Tango object naming (device, attribute and property)

Intended audience: developers, users, administrators, Programming language: all

Device name

A Tango device name is a three fields name. The field separator is the / character. The first field is named domain, the second field is named family and the last field is named member.A tango device name looks like


It is a hierarchical notation. The member specifies which element within a family. The family specifies which kind of equipment within a domain. The domain groups devices related to which part of the accelerator/experiment they belongs to. At ESRF, some of the machine control system domain name are SR for the storage ring, TL1 for the transfer line 1 or SY for the synchrotron booster. For experiment, ID11 is the domain name for all devices belonging to the experiment behind insertion device 11. Here are some examples of Tango device name used at the ESRF :

  • sr/d-ct/1 : The current transformer. The domain part is sr for storage ring. The family part is d-ct for diagnostic/current transformer and the member part is 1

  • fe/v-pen/id11-1 : A Penning gauge. The domain part is fe for front-end. The family part is v-pen for vacuum/penning and the member name is id11-1 to specify that this is the first gauge on the front-end part after the insertion device 11

Full object name

The device name as described above is not enough to cover all Tango usage like device server without database or device access for multi control system. With the naming schema, we must also be able to name attribute and property. Therefore, the full naming schema is


The protocol, host, port, attribute, property and dbase fields are optional. The meaning of these fields are :

protocol: Specifies which protocol is used (Tango or Taco). Tango is the default

#dbase: The supported value for xx is yes and no. This field is used to specify that the device is a device served by a device server started with or without database usage. The default value is dbase=yes

host:port: This field has different meaning according to the dbase value. If dbase=yes (the default), the host is the host where the control system database server is running and port is the database server port. It has a higher priority than the value defined by the TANGO_HOST environment variable. If dbase=no, host is the host name where the device server process serving the device is running and port is the device server process port.

attribute: The attribute name

property: The property name

The host:port and dbase=xx fields are necessary only when creating the DeviceProxy object used to remotely access the device. The -> characters are used to specify a property name.

Some examples

Full device name examples

  • gizmo:20000/sr/d-ct/1 : Device sr/d-ct/1 running in a specified control system with the database server running on a host called gizmo and using the port number 20000. The TANGO_HOST environment variable will not be used.

  • tango://freak:2345/id11/rv/1#dbase=no : Device served by a device server started without database. The server is running on a host called freak and use port number 2345. //freak:2345/id11/rv/1#dbase=no is also possible for the same device.

  • Taco://sy/ps-ki/1 : Taco device sy/ps-ki/1

Attribute name examples

  • id11/mot/1/Position : Attribute position for device id11/mot/1

  • sr/d-ct/1/Lifetime : Attribute lifetime for Tango device sr/d-ct/1

Attribute property name

  • id11/rv/1/temp->label : Property label for attribute temp for device id11/rv/1.

  • sr/d-ct/1/Lifetime->unit : The unit property for the Lifetime attribute of the sr/d-ct/1 device

Device property name

  • sr/d-ct/1->address : the address property for device sr/d-ct/1

Class property name

  • Starter->doc_url : The doc_url property for a class called Starter

Device and attribute name alias

Within Tango, each device or attribute can have an alias name defined in the database. Every time a device or an attribute name is requested by the API’s, it is possible to use the alias. The alias is simply an open string stored in the database. The rule of the alias is to give device or attribute name a name more natural from the physicist point of view. Let’s imagine that for experiment, the sample position is described by angles called teta and psi in physics book. It is more natural for physicist when they move the motor related to sample position to use teta and psi rather device name like idxx/mot/1 or idxx/mot/2. An attribute alias is a synonym for the four fields used to name an attribute. For instance, the attribute Current of a power-supply device called sr/ps/dipole could have an alias DipoleCurrent. This alias can be used when creating an instance of a AttributeProxy class instead of the full attribute name which is sr/ps/dipole/Current. Device alias name are uniq within a Tango control system. Attribute alias name are also uniq within a Tango control system.

Reserved words and characters, limitations

From the naming schema described above, the reserved characters are :, #, / and the reserved string is : ->. On top of that, the dbt_update tool (tool to fulfill database from the content of a file) reserved the device word

The device name, its domain, member and family fields and its alias are stored in the Tango database. The default maximum size for these items are :


max length

device name


domain field


family field


member field


device alias name


The device name, the command name, the attribute name, the property name, the device alias name and the device server name are case insensitive.