basysKom talks at Qt World Summit 2019 (4/4)

After initiating Qt OPC UA in 2015 and significant effort in research and development, first customer solutions were successfully realized in 2019. A good point in time to have a closer look into the usage of the API.

Industrial integration out of the box – Qt OPC UA, to be presented by Frank Meerkötter (4/4)

OPC UA is a standard for data modeling and machine to machine communication originating from the industrial automation space. Nowadays it is used in a diverse, growing set of industries. Its mission statement is to enable easy integration and interoperability between machines, components and applications of different vendors. OPC UA is an important building block of the Industry 4.0 story. This presentation will highlight how Qt fits into the picture – by presenting the Qt OPC UA API, its features and capabilities.

The core goal of Qt OPC UA is to make it easy to integrate OPC UA services into Qt applications. It first entered the scene as a contribution by basysKom which became a technology preview with Qt 5.11. Since then, The Qt Company and basysKom invested significantly to mature the API and to add missing features. Most prominently are the addition of support for secure connections, service discovery, events and a brand new QML API.

The presentation provides a starting point to develop OPC UA enabled Qt applications and will walk the audience through a number of scenarios and how to handle them with Qt OPC UA using both the C++ and the QML API.

  • Basic API concepts
  • Connecting to a server
  • Browsing
  • Access to nodes
  • Monitoring values changes
  • Method calls

The presentation provides the audience with a starting point to develop own OPC UA enabled Qt applications.

basysKom talks at Qt World Summit 2019 (3/4)

Not a ten year jubilee, but close – join Jeremias on a nine year Qt Quick retrospective (Nov. 6th).

Qt Quick -what could possibly go wrong…”, to be presented by Jeremias Bosch (3/4)

The last nine years basysKom provided “rescue services” for numerous Qt Quick projects. This talk presents a moody retrospective – offering the audience the unique opportunity to learn from the failure of others.

Once upon a time we all started our first QML project. The first impression being “wow, that was easy!”. We were full of joy, believing in the quickness and broad simplification that Qt Quick would bring into our lifes. Widgets were so outdated that most of us forgot that they even existed. The future was touchable, quick, bright and shiny. Qt Quick projects grew from a first small patch of code into green gardens, prospered into parks, … and sometimes they grew into wild jungles ruled by darkness; where wild roots and thick undergrowth stopped every movement, where the trees of objects grew so heavy on the memory of our targets that shipping down the river of production was as unlikely as seeing the sun at the north pole in winter times …

Based on our project experience this talk will present a sightseeing tour of several close encounters for projects involving Qt Quick. It will dig for the root causes and apart from a good laugh we will provide the audience with sustainable solutions. Those can be adapted or adopted to avoid growing a jungle.

basysKom talks at Qt World Summit 2019 (2/4)

The web and its immense success over the last 20 years had a major influence on technology. It has shaped how we serialize data, consume and provide services and how we develop HMIs.  The next talk presented by basysKom will provide a survey on how this challenge is addressed by Qt.

Qt and the web – where are we today, to be presented by Frank Meerkötter

The presentation is split into three parts.

1) Consuming and interfacing with web-centric services and APIs from a Qt application. Applications that download additional information from a cloud-service or upload the result of their work into such a service are todays norm. We will look into how REST/WebSocket-APIs can be used, also covering topics such as SSL, authentication and authorization. 

2) Implementing services and APIs to be consumed by other – web-centric systems – with Qt. There are a number of scenarios where a Qt application is providing (web)services itself. These include Qt being used headless on an embedded system to implement the backend for a web-based HMI, Qt being used on the server to make an established application accessible to the web, or giving testers (which prefer scripting languages) access to the internals of a Qt HMI. We will look at the upcoming QHttpServer module and the QWebSocketServer module provided by Qt.

