-defined set of one or more conditions
with possible resulting actions. A rule is associated with
a variable and is implemented when the value of that
variable changes. When the rule is implemented, its
conditions are evaluated. Based on the result of that
evaluation, the rule’s resulting actions may be initiated.
8
Smart Alec applications
User Account Security Setup
Designate what level of authorization is granted to
any user for applications, variables, commands, and
notification devices. In other words, you decide if users
can access a given resource (application, notification
device, etc.) and what functions they can do with it.
Application Security Setup
Designate what level of authorization is needed by
any user to access specific applications and the functions
in each. If the level of authorization assigned to a user is
greater than or equal to the level of authorization
needed, then access is granted.
Message Manager
Define messages which can be displayed on
notification devices. Messages can include text, graphics,
formatting, time, date, temperature, variables, and
animation.
Command Manager
Designate commands which are used to add, delete,
erase, or replace messages. Commands can be scheduled
for a specific date and time or for a recurring time period.
DDE Data Source Setup
Designate what data will be coming from outside of
Smart Alec using DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange), where
it will come from, and what to do with it. This data will
be used to provide the values for variables.
Socket Handler Setup
Set a user-defined port number to use as a socket to
receive data from an external system.
Event Log Manager
View a log of all events that occur in Smart Alec.
Event Log Acknowledgement
Some of the events that occur in the Smart Alec
system may be serious enough that someone should
review them and decide if something should be done
about them. Smart Alec identifies these events and
allows a user to acknowledge having seen them by using
the Event Log Acknowledgement application.
9
Smart Alec applications
Smart Alec Shutdown
Closes all of the Smart Alec applications that do the
background processing.
10
Starting the Smart Alec system
Smart Alec basics
Starting the Smart Alec system
Logging into Smart Alec
To log into the Smart Alec system:
1. From the Start button, click Programs > Smart
Alec.
2.
3.
NOTE
If you are the first or only person
logging into the system, or if
you are the administrator, accept
“Alec” as the user name with no
password.
4.
5.
The Smart Alec introductory splash screen will
appear temporarily.
Next, the Login screen will appear, as below.
Type in your name and password, and click on
the Login button.
Processing applications are started and run in
the background as needed.
NOTE:
Even if you click Cancel in Step 3 above, the
processing applications remain running. To
shut them down, log into Smart Alec and click
Smart Alec Shutdown on the SA Bar.
NOTE:
While using the system, if Smart Alec does not
seem to be processing, see “Appendix 1:
Troubleshooting” on page 93.
6.
Also, the window called the SA Bar will appear
for your use. (See “Using the SA Bar” below.)
7
Starting the Smart Alec system
Using the SA Bar
The SA Bar is where you start all the Smart Alec
applications for which you are authorized.
Close button
Authorized
applications
Button group bars
How to use the SA Bar
•
•
•
Click on any of the button group bars to show
the applications available within that group of
applications. The button group bars slide up and
down as needed to reveal component
applications below each bar.
Click once on any application to start that
application.
Use the close button to close any currentlyrunning Smart Alec user applications in addition
to closing the SA Bar. See “Shutting the Smart
Alec system down” on page 10.
Smart Alec applications in button group bars
Security Setup
• User Account Security Setup
• Application Security Setup
System Resource Setup
• Notification Device Interface Setup
• Notification Device Setup
• Variable Setup
• DDE Data Source Setup
• Socket Handler Setup
8
Starting the Smart Alec system
• Command Manager
• Message Manager
System Resource Setup
• Variable Rule Manager
• Notification Device Group Manager
• Display Command Group Manager
Event Log
• Event Log Acknowledgement
• Event Log Manager
Startup/Shutdown
• Smart Alec Shutdown
9
Shutting the Smart Alec system down
Shutting the Smart Alec system down
Individual applications
To close any individual user application for setup
and management of the system, use any of these
methods:
• Click the close button, available for all Smart
Alec applications.
• Choose Exit from the application’s File menu.
• Press Alt+F4.
User Security
File menu
Close
button
All background processor applications
To close all of the Smart Alec applications that do the
background processing, click Smart Alec Shutdown on
the SA Bar. (You can see which programs are running in
Windows by pressing Ctrl/Alt/Del together. Be sure to
choose Cancel here rather than End Task or Shut Down.)
NOTE:
Running Smart Alec Shutdown will stop all
processing of messages and commands!
To restart the background processors, from the Start
button, click Programs > Smart Alec.
10
Shutting the Smart Alec system down
All setup and manager applications
To close all of the currently-running Smart Alec user
applications for setup and management of the system
(found in the SA Bar), close the SA Bar by either of the
following methods.
NOTE:
•
•
•
This will not close the Smart Alec background
processor applications. (See the prior section.)
Choose Close on the SA Bar menu.
Click the close button on the SA Bar.
Press Alt+F4.
SA Bar menu button
Close
button
Complete Smart Alec system
1.
2.
Click Smart Alec Shutdown on the SA Bar.
Close the SA Bar.
11
Security authorization
Security authorization
Security concepts
Smart Alec security is used to permit or deny access
to applications, functions, and system resources in order
to separate administrative and setup functions from
general management functions.
Security is set up such that there are levels for
authority from 1 (greatest authority) to 99 (least
authority). That is, the lower the number, the more
authority you have, up to the point of your being
“number 1.”
The security level is set for each user to determine
how much authority the user is granted to access
applications, functions, and system resources. The
security level is also set for each application/function
and system resource to determine the minimum
authority needed for a user to access them. If a user’s
authorization level is greater than or equal to the
minimum needed for that application/function or
system resource, then access is granted to that user.
User security
authority
Example 1
User can access the
system resource
Security authority
needed
1
Authority
granted = 5
Authority needed
(minimum) = 75
99
12
Security authorization
User security
authority
Example 2
User can access the
system resource
Security authority
needed
1
Authority
granted = 50
Authority needed
(minimum) = 50
99
User security
authority
Example 3
User can not access
the system resource
Security authority
needed
1
Authority needed
(minimum) = 5
Authority
granted = 75
99
Where security is used
The security system is used for:
• create and use system resources (i.e., notification
devices, variables, commands)
• use applications (programs to run, some of
which can create, authorize, or change system
resources)
• use application functions (view details, make
updates)
13
Security authorization
Security system controls
Applications
•
•
If you have enough “details” authorization to
use an application, that application will appear
in the SA Bar for you. You will be able to use that
application and view details of any data in it.
If you have enough “update” authorization for
an application, that application will also appear
in the SA Bar for you. You will be able to view
details and, in addition, you will be able to make
changes using that application.
Resources
•
•
Some applications can create and manage system
resources. If you have sufficient “details”
authorization for a system resource, you will be
able to view details of any system resource data.
For system resource applications, if you have
sufficient “update” authorization, you will be
able to view details and, in addition, you will be
able to make changes to system resources.
Data
•
Some applications can create data that can be
designated as public or private. Each user who
creates data in one of these applications
determines whether that data is to be available to
other users (public) or to only himself (private)
when anyone is using that application. Then
when that application is to present data to any
user, the application checks to see if the data
requested is for public use or only for private
use. If the user is the creator of the data or if the
data is for public use, the data is displayed.
Otherwise, it is not.
•
Similar to data, processing (display) commands
can be designated as public or private.
Processing
14
Security authorization
Given all the above points, it is possible to have
authorization to access an application for a specific
system resource and to create one of those system
resources, but not have enough authorization to use that
system resource. For example, you could be authorized
to use Notification Device Setup to initialize a new
notification device, but not be authorized in Notification
Device Group Manager to group that new notification
device with others.
Classes of users
While security is set up such that there are levels of
authority from 1 (greatest authority) to 99 (least
authority), it is easiest to work with just a few levels. A
level of 50 has been established for a general level user,
while a level of 5 has been established for an
administrative level user. Any other levels are acceptable
for customized users, but 25 and 75 might be good
choices because they are easy to use.
See “Creating user environments” on page 28 for
detailed instructions for setting up individual users.
General user: lower authorization, discretionarily set by system
administrator
The default authorizations for a general user are as
follows. These authorizations give normal access for
applications and system resources for routine
management of the system. This is how all users are
initially set up in Smart Alec for all applications and
system resources. Notice that all authorization level
values are the same and therefore, all users have the
same system access.
Type of authorization
Application
Application
Processing
System resource
System resource
Scope of authorization
Applications–full access
Applications–details access
Commands
Notification Devices
Variables
Authorization
level
50
50
50
50
50
15
Security authorization
Administrative user: greater authorization, discretionarily set by system
administrator
The default authorizations for an administrative user
(such as “Alec”) are as follows. These authorizations give
high-level administrative access to set up applications
and system resources.
Type of authorization
Application
Application
Processing
System resource
System resource
Scope of authorization
Applications–full access
Applications–details access
Commands
Notification Devices
Variables
Authorization
level
5
5
5
5
5
Custom user: uniquely set up as needed
Authorizations for a custom user vary according to
an individual’s need to access applications and system
resources. Great care must be taken when setting up
custom user authorizations and matching them with the
settings for applications and system resources.
Otherwise, some users may be inadvertently denied
access.
The following is an example of one possible way to
create another class of user.
Type of authorization
Application
Application
Processing
System resource
System resource
Scope of authorization
Applications–full access
Applications–details access
Commands
Notification Devices
Variables
Authorization
level
75
25
50
50
75
This example gives limited access to variables and to
update (“full access”) applications, gives broad access to
view details in applications, and gives normal access to
commands and notification devices.
16
Security authorization
Setting minimum security levels for applications and system resources
Security levels authorized for users work together
with security levels for applications and system
resources. Authorization levels are set for each user for
applications in general, as shown above. In addition,
minimum authorization levels are set for each specific
application. If a user’s authorization range is greater than
or equal to the minimum needed for an application, then
access is granted to that user.
