Introduction to device server

Intended audience: developers, Programming language: all

Device servers were first developed at the European Synchrotron radiation Facility (ESRF) for controlling the 6 Gev synchrotron radiation source. This document is a Programmer’s Manual on how to write TANGO device servers. It will not go into the details of the ESRF, nor its Control System nor any of the specific device servers in the Control System. The role of this document is to help programmers faced with the task of writing TANGO device servers.

Device servers have been developed at the ESRF in order to solve the main task of Control Systems viz provide read and write access to all devices in a distributed system. The problem of distributed device access is only part of the problem however. The other part of the problem is providing a programming framework for a large number of devices programmed by a large number of programmers each having different levels of experience and style.

Device servers have been written at the ESRF for a large variety of different devices. Devices vary from serial line devices to devices interfaced by field-bus to memory mapped VME cards or PC cards to entire data acquisition systems. The definition of a device depends very much on the user’s requirements. In the simple case a device server can be used to hide the serial line protocol required to communicate with a device. For more complicated devices the device server can be used to hide the entire complexity of the device timing, configuration and acquisition cycle behind a set of high level commands.

This section is organized as follows:

Throughout this section examples of source code will be given in order to illustrate what is meant. Most examples have been taken from the StepperMotor class - a simulation of a stepper motor which illustrates how a typical device server for a stepper motor at the ESRF functions.