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Article - July 2003
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BACnet Rapid Development Toolkit

Chris Gurtler 

www.SCADAEngine.com


Overview

The BACnet specification can be a little daunting to even the most experienced computer programmer. The specification is over 500 pages long and requires an in-depth knowledge of TCP/IP, threading etc. Not only is it very time consuming to build a driver, it is very difficult to provide all of the features that BACnet has to offer. The BACnet Rapid Development Kit eliminates the need for a developer to write the BACnet driver so they can concentrate on the implementation of the driver into an application. The Rapid Development Toolkit could be used to build a management station, display real time data on a web page, or in a gateway.

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The BACnet Rapid Development Toolkit comprises 3 components that can be used to develop a BACnet application. Together they form a comprehensive toolkit. There are samples for Reading/Writing, Trendlogs, Alarms and Time Schedules. An Excel spreadsheet sample is included along with a BACnet-OPC gateway sample and BACnet-Modbus gateway sample.

BACnetX

BACnetX is an ActiveX dll that provides bi-directional communication to the BACnet network. It supports most BACnet services and objects as well as BACnet/IP and BACnet ethernet.

The BACnetX dll can be built into a Visual Basic client application to provide communication to the BACnet network. BACnetX has its own device ID and responds to requests from other BACnet devices.

BACnet objects can be created inside BACnetX for storing real-time data. They are stored on the hard disk, so that on start up the objects are loaded again into the BACnetX.

BACnet XML Gateway

The BACnet XML gateway is used to allow an application to issue simple text messages to communicate to BACnet devices on the BACnet network. The communication is via TCP/IP and the body of the text messages are formatted in XML, making the gateway operating system independent.

The BACnet XML gateway can operate on either Linux or Windows and it provides the communication to the BACnet system. The BACnet XML gateway is a BACnet device with its own BACnet address which provides bi-directional communication to the BACnet system.

BACnet Device Simulator

To assist in the development of a BACnet application, a BACnet device simulator called bacnet.exe is provided. All BACnet traffic is displayed on the screen for debugging purposes as well as messages to assist in the development of BACnet applications. The best way to use this application is to run it on a separate computer to the development PC because there can only be one BACnet device running on each PC. For example start this application on a PC and set its device ID to 201, then run any of the BACnetX sample applications to reference device 201 instead of 200.

SCADA Engine are proud to announce the release of the BACnet Rapid Development Toolkit to aid in the development of BACnet systems. A fully functional evaluation copy can be downloaded from www.SCADAEngine.com


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