Normally, default authorization levels for both users
and applications are set to 50. However, in the Smart Alec
system with the custom user illustrated above,
application security could be set up with these settings
for the applications shown here:
Specific application
Application Security Setup
User Account Security Setup
Notification Device Setup
Notification Device Group Manager
Variable Rule Manager
Minimum
authorization
level needed
5
5
50
75
50
In this example, a high level of authority is needed to
gain access to Application Security Setup and User
Account Security Setup. The user in this example does
not have that level of authority. So these applications
would not appear in the SA Bar for him. But he does
have sufficient authority for full (update) access to
Notification Device Group Manager and for details
(read) access to both Notification Device Setup and
Variable Rule Manager. Therefore, he would be able to
make updates in Notification Device Group Manager,
and he would be able to see details but not make updates
in Notification Device Setup and Variable Rule Manager.
See “Authorizing applications and application
functions” on page 34 for detailed instructions.
17
How Smart Alec uses variables
How Smart Alec uses variables
Variable Setup is used to identify variables to be used
in Smart Alec. Variables represent values that can change
at any time. The values can come from a number of
places, such as a production line, a spreadsheet, and
others. Some examples of variables are temperature or
production rates, alarms, and security lock status. (See
“Identifying variables” on page 50 for detailed
instructions.)
SALES NEWS
Sales today: $12,345
In this example, the amount of
sales (12,345) is the variable.
Various rules (pre-defined conditions with resulting
actions) govern variables, what is done with them, and
what happens when their values change.
Smart Alec constantly monitors variables for a
change in their values. When there is a change, any rule
associated with that variable will be analyzed and its
actions may be triggered. Examples of possible actions
include starting or stopping a message, updating the
value of a variable if it is included in any message, and
setting off an alarm. (See “Using variable rules” on
page 80 for detailed instructions.)
One of the most important concepts to understand is that
you can use variables and variable rules to control things that
happen in Smart Alec. Both a variable and a rule defining it or
controlling the results of a change in its value can execute an
action in Smart Alec.
Types of variable rules
There are three types of rules for variables.
• Counter Rule – A rule to define a variable and its
appearance when it’s displayed (e.g., what color,
flashing or not). When there is a change in the
value of the variable, the counter rule is used to
update the variable’s value (“counter”) on a
18
How Smart Alec uses variables
•
•
notification device where the variable is part of
an active message.
Counter Rule with Alarm – A rule to define a
variable and to set high and low thresholds for a
variable in addition to a normal range. When
there is a change in the value of the variable, the
counter with alarm rule is used to update the
variable’s value (“counter”) on a notification
device where the variable is part of an active
message. If the value goes outside either the high
or low threshold, it will be displayed with a
different appearance from the normal way it’s
displayed (e.g., color, flashing or not.) Only
works on variables used in a message, not the
text.
Display Command Rule – A rule to identify
variables to use as tools to trigger display
commands, which, in turn, trigger actions, such
as displaying a message, based on comparing the
value of a variable with another value. This rule
is in the format of:
If <value1> compares favorably to
<criteria1>,
(and/or <value2> compares favorably to
<criteria2>)
then do <display command>.
Examples:
1. If temperature of machine >= 212°, then
display the “temperature alarm” message.
2. If counter = 1000, then display the
“production goal” message.
3. If sales >= 1000 and net profit >= 1 million ,
then display the “congratulations” message.
19
How the Smart Alec windows work
How the Smart Alec windows work
The picture below is representative of the windows
in Smart Alec. The table following indicates its features
and functions.
Duplicate, Update, Details, and Delete are described
generically below. The New Item function is described in
general below, and is described in detail individually in
the section for each Smart Alec application.
A
B
C D E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
Feature
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
20
Name
Function
Menu button
Pull-down menu for the application.
New item
Create a new item of this type. The properties will need to be filled in.
Duplicate this item Duplicate the item selected and show its properties so they can be changed
as needed to create another item that is similar to the original.
Update this item
Show all properties for this item so they can be updated as needed. You can
also access the screen to update an item by double-clicking to the left of the
row. (See L.)
Details
Show all properties for this item, but do not allow any updating.
Delete this item
Delete this item from Smart Alec.
What’s this button After you click on another section of the window, information about that
section will be displayed. Not in effect in Smart Alec at this time.
Search function
Use this after selecting a column to search for a specific value.
Minimize button
Put the application down to the Windows task bar.
Resize button
Toggle the size of the window.
Close button
Close this application.
Item selection
Click in this column to select an item or double-click to open it. (See D.)
How the Smart Alec windows work
Feature
M
N
O
Name
Right-click
Row height
Column width
Function
Right-click on the name of the item to show properties and allow updating.
Click and drag the bottom edge of the row to adjust the height of the row.
Click and drag the right edge of the column to adjust the width of the column.
The picture below is representative of the add/
update/details windows in Smart Alec. The table
following indicates its features and functions.
Feature
Name
A
Item name
B
Item properties
C
D
E
Drop-down selection
Add/Update
Apply
F
Cancel
Description
Name of the item selected. Cannot be changed after the item is created. If
you need to change it: duplicate the item, change the new item’s name,
then delete the original item.
Must be added, can be updated with proper authorization, can not be
updated in details mode.
Allows selection of items already created.
Adds or updates this one item and exits this window.
Allows you to save the values for this item and then view/update the
values for any other item of the same type.
Exits this window without making any changes.
21
Working with Smart Alec application components
Working with Smart Alec application components
The functions for Duplicate, Update, Details, and
Delete are similar in each Smart Alec application. This
section describes these functions generically, but uses the
Variable Rule Manager as an example for the application
items.
Where an application’s function differs from these
generic functions, it is described in a section for that
application. The function for Add is described for each
application and gives explanations for all properties for
the item being added.
Duplicating an item
NOTE
Since you can’t change the name
of an item with the Update
function, use duplicating to
rename an item:
1. Create a copy.
2. Rename it.
3. Delete the original.
Click in this column to
select an item.
22
You can duplicate any item and change the name and
any properties.
1. Highlight the row for the item to copy. Then
either choose File > Duplicate or click the
Duplicate button.
Duplicate button
Working with Smart Alec application components
2.
The window for adding an item will appear.
Change the name of the item and any properties
that are different. Then click either Add or Apply.
3.
Clicking the Add button takes you out of the
window for adding an item, and the new item is
shown in the list. Clicking the Apply button adds
the new item into the list, but you won’t see that
until you exit the window for adding an item,
with either Add or Cancel.
NOTE: In the Variable Rule
Manager, the Add Rule window
used depends on the type of
rule to copy.
23
Working with Smart Alec application components
Changing an item
1.
Highlight the row for the item to change. Then
either choose File > Update or click the Update
button.
2.
Make your changes. Then click Update.
Update button
Click in this
column to select
an item.
You can not change the item’s Name here.
You can change anything else.
You can change more than one item in sequence this way:
1. Make the changes in the first item.
2. Click Apply.
3. Choose another item using the name drop-down arrow.
4. Make changes in the new item.
24
Working with Smart Alec application components
Viewing details of an item
1.
In the far left column, highlight the entire row for
the item for which you wish to view details.
2.
From the File menu, choose Details, or click on
this:
3.
The Details screen will appear. This simply
shows the settings for the item. You can not
change any of the settings here.
4.
You can choose another item using the name
drop-down arrow.
Details button
Click in this column
to select an item.
25
Overview
Setting up the Smart Alec system
Overview
Typically, Smart Alec is used by only one person in
an organization. Even if there is more than one person
using Smart Alec, all users can be set up to have full
access rights to all applications, application functions,
and system inputs and resources. This setup is called a
“single-user” system.
However, if there is more than one person using
Smart Alec, your system may require security to be set so
some users have unlimited usage and others have limited
usage of Smart Alec. This setup is called a “multi-user”
system. In a multi-user system, those users with limited
usage of Smart Alec generally can only access
applications for managing the system, not those for
setting up the system.
Setting up the Smart Alec software
NOTE
Default settings are provided for
each user, application, or
resource.
A number of things must be set up in the Smart Alec
environment for first-time use:
• Create user environments.
• Authorize applications and application
functions.
• Identify system resources (notification device
interfaces, notification devices, variables.)
• Establish input data sources, such as DDE or
sockets.
27
Creating user environments
Creating user environments
The Smart Alec system is designed so that it can be
used by many different people in a company in different
ways. The purpose of User Account Security Setup is to
establish users and to assign levels of authorization to
any user for applications, variables, commands, and
notification devices. In other words, you decide if users
can access a given resource (application, device, etc.) and
what functions they can do with it.
In a multi-user environment, some people may need
to have different access to various applications. For
example, an administrator will need to have full access to
all applications, while regular users might have access to
only a few applications that they use. The Smart Alec
security system allows users who have sufficient access
authorization for applications to create, update and
delete users.
However, in a single-user environment, you only
need to establish who the users are. All users have the
same access to all system resources, so there is minimal
setup for users.
Accessing the User Account Security Setup application
From the Security Setup group on the SA Bar, click
once on User Account Security Setup. A screen like the one
shown below will appear, listing any existing users.
28
Creating user environments
Setting up a user
In the user security screen, each row shows all the
security authorizations for a given user.
• Select a user by clicking to the left of the row
once.
• Add a new user by clicking the New User button.
• View, duplicate, update, or delete the chosen
user by using the buttons on the toolbar or from
the drop-down File menu.
• You can also access the screen to update a user
by double-clicking to the left of the row.
Duplicate this user
New user
Update this user
Delete this user
Select a user by clicking here.
The Smart Alec system comes installed with a default
user of “Alec” so you can access the system immediately
as user “Alec”. “Alec” has no password assigned. You
can keep the user as “Alec,” or you can change the name
or authorization of this user as desired.
Default Authorizations
The default authorization for applications and
system resources for user “Alec” is 5. These
authorizations give high-level administrative access.