3) HMI development. There are a number of scenarios where an HMI needs to run a web browser. This can either mean an HMI that is implemented using Web-technologies (by preference) or a Qt HMI needs to be run in a web browser. Scenarios include embedded devices without a display, giving remote access to HMIs and having an embedded web browser to display a web-based HMI, while the backend is implemented using Qt. We will look at Qt’s webgl-streaming, how to get an application to output VNC (which can be streamed into a browser) as well as what can be done with  Qt for WebAssemby. For the embedded web browser scenario we will look at the Qt WebEngine and how to integrate business logic via QWebChannel.

For each of these three areas we will look into typical scenarios/problems and how to solve them with Qt. We will highlight where Qt really shines and where additional work is left to be done.

basysKom talks at Qt World Summit 2019 (1/4)

This year’s Qt World Summit is just around the corner and basysKom will present four talks in Berlin. Follow us for more details until the event starts.

Qt Quick on low-end i.MX6 devices, to be presented by Jeremias Bosch

Embedded Linux in combination with Qt and Qt Quick are a widespread combination for the development of modern, complex and animated touch HMIs. This technology mixture is used for applications such as in-car infotainment, industrial controls, portable measurement devices or medical systems.

In an ideal world the embedded board is a power house, allowing smooth user experience, small startup time and low latency without the need of spending time and effort into optimization. But not all products can afford a high end i.MX6 with a dual or even quad core CPU with a powerful GPU. Price sensitive applications are often implemented with more affordable, but at the same time less powerful variants such as an i.MX6 dual lite or even smaller. With the consequence, that implementing a top of the line, complex HMI on a small i.MX6 can be a challenge.

The lecture will reflect best practises using Qt Quick on small devices, in particular the i.MX6 dual lite and SoloX. The audience will get a first set of do’s and don’ts, kick starting own Qt Quick projects on low end hardware.

OPC UA support in Qt 5.11

OPC UA is a central element of the Industry 4.0 story providing seamless communication between IT and industrial production systems. basysKom has initiated Qt OPC UA in 2015 with the goal of providing an out of the box Qt API for OPC UA. In 2017 basysKom, together with The Qt Company, has finished up a Technology Preview of that API. It will be available with the upcoming Qt 5.11 release end of May.

The focus of Qt OPC UA is on HMI/application development and ease of use for client-side development. The Tech Preview implements a subset of the OPC UA standard. It allows to connect to servers, read and write attributes, call methods on the server, monitor values for data changes and browse nodes. All this functionality is provided by asynchronous APIs which integrate nicely into Qt applications.

Qt OPC UA is primarily an API and not a whole OPC UA stack. A plugin interface allows to integrate existing OPC UA stacks as API backends. Currently, plugins for the following stacks are available:

  • FreeOpcUa
  • open62541
  • Unified Automation C++ SDK 1.5

Qt OPC UA will be available directly from the Qt installer for those holding a Qt for Automation license. The source code itself is triple licensed (GPL, LGPL and commercial) with the exception of the Unified Automation backend which is only available under a commercial license. Users of one of the Open Source licenses will need to compile Qt OPC UA themselves. See here for a list of build recipes.

The backends for FreeOpcUa and open62541 are available under an Open Source license. When going for an Open Source solution, we recommend the open62541 plugin as it is the more complete implementation with an active community and a good momentum. It also has less dependencies, making usage on platforms such as Android or iOS much easier.

On the platform side, the technology preview will by available for

  • Windows with Visual Studio 2015 & 2017 as well as MinGW
  • Linux (Desktop and Embedded)
  • Android and iOS

Please note that not every backend is available on every platform.

On top of what is part of the Tech Preview, there are already a number of additions planned. Among them support for transport security, the discovery service, event support and filters.

We are looking forward to feedback and questions on this new module.

Want to give Qt OpcUa a try?

Update 02.03.2018: the steps outlined below have become outdated. Please see here for up to date build steps.

basysKom has initiated Qt OpcUa which is a module offering support for the industrial communication standard OPC UA. This module has been contributed by us to the Qt Project. The Qt OpcUa API wraps existing OPC UA implementations. Currently, implementations for freeopcua and open62541 are available.

Qt OpcUa will become part of the Qt 5.11 release as a Technology Preview. First alpha builds will be available by the end of February 2018. Qt 5.11 release is scheduled for end of May 2018.