The default authorization for applications and
system resources for any other user is 50. These
authorizations give normal access. In a single-user
environment, you should not change this setting.
29
Creating user environments
See “Security authorization” on page 12 for a
conceptual understanding.
Adding a user
To add a new user, do the following:
1. From the File menu, choose New, or click on this
button:
2.
Fill in the values as appropriate for the new user.
A
B
C
Item
30
Name
A
B
User name
Password
C
Application
Authorizations and
levels
Description
Name by which this user is known.
For security, a set of characters to be entered by the user when logging
into the system. May be left blank, if desired, except that, to use the Socket
Handler Setup (see page 56) there must be a password.
System processors validate requests against the level authorized for the
user. If the user’s level of authorization is equal to or higher than that
required, the request is processed. These are set to a default of 50. In a
single-user environment, these should not be changed from 50. In a multiuser environment, these are normally set to either 5 (administrator) or 50
(general), but they can be set to any desired level.
Creating user environments
NOTE:
For better understanding, see “System
security” on page 2 and “Security
authorization” on page 12.
Authorizing user passwords
User-authorized password
You, as a user, can add or change your own
password at the Login screen.
1. When logging into Smart Alec, click Change
Password.
2.
If there was an existing password, you must type
that in. Then type the new password, and retype
it again exactly the same way. You can use a new
password, as shown below, or you can use a
blank password for New Password. Using a blank
new password, in effect, deletes any old
password.
3.
4.
Click Change.
You will next be logged into Smart Alec.
31
Creating user environments
Administrator-authorized password
The administrator can add or change the password
for a user.
1. From the User Account Security Setup and Security
application, highlight the entire row for the user
by clicking in the column to the left of that user.
Update button
Click in this column
to select a user.
32
2.
From the File menu, choose Update, or click on
this:
3.
Click New Password.
4.
Type in the new password and click Ok.
Regardless of what the old password was, the
Creating user environments
default password supplied is “smartalec”. You
can use “smartalec” (as shown below,) you can
use a different password, or you can use a blank
password. Using a blank password here, in
effect, deletes any old password.
5.
Click Update.
33
Authorizing applications and application functions
Authorizing applications and application functions
The purpose of Application Security Setup is to
designate what level of authorization is needed by users
to access specific applications and the functions in each.
In a single-user environment, all users have the same
access authority for all application categories and all
functions for each application. This access authority is
automatically preset to 50 for applications and
application functions.
In a multi-user environment, the system
administrator can set the access authority required for
each application to unique levels. The level is set for both
“update” (make changes to data) and “details” (only
view details of data) functions. If the level of
authorization assigned to a user is equal to or greater
than the level of authorization required for a given
application, the user can access that function for that
application. (Levels of authorization go from a low of 99
to a high of 1. The lower the number, the higher the
authority.)
Understanding application functions
Update
A user with sufficient authorization for update
application access can use all functions in any Smart Alec
application for which he has authority. This is especially
common in a single-user environment, where all
authorization values are the same for all users, so all
users can access all applications and all application
functions.
Details
A user with sufficient authorization for details
application access, but not enough to update
applications, can only access the details function in any
Smart Alec applications to which he has authority. This is
especially common in a multi-user system configuration,
34
Authorizing applications and application functions
where some users only need to view data in the Smart
Alec system.
Accessing the Application Security Setup application
From the Security Setup group on the SA Bar, click
once on Application Security Setup. A screen like the one
shown below will appear, listing existing settings.
Authorizing application security
The initial value for update and detail authorization
levels is automatically preset to 50 for all users and for all
applications.
In a single-user environment, the authorization level
should remain at 50.
The Smart Alec administrator can change either the
update or detail values for any application (in Application
Security Setup) or for a user’s security (in User Account
Security Setup.) The result will create a multi-user
environment and can block access to some functions for
some users.
The graphic below indicates the meaning of the
Application Security Setup window.
35
Authorizing applications and application functions
Details button – allows you to view, but
not to change, values in this application.
Update button –
allows you to
view and change
values.
Detail Value indicates the
level of authorization a
user needs in order to be
able to view any values in
that application. Without
sufficient authority here,
the user will not even be
able to access the
application.
Click in this
column to
select an
application.
Application
AppSecurity.exe
CommandManager.exe
DCGroup.exe
DDEInput.exe
DeviceInterface.exe
DisplayCommandSetup.exe
EventLogAck.exe
EventLogManager.exe
NDGroup.exe
NotificationDeviceSetup.exe
Saeditor.exe
SAShutdown.exe
Security.exe
SocketHandlerSetup.exe
VariableRuleManager.exe
VariableSetup.exe
36
Update Value indicates
the level of authorization
a user needs in order to
be able to change any
values in that application.
Application name
Application Security Setup
Command Manager
Display Command Group Manager
DDE Data Source Setup
Notification Device Interface Setup
(not used as a user application)
Event Log Acknowledgement
Event Log Manager
Notification Device Group Manager
Notification Device Setup
Message Manager
Smart Alec Shutdown
User Account Security Setup
Socket Handler Setup
Variable Rule Manager
Variable Setup
Authorizing applications and application functions
Authorization for each application can be changed
individually as follows:
1. Highlight the application to change by clicking
in the column to the left of that application. Then
click Update.
Update button
Click in this column to
select an application.
NOTE
Remember, the lower numbers
mean that more authority is
needed to access the application.
2.
Assign the values needed for a user to have
authority to update and to view details. Then
click either Update or Apply.
Update Value indicates the level of
authorization a user needs in order
to be able to change any values in
that application.
Detail Value indicates the level of
authorization a user needs in order
to be able to view any values in that
application. Without sufficient
authority here, the user will not even
be able to access the application.
Use this drop-down
arrow to select another
application to view and
change.
37
Authorizing applications and application functions
3.
System application name
AppSecurity.exe
CommandManager.exe
DCGroup.exe
DDEInput.exe
DeviceInterface.exe
DisplayCommandSetup.exe
EventLogAck.exe
EventLogManager.exe
NDGroup.exe
NotificationDeviceSetup.exe
Saeditor.exe
SAShutdown.exe
Security.exe
SocketHandlerSetup.exe
VariableRuleManager.exe
VariableSetup.exe
38
The following are suggested values for both
update and details levels for a single-user
environment and for a multi-user environment
with an administrator and one or more general
users.
Common application name
Application Security Setup
Command Manager
Display Command Group Manager
DDE Data Source Setup
Notification Device Interface
Setup
(not used as a user application)
Event Log Acknowledgement
Event Log Manager
Notification Device Group Manager
Notification Device Setup
Message Manager
Smart Alec Shutdown
User Account Security Setup
Socket Handler Setup
Variable Rule Manager
Variable Setup
Value for
Value for
single-user
multi-user
environment environment
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
50
5
50
50
5
5
50
5
5
50
5
50
5
5
5
50
5
Authorizing applications and application functions
Viewing application authorization levels
1.
Highlight the application by clicking in the
column to the left of that application. Then click
the Details button.
2.
You can now see the values needed for a user to
have authority to update and view details for
this application. Then click Close.
Details button
Click here to
select the
application.
NOTE
Remember, the lower numbers
mean that more authority is
needed to access the
application.
Update Value indicates the level of
authorization a user needs in order
to be able to change any values in
that application.
Detail Value indicates the level of
authorization a user needs in order
to be able to view any values in that
application. Without sufficient
authority here, the user will not even
be able to access the application.
Use this drop-down
arrow to select another
application to view.
39
Identifying notification device interfaces
Identifying notification device interfaces
Use Notification Device Interface Setup to designate the
type of hardware to be used for sending messages to
notification devices. Notification device interfaces must
be set up before notification devices can be initialized,
since the notification devices use the interfaces.
Types of notification device interfaces
There are several types of notification device
interfaces. Please see “Appendix 3: Notification Device
Interfaces” on page 96 for descriptions.
Accessing the Notification Device Interface Setup application
From the System Resource Setup group on the SA Bar,
click once on Notification Device Interface Setup. A screen
like the one shown below will appear, listing any existing
notification device interfaces.
40
Identifying notification device interfaces
Adding a notification device interface
1.
Choose the correct button for the type of
notification device interface you wish to add.
Please see “Appendix 3: Notification Device
Interfaces” on page 96 for descriptions of the
various types.
New Local
Pager Interface
New Wide-area
New Email
Pager Interface
Interface
New Serial
Interface
New Terminal
Server Interface
41
Identifying notification device interfaces
2.
For this example, we will add a wide-area pager
interface, as shown here. See the table below for
explanations.
A
B
C
D
Item
42
Name
A
B
C
Interface name
Description
Interface settings
D
Dialing properties
Description
Name of the interface as it will be known.
Description of the interface, for clarity. (Optional)
Choose appropriate settings for this interface. Contact your wide-area
paging service if needed.
Choose this button to set up how and where to dial. This function is only
for the wide-area pager interface.
Identifying notification device interfaces
3.
For this example, choose the correct settings for
the wide-area pager interface. See the table
below for explanations.
A
B
C
J
D
E
F
G
H
I
Item
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
Name
Description
Modem name
Name of the modem used for the pager. At least one modem must already
be installed.
Dialing Prefix
The prefix to dial to access a public telephone line.
Country Code
Country where the paging service is.
Area Code
Area code where the paging service is.
Phone Number
Phone number to use to access the paging service.
Number to Dial
Complete phone number to dial, created automatically by Smart Alec from
the components you use in this window.
Modem Initiation String Initialization string to use for this modem. See the documentation for your
modem for more information.
Call Waiting settings
Set these if the phone line being used for dialing has call waiting.
Number of retries
Number of times to attempt connection.
Local call
Indicates that this is a local call.
43
Identifying notification device interfaces
Settings for additional notification device interfaces
In addition to the wide-area pager illustrated above,
here are settings for serial, email, local pager, and
terminal server interfaces. Note that there is no modem
interface.
Serial interface
Item
A
B
C
Name
Interface name
Description
Interface settings
Description
Name of the interface as it will be known.
Description of the interface, for clarity. (Optional)
For an ALPHA sign, use 9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity, and one stop bit.
Email interface
Item
A
B
C
D
Name
Interface name
Description
Email profile
Email password
Description
Name of the interface as it will be known
Description of the interface, for clarity (Optional)
Email identity to use. See your system administrator if unsure.
Password that is valid for the email profile
Local pager interface
Item
Name
A
B
C
Interface name
Description
Interface settings
D
Packet size
Description
Name of the interface as it will be known.
Description of the interface, for clarity. (Optional)
Choose appropriate settings for this interface. To find these (except Packet
Size) click Start > Settings > Control Panel > System. Next, click the Device
Manager tab and then Ports. Finally, click the COM port you need and then
the Port Settings tab.
The maximum number of bytes the pager can process at a time. refer to
the documentation for the pager for details.
Terminal server interface
Item
A
44
Name
Interface name
Description
Name of the interface as it will be known.
Identifying notification device interfaces
Item
B
C
Name
Description
IP address
Description
Description of the interface, for clarity. (Optional)
The four-node Internet Protocol address of the terminal server
45
Identifying notification devices
Identifying notification devices
Use Notification Device Setup to designate the names
and properties to be used for places where messages will
be displayed (i.e., signs, pagers, and email).
Notification devices have properties. Examples of
some properties that may be required are:
• Device name
• Description
• Device type
• Device address
• Authorization level
• Name of the notification device interface to use
• Cap code
Accessing the Notification Device Setup application
From the System Resource Setup group on the SA Bar,
click once on Notification Device Setup. A screen like the
one shown below will appear, listing any existing
notification devices.
46
Identifying notification devices
Adding a notification device: ALPHA, pager, email
Add ALPHA SA
device
1.
Choose the correct button for the type of
notification device you wish to add.
2.
For this example, we will add an ALPHA SA
device, as shown here. See the table below for
explanations.
Add pager
device
Add email
device
A
B
C
D
E
F
H
G
I
Item
A
B
C
D
Name
Device name
Device description
Device type
Interface category
Description
Name of the device as it will be known.
Description of the device, for clarity. (Optional)
Model of ALPHA SA sign
Type of notification device interface (serial, pager local, or terminal server)
47
Identifying notification devices
Item
Name
E
Interface name
F
Notification device
authorization level
Device address
G
H
I
Cap code
– or –
Interface port address
Advanced
Description
Specific notification device interface. The only options available are those
belonging to the selected Interface category.
Authorization level a user would need to access this notification device.
Serial address assigned to the ALPHA SA sign. (This is displayed when the
sign is powered up.)
For Pager Local interface category,
– or –
For Terminal Server interface category,
Choose this button for more advanced functions. See the next step.
3.
For a new ALPHA SA notification device, the
Advanced button is for these properties.
A
B
48
Item
Name
Description
A
Message confirmation
B
Machine address
When Message Confirmation is enabled, the sign sends a response to the
sender to confirm that the message has been received.
Address of the computer where the ALPHA SA sign is installed or
associated. (The sign might be wired directly, or associated by modem,
LAN, or wireless transmission, etc.) The Machine Address is currently not
used.
Identifying notification devices
Settings for additional notification devices
In addition to the ALPHA SA device illustrated
above, here are settings for pager and email devices.
Pager device
Item
Name
A
B
C
D
E
Device name
Device description
Device type
Interface category
Interface name
F
Notification device
authorization level
Pin #
Advanced
G
I
Description
Name of the device as it will be known.
Description of the device, for clarity. (Optional)
Choose numeric or alphanumeric
Type of notification device interface (pager local or pager wide area)
Specific notification device interface. The only options available are those
belonging to the selected Interface category.
Authorization level a user would need to access this notification device.
Pager identification number
Choose this button for more advanced functions, as for the ALPHA SA
device above.
Email device
Item
Name
A
B
C
D
E
Device name
Device description
Device type
Interface category
Interface name
F
Notification device
authorization level
Email address
G
Description
Name of the device as it will be known.
Description of the device, for clarity. (Optional)
Choose email.
Type of notification device interface (pager local or pager wide area)
Specific notification device interface. The only options available are those
belonging to the selected Interface category.
Authorization level a user would need to access this notification device.
Destination address for the e-mail message
49
Identifying variables
Identifying variables
Use Variable Setup to designate real-time (“as it
happens”) variables to be available in Smart Alec.
Variables represent values that can change at any time.
The values for the variable can come from a number of
places outside of Smart Alec, such as a production line, a
spreadsheet, manual data entry, and others. (See
page 103 for a more complete definition of variable.)
Accessing the Variable Setup application
From the System Resource Setup group on the SA Bar,
click once on Variable Setup. A screen like the one shown
below will appear, listing any existing variables.
50
Identifying variables
Adding a variable
1.
Choose the button to add a new variable.
2.
For this example, we will add a variable called
“Defects 1”, as shown here. See the table below
for explanations.
Add a variable
A
B
C
D
E
Item
A
B
C
D
E
Name
Variable Name
Description
Category
Variable Authorization
Level
Data Type
Description
Name of the variable as it will be known
Description of the variable, for clarity (optional)
User-defined category for the variable (optional)
Security level needed to use the variable
Format of data for the variable:
• Integer: a whole number (with no fraction)
• Float: any number other than an integer. Can include decimals.
• String: text, including alphabetic, numeric, and other characters
51
Establishing DDE input data sources
Establishing DDE input data sources
Use DDE Data Source Setup to designate what data
will be coming from outside of Smart Alec using DDE
(Dynamic Data Exchange), where it will come from, and
how you want to use it. The link to this data can be used
to provide values for variables.
Smart Alec can act as a DDE client. It needs a DDE
server to communicate with in order to provide values
for variables. Many existing programs already function
as DDE servers, such as Wonderware’s Intouch and
Microsoft Excel. To use these or any other DDE-server
applications with Smart Alec, you must use the service,
topic, and item names which are to supply values for the
variables from the DDE server. The DDE server
application’s documentation should provide these. (The
discussion in the following sections uses Microsoft Excel
as an example.)
Smart Alec establishes a request-and-advise loop
when it requests an item from a DDE server. This means
that Smart Alec requests the item’s value once from the
DDE server and then the DDE server is responsible for
sending the item to Smart Alec each time the item
changes value.
NOTE:
When using DDE, Smart Alec must be
installed on the same computer as the external
data source, and that source must be
Windows-based. When using NetDDE, Smart
Alec must be installed on the same network as
the external data source, and that source must
be Windows-based.
Also, the external data source must be running
before starting the Smart Alec system.
Otherwise, the Smart Alec DDE processor
(DDEInputHandler.exe) will not run.
52
Establishing DDE input data sources
Accessing the DDE Data Source Setup application
From the System Resource Setup group on the SA Bar,
click once on DDE Data Source Setup. A screen like the
one shown below will appear, listing any existing DDE
data sources.
Adding a link to a DDE data source
1.
Choose the button to add a new DDE data
source.
Add a DDE
data source.
53
Establishing DDE input data sources
2.
For this example, we will add a link to a
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet as DDE data source.
See the table below for explanations.
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
Item
54
Name
A
B
Service
Topic
C
Item
D
Server path
E
Default Value
Description
Name of the application the data comes from.
Refer to the documentation for your DDE server application to determine
the correct topic for that application.
In this example, the topic identifies the specific Excel workbook you want
(set off by brackets) and the specific worksheet within that workbook.
For Excel, you must identify both the workbook and the individual
worksheet if there is more than one worksheet. If there is only one
worksheet in that workbook, then you can simply type the name of the
workbook rather than specify workbook and worksheet.
The specific piece of data to be used. In this case, the cell (row and
column) is used.
The full path to the file for the DDE data source.
If the file is on a computer other than the one where Smart Alec is running,
you must include both the server and full path to the file. See your network
administrator to determine the best way to specify the Server path to that
computer.
NOTE: The DDE server application must be running before the DDE link
can be active.
The value to be used for the variable when none is supplied by the DDE
data link, such as if the DDE server stops running for any reason.
Establishing DDE input data sources
Item
Name
F
Data Class
G
H
Smart Alec Variable to
Update
Filter On checkbox
I
Delta Value
Description
The type of data sent into the Smart Alec system from the DDE server.
• Raw data: All data received from the DDE server will be sent to Smart
Alec without any preprocessing or formatting. This assumes that all the
data sent to Smart Alec is valid for presenting on a notification device.
• ASCII printable: ASCII control codes (non-printable characters) will be
deleted before sending the data on to Smart Alec, leaving only data that is
valid for presenting on a notification device.
NOTE: Regardless of the Data Class, all DDE data is restricted to 128
characters. If the value is longer, it will be truncated (cut off) to 128.
The variable in Smart Alec for which this data will supply the value. The
variable must first be established. See “Identifying variables” on page 50.
Indicates that you want to filter the DDE data with a Delta Value. If you do
not check this on, Smart Alec will update the value of the variable
whenever the value changes, however small that change is. (NOTE: Some
DDE server applications update all values whenever any of the values
change. Microsoft Excel is one application that does this.) This may cause
more processing than you want, depending on the frequency of the
changes.
The number that is used to set a “plus or minus” range for the value of the
variable. (So if the value of the variable is 5 and the Delta Value is 2, then
the range would be from 3 to 7.) The value of the variable is compared
with this range. If the value of the variable is outside the range (higher or
lower), then that value of the variable is used to update the variable
wherever the variable is used for a command. Otherwise, the value of the
variable is not updated.