Why not try out the current state of Qt OpcUa right now?

We have been asked by a number of people how to get started already now. We will provide short howtos for Ubuntu, Windows-MinGW and Visual Studio 2017 in the following article.

Two things are needed: Qt OpcUa itself and an OPC UA library. In this article, we use open62541 as it has very little dependencies (and is the more complete implementation anyway).

The easiest approach to build Qt OpcUa is as a drop-in for Qt 5.10. This spares us from creating a full Qt build based on the current dev branch.

The following recipes assume that you have cmake, python/pip, perl, git and other essential build tools installed. Paths used with the examples need to be adjusted to reflect your local situation.

Installation on Linux

These steps have been tested on Ubuntu 16.04 but can be applied to a wide range of desktop distributions.

Installation on Windows (Visual Studio 2017)

Start by running the Qt 5.10.0 64-bit for Desktop (MSVC 2017) shell shipped with Qt (have a look at the “Start Menu”). Use this shell to issue the following commands:

Above recipe will also work for Visual Studio 2015. 2013 is not supported (and will be dropped by Qt 5.11 anyways).

Installation on Windows (MinGW as shipped with Qt 5.10)

Start by running the Qt 5.10.0 for Desktop (MinGW 5.3.0 32 bit) shell shipped with Qt (have a look at the “Start Menu”). Use this shell to issue the following commands:

Usage

After successful completion of above steps Qt OpcUa will be available from your existing Qt5.10 installation. A documentation snapshot can be found here.

The following “Hello Qt OpcUa” example shows how to read an attribute from a server (add QT += opcua to your .pro).

Conclusion

Most of the API envisioned for the Technology Preview is available. We are currently busy testing and polishing, as well as adding more comprehensive examples and improving the documentation. Please leave a comment or get in contact with us if you have any questions or comments – you still have the chance to influence the final shape of the API.

QtWs17: Practical Qt Lite

The Qt World Summit recordings 2017 are online. basysKom presented “Practical Qt Lite”.

Qt Lite is a project within Qt geared towards optimizing Qt for smaller devices. One important feature of the overall Qt Lite story is the ability to create size optimized, application specific builds of Qt. These require less flash, less RAM and also load faster.

In this presentation we show how to create such size optimized builds with and without Qt Lite and  present some actual numbers on achievable savings. Have fun!

Qt World Summit 2017 – Berlin

This year the Qt World Summit is back in Europe. It will be held October 11th and 12th in Berlin. basysKom is proud to sponsor and to participate in a number of ways.

At the exhibition we will showcase a distributed industrial automation scenario based on Qt Quick and QOpcUa. QOpcUa is an upcoming Qt module basysKom initiated, aiming for simple integration between industrial controllers and HMIs. The showcase also features integration of telemetry data into a Microsoft Azure-based Cloud-Application via MQTT. To highlight the cross platform capabilities of Qt, the HMI is deployed to a number of different devices.

At the conference we will present our Qt Lite experience. “Practical Qt Lite” will be held Wednesday at 15:00, Room A03. Come visit us if you are interested in having smaller Qt builds for your embedded project.

This year, the Qt Contributor Summit is co-located with the World Summit. Contributors to Qt discuss the development and directions of the Qt project. The Contributor summit happens Monday and Tuesday, right before the World Summit. basysKom will offer a session on QOpcUa on Tuesday at 15:00 in Room2. If your are interested in OPC-UA and its integration into Qt please join the session!

We are looking forward to meeting you in Berlin!

Qt Lite

Qt Lite is an initiative driven by The Qt Company striving for smaller and leaner Qt builds. It utilizes the new configuration system introduced with Qt 5.8 to create custom builds stripped of features or classes that aren’t needed for a given application. Focus is mostly on Embedded Linux with the goal of making Qt a feasible option on smaller systems. In this post we will have a look at the current state of affairs and we will provide guidance on how to experiment with Qt Lite on your own. Continue reading Qt Lite