Accessing DDE input data
For accessing DDE input data,
DDEInputHandler.exe must be running. (See “All
background processor applications” on page 10.) Before
this application starts, you must be running any
application which is to provide data using DDE. This is
because if DDEInputHandler.exe does not find any DDE
data source, it shuts itself down without retrying. When
running and accessing a valid DDE source,
DDEInputHandler.exe feeds data to the Smart Alec
system and variables are updated.
55
Establishing socket input data sources
Establishing socket input data sources
Sockets are a way (besides DDE) to import data into
Smart Alec from external data sources, using a client/
server relationship.
NOTE:
A user must have a password in order to set up
sockets. See “Creating user environments” on
page 28.
General steps for communications using sockets
In general, the steps for using sockets with Smart
Alec are as follows:
1. Start and log into Smart Alec. See “Logging into
Smart Alec” on page 7.
2. Establish the specific computer port number to
use between Smart Alec and the external system.
See “Accessing the Socket Handler Setup
application” below.
3. Initiate a socket connection between the systems.
4. Send data from the external data source to Smart
Alec. Please see“Appendix 6: SA 2.1 Socket
Interface – API Process Guide” on page 104 for
detailed instructions on using sockets to send
data into the Smart Alec system.
Accessing the Socket Handler Setup application
From the System Resource Setup group on the SA Bar,
click once on Socket Handler Setup. A screen like the one
shown below will appear.
56
Establishing socket input data sources
Setting the port number
1.
Type the port number to use for the socket
connection. Valid port numbers are 1025 and
above. The default port number is 8150.
2.
Click OK.
57
Creating messages
Managing the Smart Alec system
When using the Smart Alec system, you can:
• Create messages.
• Create and schedule commands for messages.
• Group notification devices and display
commands.
• Create rules for variables.
• Monitor and manage events that occur in Smart
Alec.
Creating messages
A message is a unique, unified set (file) of
information – a “thought”. It can be saved and/or sent to
a notification device. Its “look and feel” is based on that
specific device.
A message is defined using the Message Manager. It
may include some or all of the following properties,
either specified or defaulted:
• Text
• Graphics
• Formatting
• Time/date/temperature
• Variables
• Animation
A message does not include the following, which are
designated using Command Manager for the message:
• Scheduling
• Location/destination
• Priority
58
Creating messages
Accessing the Message Manager application
From the System Resource Setup group on the SA Bar,
click once on Message Manager. A gray screen, like the one
shown below, will appear the first time you start Message
Manager. After you create one or more messages, when
you start up Message Manager, it will show a blank white
screen with the message called “New message”.
NOTE:
When you first create messages and the
commands for them, you may want to practice
with a few messages to achieve different
effects on the notification device. If you don’t
achieve the desired effect with a message, it
may be easier to delete the message and create
a new message.
59
Creating messages
Components of the Message Manager window
The picture below is representative of the Message
Manager window. See the table below for explanations of
the components.
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
Item
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
60
Name
Message name
Message selection
Mode button
R
S
T
Description
Name you want to give to the message.
Drop-down box to select from the full list of created messages.
Allows you to set modes, which are special effects that change the way a
message appears on a sign, and the position of a message on the sign.
Mode pause (speed)
Allows you to set the length of time to pause before repetition of this
button
message.
Justification button
Allows you to set character spacing and left-, center-, or right-justification.
Fonts button
Allows you to select the font and the number of LED rows to use for
characters that follow.
Color button
Allows you to set the color to use for whatever follows.
Width button
Allows you to set characters that follow to display as wide or double-wide.
Height button
Allows you to set characters that follow to display as double-high.
Flash button
Allows you to turn flashing on or off for whatever follows this control, until
changed by another Flash control.
True descenders button Allows you to indicate that characters that follow are to be displayed using
true descenders, so that, for instance, the tail of a “g” drops below the
main base line of text.
Creating messages
Item
Name
M
New line/New page
button
Object button
N
O
P
Variable button
Close box
Message area
Q
R
Status bar
Cursor position
indicator
Date indicator
Time indicator
L
S
T
Description
Allows you to indicate that whatever follows is to go on the next line or the
next page of the sign.
Allows you to insert time, date, animation, and temperature, (Counter is
also an option, but it is not used in the Smart Alec system.)
Allows you to insert a placeholder for an existing variable.
Closes the Message Manager.
Area for message text, variables, etc., as well as controls for the message
and its contents.
Indicates current status and error messages.
Shows the position of the cursor in the message.
Shows the current date.
Shows the current time.
Creating a new message
1.
2.
NOTE:
3.
Choose File > New.
Enter the message name. Click OK.
There is no default button selected anywhere
in Message Manager, so you need to actually
select the OK button, not just press Return on
the keyboard. You can either use the mouse to
select the OK button or tab to it.
Use the Message Manager buttons and their
pop-up screens to define the formatting and
components of the message. An example is
shown below.
61
Creating messages
Mode
Mode
pause
4.
NOTE:
Justification Font Color
Text
Variable
Choose File > Update.
You should choose File > Update to save your
message. There is no prompt to save when you
close the Message Manager with the close box.
(However, there is a prompt to save when you
close the Message Manager with File > Exit and
also when you select a different message.)
5.
You will be prompted to verify that you want to
update this message. Select the OK button.
1.
Click on the message selection drop-down box.
Selecting a different message
62
Creating messages
2.
This gives a list of all the messages available.
Click on the message you want to edit.
3.
The message you choose is shown in the
message name box and the message area.
1.
2.
3.
4.
Select the message to be changed.
Make the changes you need.
Choose File > Update.
You will be prompted to verify that you want to
update this message. Select the OK button.
Changing a message
NOTE:
A changed message will only be displayed as
changed after a) it is deleted from and resent to
the notification device with Command
Manager, or b) the Smart Alec system is
restarted.
Deleting a message
1.
2.
Select the message to be deleted.
Choose File > Delete.
63
Creating messages
3.
You will be prompted to verify the delete.
4.
The message will be deleted and the next
message in the list will be displayed.
Displaying a message on a notification device
To actually display a message on a notification
device, there must be a command for it. See “Using
commands to control messages” on page 67.
If you have changed a message, the change will only
take effect after
1. a command is issued for a different message and
then a command is issued to replace the old
changed message with the new changed
message, or
2. the Smart Alec system is restarted.
NOTE:
Restarting the system does not reissue
commands which were in progress
before the restart.
Checking the message syntax
“Syntax” refers to the construction of words, phrases,
sentences, or messages according to established rules.
The construction must be correct for a message to be
displayed correctly. The Message Manager can check the
syntax of messages for you. Follow the steps below to
determine and fix any errors.
64
Creating messages
1.
As an example, say you accidentally deleted the
name of a variable to be used in a message.
2.
Choose Tools > Message Syntax Check.
3.
If there are errors, as there are here, a window
will show the cursor position of the start of the
error and when the process is complete.
4.
Place the cursor in the message where indicated
by the column number and message statistics.
65
Creating messages
66
5.
Determine the error and correct it.
6.
When there are no errors in the message, the
syntax check so indicates.
Using commands to control messages
Using commands to control messages
A command is used to control messages:
• Add a single message
• Delete a single message
• Erase all messages from the display, or
• Replace all messages with a single message
Commands can be scheduled for a specific date and
time or for a recurring time period.
Accessing the Command Manager application
From the System Resource Setup group on the SA Bar,
click once on Command Manager. A screen like the one
shown below will appear listing any existing commands.
67
Using commands to control messages
Command Manager,
left end
Command Manager,
right end
68
Using commands to control messages
Adding a command
1.
Choose the button to add a new command.
2.
This example creates a command to add the
message for the Line 1 production count on the
Line 1 sign. The table below and the next steps
explain each item and how to create it.
Add a
command.
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
69
Using commands to control messages
Item
Name
A
B
C
Command Name
Description
Action
D
Message Name
E
F
Execution Priority
Run Priority
G
H
I
Destination button
Destination
Owner
J
Schedule Command
checkbox
Schedule Information
Recurrence button
K
L
Description
Name of the command.
A more complete explanation of the command.
What you want to be done with the message(s):
• Add a single message
• Delete a single message
• Erase all messages from the display, or
• Replace all messages with a single message
Select a message for the action. Valid for all Actions except “Erase all
messages”.
The level of authority needed by a user to execute this command.
The priority of this command on the display, to be compared with other
commands being executed on that display.
Click this to bring up a list of available destinations to select from.
The list of one or more destinations selected for executing this command.
Specify who can access and use this command.
• Public: This command can be used by anyone. Use this in a single-user
system.
• Private: This command can only be used by the person who created it.
Use this only in a multi-user system.
Check this on if you want to specify a time frame for this command.
(Optional)
Allows you to set the start date and time and end date and time.
When the command is scheduled, you can click this button to bring up the
options for repeating this command. The options are:
• Daily (every x number of days or every weekday)
• Weekly (every x number of weeks on specific days)
• With an end date (none, after x number of occurrences, or by a specified
date.)
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
70
Specify the Command Name and Description.
Choose an Action from the available options in
the drop-down list.
Choose a Message, if applicable, from the
available options in the drop-down list.
Set the Execution Priority and Run Priority.
Click the Destination button to bring up the list,
as in the next step.
Using commands to control messages
8.
Select one or more Destinations by clicking (or
Control-Click or Shift-Click) on a Destination and
then on the double-arrow button. Then click OK.
Single destinations
Group destinations
To remove a destination
from the list on the
right, click on it and
press the Delete key.
NOTE
If you set a schedule for this
command, the Recurrence
column in the main window (see
“Accessing the Command
Manager application” on
page 67) will indicate either
“yes” or “no”. If there is no
schedule, it will be blank.
9. Specify the Owner.
10. If you wish to specify a date and time for the
command to be executed, click on the Schedule
Command checkbox.
11. Next, set the schedule’s Start and End Date. Do
this by clicking on the down-arrow by the date.
A monthly calendar will pop up. Select a date
from the current month, or move to a different
month with the left- or right-arrow. Click on the
desired date on the calendar. It will be used for
the schedule date. In this example, August 2 is
chosen for the start date.
71
Using commands to control messages
12. Complete the scheduling by setting the Start and
End Time. Do this by clicking on each element of
each time (that is, the hour, minute, or second)
and then using the up- or down-arrows to
increase or decrease the setting.
NOTE:
You must set the start time and the end time to
a time which is at least one minute later than
the current time on your computer. These
times cannot be the same as the current time.
NOTE:
If you do not specify a schedule for this
command, it will be executed based on the
display command rule set up for this
command in Variable Rule Manager.
13. You can set recurrence timing by clicking on the
Recurrence… button. This gives these options:
• None
• Daily (every x number of days or every
weekday)
• Weekly (every x number of weeks on specific
days)
• With an end date (none, after x number of
occurrences, or by a specified date.)
72
Using commands to control messages
After you set the recurrence options, click OK.
NOTE:
If you do not set recurrence timing, the
command will be executed either for the
scheduled date and time only, or based on the
display command rule set up in Variable Rule
Manager for this command, depending on
how you have set it.
14. Click either Add or Apply for the Add Display
Command window.
73
Grouping notification devices
Grouping notification devices
Use Notification Device Group Manager to designate
logical groups of devices to facilitate sending a message
to multiple notification devices simultaneously.
NOTE:
Notification devices are created using
Notification Device Setup. See “Identifying
notification devices” on page 46.
Accessing Notification Device Group Manager
From the System Resource Management group on the
SA Bar, click once on Notification Device Group Manager.
74
Grouping notification devices
Adding a Notification Device Group
1.
Choose the button to add a new notification
device group.
2.
For this example, we will add a notification
device group called “Front offices”, as shown
here. See the table below for descriptions.
Add a notification
device group
A
B
C
D
75
Grouping notification devices
Item
76
Name
A
B
C
Group name
Group Description
Ownership
D
Notification Device
Description
Name of the notification device group as it will be known
Description of the notification device group, for clarity (Optional)
Specify who can access and use this notification device group:
• Public: This group will be available to everyone. Use this in a single-user
system.
• Private: This group will be available only to the person who created it.
Use this only in a multi-user system.
Choice of notification devices to be included in the group. Click on any you
wish to include.
Grouping display commands
Grouping display commands
Use Display Command Group Manager to designate
logical groups of display commands. Then you can create
another command to submit the command group. Doing
this lets you essentially issue a series of commands all at
once.
NOTE:
Display commands are created using Command
Manager. See “Using commands to control
messages” on page 67.
Accessing Display Command Group Manager
From the System Resource Manager group on the SA
Bar, click once on Display Command Group Manager.
77
Grouping display commands
Adding a Display Command Group
1.
Choose the button to add a new display
command group.
2.
For this example, we will add a display
command group called “Line counts”, as shown
here. Click on either Add or Apply. See the table
below for explanations.
Add a display
command group
A
B
C
D
78
Grouping display commands
Item
Name
A
B
C
Group name
Group Description
Ownership
D
Display Command
Description
Name of the display command group as it will be known
Description of the display command group, for clarity (Optional)
Specify who can access and use this display command group:
• Public: This group will be available to everyone. Use this in a single-user
system.
• Private: This group will be available only to the person who created it.
Use this only in a multi-user system.
Choice of display commands available to be included in the group. Click on
any you wish to include.
79
Using variable rules
Using variable rules
Use Variable Rule Manager to designate rules (predefined conditions with resulting actions). Please see
“How Smart Alec uses variables” on page 18 for more
information.
Accessing the Variable Rule Manager
From the System Resource Management group on the
SA Bar, click once on Variable Rule Manager. A screen like
the one shown below will appear, listing any existing
variable rules.
Adding a variable rule
There are three types of variable rules. They are
explained in “Types of variable rules” on page 18. All
three will be shown here.
80
Using variable rules
Adding a counter rule
1.
Choose the button to add a new counter rule.
2.
Enter the information to define usage of this
counter rule. Click either Add or Apply. See the
table below for explanations.
Add a counter rule
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
Item
Name
A
B
C
D
Rule name
Rule Description
Variable Name
Text Length
E
Text Justification
Description
Name of the counter rule as it will be known
Description of the counter rule, for clarity (Optional)
Name of the variable which will be displayed
Maximum number of characters to allow for the length of the variable to
display
Whether text will be right- or left-justified
81
Using variable rules
Item
Name
F
Text Attributes
G
Owner
Description
Color to use when displaying the variable and whether or not the variable
will flash. Colors available depend on the notification device.
Specify who can access and use this rule.
• Public: This rule can be used by anyone. Use this in a single-user system.
• Private: This rule can only be used by the person who created it. Use this
only in a multi-user system.
Adding a counter with alarm rule
1.
Add a counter with
alarm rule
82
Choose the button to add a new counter with
alarm rule.
Using variable rules
2.
Enter the information to define usage of this
counter with alarm rule. Click either Add or
Apply. See the table below for explanations.
A
B
C
D
E
H
F
G
Item
Name
A
B
C
D
Rule name
Rule Description
Variable Name
Text Length
E
F
Text Justification
Text Attributes
G
Owner
H
Decimal Value
Description
Name of the counter with alarm rule as it will be known
Description of the rule, for clarity (Optional)
Name of the variable to be displayed
Maximum number of characters to allow for the length of the variable to
display
Whether text will be right- or left-justified
For each range:
• Limit/threshold between this (high or low) range and the normal range
• Color to use for displaying the variable
• Whether or not the variable will flash
Specify who can access and use this rule.
• Public: This rule can be used by anyone. Use this in a single-user system.
• Private: This rule can only be used by the person who created it. Use this
only in a multi-user system.
If the value for the variable used in this variable rule has a decimal, the
Decimal Value indicates how many decimal places to use in the value for
the variable. (For example, if the value for the variable has 5 digits with a
Decimal Value of 2, then the number “12345” would be considered as
“123.45”.) NOTE: The Decimal Value property is only available if the Data
Type of the variable is “float”. Otherwise, you will not see this property.
83
Using variable rules
Adding a display command rule
1.
Choose the button to add a new display
command rule.
2.
Enter the information to define usage of this
display command rule. The final result of this
window creates a statement expressing a
conditional command, that is, a command that
will only be executed if all the preceding
conditions are met. See the table below for
explanations.
Add a display
command rule
NOTE:
Use care when setting this statement. If this
statement is not correctly set, either nothing
will happen or the wrong action will be taken.
A
K
B
C
D
E
Each row of this table
creates a phrase in the
conditional command
statement.
84
F
G
H
I
J
Using variable rules
Item
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
Name
Description
Rule name
Trigger Variable
Description
Format
Type the name by which the rule is to be called.
Select the variable to be used to start this rule’s test.
Type the description of the rule, for clarity. (Optional)
Shows the complete format of the rule you create. Automatically entered
by Smart Alec as you complete the sections of the rule.
Boolean operators
Choose as appropriate from the following list:
• If
• And
• Or
• Then
The choice depends on what you want the rest of the row to do in relation
to the other phrases.
The first row always starts with “IF” and Items F through J must be
completed. The last row you use must always start with “THEN’ and end
(Item I) with the command you want to be done when the entire statement
is executed.
You can have rows in between the first and last rows and these can start
with either “AND” or “OR” to create additional conditions that must be met
before the command will be done.
Operand 1
Choose the variable to test from a list of existing variables.
Operator
Choose from the following list for comparing Operand 1 with Operand 2:
• Is equal to ( = )
• Is not equal to ( != )
• Is greater than ( > )
• Is greater than or equal to ( >= )
• Is less than ( < )
• Is less than or equal to ( <= )
Operand 2
Specify the value to compare Operand 1 to. Can be a variable or a literal
value. (See Item J.)
Resulting display action Choose the display command to be executed when all conditions are met.
The choice is from a list of existing display commands or groups of
display commands.
Variable/literal value
Click as needed to set this as checked or unchecked.
switch
• Checked: the choices for Item H consist of variables in a drop-down list.
• Unchecked: you can type in your own specific value for Item H.
Owner
Specify who can access and use this rule.
• Public: This rule can be used by anyone. Use this in a single-user system.
• Private: This rule can only be used by the person who created it. Use this
only in a multi-user system.
85
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
For system support purposes, Smart Alec monitors
and creates a log of all events that occur within the
system. This log is available to view by using the Event
Log Manager. Some of the events may be serious enough
that someone should review them and decide if
something should be done about them. Smart Alec
identifies these events and allows a user to acknowledge
having seen them by using the Event Log
Acknowledgement application. All events listed in the
Event Log Acknowledgement application must be
acknowledged before they can be deleted from the log.
Accessing the Event Log Manager
From the Event Log group on the SA Bar, click once
on Event Log Manager. A screen like the one shown below
will appear. See the table below for descriptions.
86
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
B
A
Item
Name
A
Write to file
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
Delete
Archive
Filter
Compact database
Sort Ascending
Sort Descending
Search
D
C
F
E
H
G
Description
Create a tab-delimited print (.prn) file with user-selected fields from the
database.
Delete selected event(s).
Save the entire database as a text (.txt) file.
Select only events that fit specific criteria (data/time and/or database field).
Makes the event log database smaller by removing obsolete references.
Sort A to Z or 0 to 9.
Sort Z to A or 9 to 0.
After selecting a column, use this to search for a specific value.
87
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
Options for viewing the event log database in the Event Log Manager
88
•
Write to a file: Create a tab-delimited print (.prn)
file with user-selected fields from the database.
•
Filter: Select only events that fit specific criteria
(date/time and/or one or more database fields)
•
Refresh: Update the list of events
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
•
Invert selection: Select only those records not
already selected.
•
Sort: Sort high-to-low or low-to high.
Options for managing the event log database
•
•
•
•
Select all: Highlight all records. This allows you
to then delete all records at one time.
Control database size: Set preferences to limit the
number of events listed in the database to a
specific number, to overwrite the oldest records
(never, as needed, or after x number of days),
and to state the wording of the warning message
when the number of events in the database has
reached the limit.
Archive: Save the entire database as a text (.txt)
file.
Compact: Make the event log database smaller
by removing obsolete references.
Accessing the Event Log Acknowledgement application
When you acknowledge a record in the Event Log
database, it is marked as acknowledged and is removed
from the list of events needing acknowledging. You can
use this list as a checkoff list for things to review and/or
check into.
From the Event Log group on the SA Bar, click once
on Event Log Acknowledgement. A screen like the one
89
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
shown below will appear. See the table below for
descriptions.
D
B
A
Item
A
B
C
D
90
Name
Sort Ascending
Sort Descending
Filter
Search
C
Description
Sort A to Z or 0 to 9.
Sort Z to A or 9 to 0.
Select only events that fit specific criteria (data/time and/or database field).
After selecting a column, use this to search for a specific value.
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
Options for viewing the event log in Event Log Acknowledgement
•
Filter: Select only events that fit specific criteria
(date/time and/or database field)
•
Refresh: Update the list of events
•
Sort: Sort high-to-low or low-to high.
Options for acknowledging events
•
•
Preferences: Sets the refresh rate. Also sets
whether to always run the Event Log Manager in
the background when Smart Alec starts up
without waiting for a user to start it from the SA
Bar.
Acknowledge: Displays a window for the selected
record showing all of the values for the event.
Allows you to view the previous/next record.
When you acknowledge a selected record, it is
marked as acknowledged in the Event Log
database and is removed from the list of events
91
Managing the log of Smart Alec system events
needing acknowledging. You can use this list as a
checkoff list for things to review and/or check
into.
•
92
Acknowledge All: Same as Acknowledge but applies
to all records in the list without viewing any
records.
Appendix 1: Troubleshooting
Appendices
Appendix 1: Troubleshooting
Starting the background processing applications
If the Smart Alec applications that do the processing
do not start with Start > Programs > Smart Alec for any
reason, you can manually start them. In Explorer,
double-click on alecstart.exe in the Smart Alec directory.
This will start:
• SABar.exe (the primary user interface)
• SAevtmgr.exe (the background event manager)
• Sockhandler.exe (the background socket data
manager)
• DDEInputHandler.exe (the background DDE
data manager) If this does not run, it may be that
the external data source is not running before
starting Smart Alec. Start the external data
source and then start Smart Alec.
(In Windows, you can see which programs are
running by pressing Ctrl/Alt/Del together. Be sure to
choose Cancel here rather than End Task or Shut Down.)
Where to go for additional help
If you need assistance, please follow this procedure:
1. Refer to relevant topics in this manual.
2. Refer to online Help for the specific application.
3. Contact your authorized Smart Alec reseller.
93
Appendix 1: Troubleshooting
What you need to provide when you need assistance
If you need technical assistance, you will need to
provide:
• full description of the problem
• the sequence of steps that lead up to the problem
• computer system hardware and relevant
software application version numbers
• the version number of Smart Alec found in the
splash screen when Smart Alec starts.
• the product serial number – found on the outside
packaging and on the registration card
• the version number of any relevant Smart Alec
applications, found by right-clicking on the
application in Explorer, choosing Properties then
clicking on the Version tab.
94
Appendix 2: Smart Alec computer requirements
Appendix 2: Smart Alec computer requirements
Make sure your hardware system fits these
minimum requirements:
• Personal computer, IBM or compatible
• Mouse and CD-ROM drive
• SVGA 800 x 600 color monitor
• Microsoft Windows 95,
Microsoft Windows 98, or
Windows NT Workstation 4.0
• 64 MB RAM
• Pentium 120 MHz processor, minimum
• 25 MB hard disk storage space
95
Appendix 3: Notification Device Interfaces
Appendix 3: Notification Device Interfaces
The Smart Alec system includes the following
notification device interfaces.
NOTE:
You may have purchased notification devices
from other third party sources. These are not
supported by Adaptive Micro Systems. You
will need to consult the third party source for
any needed assistance.
Serial interface
A serial notification device interface uses cables to
connect ALPHA SA signs into a network, and messages
are sent over this cabling.
A serial interface works best when all the notification
devices are in one building.
PC – sign – sign – sign – etc.
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
Email interface
An email notification device interface sends
messages over a network using an email service.
PC – LAN network – PC used as email distributor – PC email
PC with email recipient
PC with Smart Alec software
PC as email distributor
LAN
LAN
96
Appendix 3: Notification Device Interfaces
Local pager interface
A local pager notification device interface uses a
transmitter attached to a computer and a wireless
receiver attached to a notification device. Messages are
sent from the computer via a transmitter to wireless
receivers and pagers attached to the notification devices.
The advantage of this connection method is that
wiring does not have to be strung between notification
devices.
PC – pager base station – pager or pager-to-sign
Data Receiver
Data Receiver
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
Pager
Pager
Pager
Transmitter
PC with Smart Alec software
Wide area pager interface
A wide area pager notification device interface uses a
modem attached to your computer and a wireless
receiver attached to a remote notification device, either a
display or a pager. Basically, when a message is sent, it is
transmitted to the remote notification device when the
computer modem calls the device’s modem. Specifically,
a message is sent from your computer to the attached
modem. The modem then dials a paging service, such as
SkyTel, and this paging service actually transmits the
message to the wireless receiver.
A modem connection is often used for devices that
are not in the same building and possibly not in the same
city. It works best when message data does not change
rapidly.
97
Appendix 3: Notification Device Interfaces
PC – modem – pager base station – pager or pager-to-sign
Data Receiver
Data Receiver
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
Pager
Pager
Pager
Modem
PC with Smart Alec software
Radio Paging Network
Terminal server interface
A terminal server notification device interface uses a
Local Area Network cabling system to transmit messages
to a device on the LAN with an IP address.
PC – LAN network – terminal server box – sign – sign – sign – etc.
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
PC with Smart Alec software
Terminal Server
LAN
98
Appendix 4: What modes are available on signs
Appendix 4: What modes are available on signs
Modes are special effects used to change the way a
message appears on a sign.
Table 1: Modes available on signs.
Wipe
Twinkle
Switch
Starburst
Spray
Sparkle
Snow
Slide
Scroll
Rotate
Condensed
Standard
Roll
Interlock
Hold
Flash
Bulletin
Modes
Automode
ALPHA
sign
Type
Sign
(FM = Full Matrix,
CM = Character Matrix,
LM = Line Matrix)
Series 200
FM
●
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●
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Series 300
FM
●
●
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Series 4000
FM
●
Series 7000
FM
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Big Dot
FM
●
Alphavision FM
FM
●
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Alphavision CM
CM
●
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790i
FM
●
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Solar
FM
●
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Director
CM
●
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2.1-inch CM
CM
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3.2-inch CM
CM
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PPD
LM
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99
Appendix 5: Glossary
Appendix 5: Glossary
Administrator
Normally the applications that are needed to set up
the Smart Alec system are available only to an
administrator, while the applications needed for routine
management of messaging needs are available to all
users. In an environment where only one person is
responsible for using Smart Alec, this user is also the
administrator, with full access to all applications.
Security is available so that, for instance, applications
needed only by the Smart Alec administrator (to set up
the system) are not accessible by normal users (for
general management of the system.)
Command
A way for a user to communicate a request for a
desired physical action at a notification device. A
command consists of message content, notification
device destination, and running priority. It is formatted
according to what is needed for each particular
notification device.
A command can, but does not always, trigger action,
depending on priorities and prerequisite conditions.
Pre-set variable display command rules can control when
commands are processed, or commands can be
scheduled.
Details
If you have enough “details” authorization to use an
application, that application will appear in the SA Bar for
you. You will be able to use that application and view
details of any data in it, but you will not be able to make
any changes to it.
Dynamic Data Exchange
Dynamic Data Exchange, or DDE for short, is a
programming method by which Windows-based
computer applications can exchange data when running
simultaneously, generally on the same computer. This
way they can “communicate” directly and actions in one
system can be triggered by data in another system.
100
Appendix 5: Glossary
External data source
A source of data or information outside of the Smart
Alec system. Also known as a data server. One example
of an external data source could be a production line
system, such as Intellution or WonderWare, providing
machine statistics, like the number of parts produced per
minute or a machine's temperature. Another example of
an external data source could be a Microsoft Excel or
Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet.
Message
A message is a unique, unified set (file) of
information – a “thought”. It can be saved and/or sent to
a notification device. Its “look and feel” is based on that
specific device.
A message is defined using the Message Manager. It
may include some or all of the following properties,
either specified or defaulted:
• Text
• Graphics
• Formatting (font, font size, color, etc.)
• Time/date/temperature
• Variables
• Animation
A message does not include the following, which are
designated using Command Manager for the message:
• Scheduling
• Location/destination
• Priority
Multi-user environment
A “multi-user” environment is appropriate when
users should not necessarily have access to the same
applications and application functions; that is, access can
be restricted for some users for applications, application
functions, or system inputs or resources. For example,
you may want to restrict a clerk’s authority and not allow
that person to send messages to the signs on the
production floor. But you would want the building
security manager to be able to send a fire alarm to every
101
Appendix 5: Glossary
sign. Also, you might not want either of these people to
be able to set authority for other users.
Notification Device
An individual hardware component to which you
send messages. Examples are: ALPHA SA signs, email,
and pagers. All notification devices need notification
device interfaces.
Notification Device Interface
Hardware with software settings needed to
communicate properly with a hardware notification
device. Please see “Appendix 3: Notification Device
Interfaces” on page 96 for descriptions and examples.
Priority, Command
The level of authorization needed by a user to send a
command to (or change a command for) a notification
device. A lower number indicates more authority.
Priority, Running
The level of priority of a command sent to a
notification device. A lower number indicates a higher
priority. Each command has a priority. Messages with
commands of the same priority are displayed on the
notification device on a rotating basis. Messages with
commands of a higher priority are displayed, while
messages with commands of a lower priority are
temporarily not displayed, until the messages with
commands of a higher priority expire.
Single-user environment
A “single-user” environment in Smart Alec might
have more than one user, but all users have full access
rights to all applications, application functions, and
system inputs and resources.
Update
If you have enough “update” authorization for an
application, that application will also appear in the SA
Bar for you. You will be able to view details and, in
addition, you will be able to make changes using that
application.
102
Appendix 5: Glossary
User
Any person who is both authorized and set up to
submit information in any way to Smart Alec.
Each user has not only a name and password, but
also is authorized for applications, system resources,
data, and processing.
Variable
A variable represents real-time (“as it happens”) data
that can change (e.g., temperature or production rates,
security lock status, alarms.) Since its value can change
or vary, it’s called a “variable.” Variables’ values are
typically acquired and handled by Smart Alec’s DDE or
socket interfaces.
Variables can be used in two ways:
1. They can be embedded in messages. The value of
the variable gets filled in wherever the variable is
used in an active message, and it is refreshed
whenever the value changes.
2. Variables can also be used to trigger commands
for messages and events to start and stop.
As an example, you could have a variable called
“Temperature” which is continually filled in with values
from a thermometer. The variable could change, for
instance, whenever there is at least a 1-degree change at
the thermometer. Then, whenever “temperature” equals
or exceeds 212° F, a message showing the temperature
could be sent to a sign and an alarm could be triggered to
sound.
103
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Purpose
The purpose of this appendix is to serve as a guide
for a developer writing software to interface with the
Smart Alec 2.1 system through the Socket Input Handler.
Definitions
•
•
ASCII: American Standard Code for Information
Interchange – A set of values corresponding to
numbers, letters, symbols and codes for
exchanging information. Used in computing to
send data across various lines of transmission.
Null terminated string: A series of ASCII
characters ending with a byte valued at 0. This is
similar to the standard implementation of a C++
character string class.
Theory of Operation
The Socket Input Handler is to be packaged with the
first release of Smart Alec 2.1 as a direct interface into the
system. It is currently able to handle a Data Source
Variable Change of State (COS) process.
The user connects to the socket handler using a
standard socket implementation for any computer
platform and the Port number found in the main Smart
Alec database. If the address and port are correct and the
socket handler is running on the host computer, the
handler will accept the connection. The system is
designed to support unlimited users (from different or
the same IP Address), as the host computer’s resources
permit.
104
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Login Sequence
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Initiate a standard socket connection with the
host computer using the IP Address of the host
computer and the port number found in the
Smart Alec database.
The Smart Alec Socket Input Handler will accept
the connection and log the IP address of the
client system.
The client will send a ‘Login Packet’ described
later in this document.
The Socket Input Handler will verify the login
name and password with the database entries to
determine if the client is a valid user.
If the user login is not valid, the Socket Input
Handler will send an ‘Error Packet’ containing a
message to that effect back to the client system.
It will then immediately terminate the
connection.
If the user login is valid, a ‘Success Packet’ will
be returned to the client and operation will
continue as normal.
Standard Operation
After a successful connection has been established, a
valid user login has occurred and a ‘Success Packet’ has
been returned, the Socket Input Handler sits in an idle
state waiting for new packets to come in.
From there, the user is free to send new packets into
the system at any time. A packet is introduced into the
system by sending data serially across the socket
connection. The elements of the packet are explained
better later in the document, but the basic ordering is as
follows:
• Class
• Subclass
• Message ID
• Priority
• Set of arguments
105
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
After the packet has been introduced into the system,
the Socket Input Handler parses the packet header for
information on how to process the data. The handler
knows from the class and subclass how many arguments
to look for and to where the packet needs to be routed.
Since the Socket Input Handler utilizes a
synchronous transfer protocol, after each packet it
receives, it responds to the client with either a ‘Success
Packet’ or an ‘Error Packet.’ It is recommended, for the
integrity of the system, that data is never sent from an
individual source until a return packet has been received.
The Socket Input Handler was written using the
MFC implementation of the CSocket class. Because of
this, it is important that regardless of the system the
client computer is running, data being sent to the handler
is sent in network byte order. The issue comes about
because manufacturers of different microchips have
different views on how data should be stored in memory.
For instance, a 32 bit DWORD on one system would be
stored in the order: Byte 0 – 1 – 2 – 3, whereas another
system might store it in the order: Byte 3 – 2 – 1 – 0.
When it comes to networking, this issue has come about
before. Some implementations of sockets have the ability
to take care of this. If the developer notices that nothing
is coming into the Socket Input Handler right, then there
is a possibility that byte order is the issue. MFC CSockets
are set to read from ‘network byte order’ (“Big Endian”)
and thus, so is this application.
General Packet Layout
The user sends information into the system serially
as a packet. The structure for all types of socket packets
is as follows:
Name:
Class
Type:
long int (32 bits)
Description: Broad identifier for the type of message packet
106
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Name:
Subclass
Type:
long int (32 bits)
Description: Specific identifier for the type of message packet
Name:
Message ID
Type:
long int (32 bits)
Description: Used by client system to identify a
message. Upon response, the Message ID will be identical to the ID of
the packet being responded to.
Name:
Priority
Type:
short int (16 bits)
Description: Used internally by Smart Alec for routing priority. This feature is not currently implemented. Send a short int
with a value of 0.
Name:
Type:
Arguments
Set of null terminated ( ‘\0’ ) ASCII
character strings. All ASCII characters
are valid except ASCII 0 ( ‘\0’ ).
Description: A set of null terminated strings of data.
The strings are sent sequentially with
only the null terminator in between.
Each class and subclass has its own
packet definition for number of strings
to send and rules for format.
Data Source Variable COS
Description
This type of packet alters the value of a variable
already existing in the Smart Alec system. Typically, this
is used to update a variable on a display device, give
notice of an event, or display general information.
107
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Packet Definition
Class:
8
SubClass: 8
Arguments: 2 Arguments are expected for this type
of message packet
Name:
Var_Name
Limits:
32 characters
Description: Name of the variable as identified in
the database
Name:
Var_Cur
Limits:
128 characters
Description: Updated value of the variable (in null
terminated string format)
Login Packet
Description
This is the first packet that needs to be sent into the
system. If the login values to not match up with a user in
the Smart Alec system, the Socket Input Handler will
return an ‘Error Packet’ indicating an invalid login and
the connection will be terminated. If this is not the first
packet sent, an ‘Error Packet’ will be returned indicating
that the user is not logged in yet and the session will be
terminated. If a second login is attempted after a
successful login has already occurred on this connection,
an ‘Error Packet’ will be returned indicating that the user
is already logged in and the session will continue.
Packet Definition:
Class:
SubClass:
1
1
Arguments: 3 Arguments are expected for this type
of message packet
108
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Name:
User_Name
Limits:
64 characters
Description: The name used to identify the account
of a Smart Alec user
Name:
User_Password
Limits:
255 characters
Description: The password for this Smart Alec user
account
Name:
Limits:
Callback_Port
Between 1024 and 65535 (in ASCII
characters)
Description: The number of a port on the client’s
system that has a listen connection
open in the event of outstanding notifications after a broken connection. In
this case, the socket handler will open a
socket to that port on the client’s system. This feature is not currently
implemented. Send a null terminated
string containing the number 0. (ie. ‘0’
or ASCII 40)
Log Message
Description
This type of packet is primarily used as a diagnostic
or debugging tool. It will place a message or note
directly into the Smart Alec Event Log, the Socket Input
Handler local log file, and the Smart Alec Trace System.
Packet Definition
Class:
SubClass:
0
0
Arguments: 1 Argument is expected for this type of
message packet
109
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Name:
Message
Limits:
64 characters
Description: A message or note to place directly into
the Smart Alec event log, the Socket
Input Handler local log, and the Smart
Alec event trace system. Smart Alec
will log this message regardless of
whether logging or tracing is enabled.
Socket Command
Description
This type of packet is used to issue a command
directly to the Socket Input Handler. The scope of these
commands is pretty limited, but can prove to be useful.
The tools currently available are based on dynamically
controlling tracing and logging.
Packet Definition
Class:
SubClass:
0
1
Arguments: 1 Argument is expected for this type of
message packet
Name:
Command
Limits:
32 characters (Case Insensitive)
Description: A control command to be issued
directly to the Socket Input Handler
Available commands:
- None
Return Packets
These packets are returned upon completion of the
processing of a submitted packet by the Socket Input
Handler. The packet format is the same as with packets
sent into the socket handler. The Message ID that comes
back in this packet will be the same ID that was sent in
the original packet.
110
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
Success Packet
Description
The success packet is a return packet used in the
synchronous transport protocol to indicate that a packet
entered into the system has been processed by the socket
handler and routed to its proper destination. After
receiving this packet, the client system is safe to send
another packet.
Packet Definition
Class:
SubClass:
0
2
Arguments: 1 Argument is expected for this type of
message packet
Name:
Success Message
Limits:
32 characters
Description: A string indicating that processing is
complete for a client’s message
Error Packet
Description
The error packet is returned when a problem has
occurred either with the incoming packet or within the
Socket Input Handler application. The argument within
the packet gives information on the nature of the error. It
is recommended that the client system examine the
nature of the error and make a determination whether it
should continue sending data.
Packet Definition
Class:
0
SubClass: 3
Arguments: 1 Argument is expected for this type of
message packet
Name:
Success Message:
Limits:
32 characters
Description: A string indicating nature of the error
that the Socket Input Handler encoun111
Appendix 6: Socket Interface – API Process Guide
tered with this packet. These errors are
explained in the Return Information
Reference.
112
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