By now, I'm sure you've at least heard about the latest and greatest TOP Server just released on November 15 – so you've likely received one or more of our mailings announcing the release of TOP Server V6.0.
And you're probably asking, “If I’ve already read those emails, what more is this blog post going to tell me?” Keep reading to find out more specific details about five of the most exciting features in TOP Server V6.0.
1. User Interface Enhancements
Whether you’ve just started using TOP Server or you’ve been using TOP Server for years, you’ve certainly spent some amount of time familiarizing yourself with the user interface. I’m sure you know how to configure new channels and devices and edit existing channels and devices.
So when you hear me talk about changes to the user interface, possibly you start to worry a little bit. Don’t worry – the user interface changes in V6.0 are extremely intuitive and should actually make your life a whole lot easier. So, what actually is changing with the user interface, I’m sure you’re asking:
- Unified project view
- If you’ve ever had to use the topic alias map in TOP Server, or configure any of the plug-ins, such as the Scheduler or Advanced Tags, you know you had to go to a separate section of the user interface to configure those settings.
- TOP Server V6.0 provides a common project view with a hierarchy view of all available/installed plug-ins and the alias map so you can view everything in one place. And, if you’re not using a particular plug-in that is installed, you can even “hide” it.
- Standardized, modernized properties editor
- If you’ve used TOP Server, I’m sure you’re familiar with the look and feel of the channel and device properties windows.
- In TOP Server V6.0, you’ll find that the properties window has now been modernized, with standard locations for similar settings from one driver to the next, in an easy-to-view format that makes it easy to find the setting you’re looking for.
- And remember how you used to have to close the properties window for one device, channel, etc. and then open it again for the next device or channel you’re interested in changing?
- Not any more – now, you simply apply the changes you just made and click on the next device or channel in the tree view that you’re interested in. The properties for this next object automatically populate in the common properties editor. This should provide both convenience and time-savings when making a lot of changes to a TOP Server project.
- Improved wizards
- One of the strengths that TOP Server has always had going for it were the user-friendly wizards that progress you through configuring a new channel or device, providing common default settings that work out of the box in a majority of situations.
- TOP Server V6.0 wizards get even better, applying the modernized look-and-feel of the new properties editor, while being resizable to ensure you can view all of the additional explanation text for each setting.
- And, if that isn’t good enough, the settings summary that has always been available at the end of a channel or device wizard still allows you to see all of the settings you’ve just configured – but, now, you can also make last minute changes right in the summary!
2. Configuration API
For all of our power users out there, TOP Server V6.0 gives you the ability to programmatically configure TOP Server through a REST-based API. And stay tuned - in the future, we will also be introducing a .NET API. But what does that mean for you?
- Configure TOP Server from any custom application
- If you have your own custom developed applications that are accessing TOP Server and you’ve always wondered why it isn’t possible to configure your TOP Server straight from that other application – now you can.
- The new API provides all of the same configuration options you’re familiar with using in the TOP Server user interface, but via API calls you can make from any custom application (things like adding a new channel or device, editing existing channels/devices/tags, deleting channels/devices/tags, and so much more).
- Value-added tools/utilities coming soon
- And, in addition, Software Toolbox will be using these powerful new capabilities to bring you a whole range of value-added tools in 2017 to help save you time and effort.
3. Licensing Enhancements
Many of you have told us over the years that you would love it if TOP Server licensing was a little more user-friendly. And we heard you. With TOP Server V6.0, you’ll experience several dramatically improved elements with respect to the licensing process.
- Single roundtrip for activations
- For multi-driver license installations (situations where you’re licensing maybe an Allen-Bradley Suite, Modbus Suite and Siemens Suite on the same machine), you’ll only have to make one roundtrip to our registration website.
- So for that particular example, TOP Server V6.0 cuts your licensing time down by two-thirds.
- Certificate-based support/maintenance renewals
- In the past, renewing your TOP Server support was the same process as your initial license activation.
- In TOP Server V6.0, support/maintenance renewals are now certificate based – this means NO roundtrips to our registration website whatsoever to renew your support/maintenance each year.
- You simply import the certificate file that you receive from us. And, by the way, one certificate file can provide support/maintenance renewal for up to 100 activation IDs – so most users can receive a single certificate file for all of their machines!
- Improved trial mode
- Remember that time you wanted to try out a driver on your licensed TOP Server prior to purchasing a license?
- Remember when that unlicensed driver caused your licensed TOP Server to revert to two-hour trial mode?
- Well, with TOP Server V6.0, that behavior is in the past. Now, only the unlicensed component actually times out after the trial timer ends.
- Your licensed components continue operating normally – saving you the headaches of the past by not having to figure out why your server timed out all of a sudden.
4. OPC UA Enhancements
So, you might be asking “How did they improve OPC UA support when TOP Server has already had OPC UA for years?”
- New, improved native OPC UA interface
- Previously, the OPC UA interface was implemented with the use of a third-party toolkit.
- For TOP Server V6.0, the development team worked hard to provide a native OPC UA implementation, allowing for improved performance and diagnostics tools.
- Yes, you heard that right, DIAGNOSTICS – TOP Server now has OPC UA diagnostics built-in. Troubleshooting any OPC UA connectivity with a UA client just got so much easier!
- Built for the future
- With a native OPC UA interface, TOP Server V6.0 is perfectly positioned for adding additional OPC UA profiles in the future (such as Alarms & Events and Nano).
5. More Security at Your Fingertips
And last, but not least, TOP Server V6.0 users now have complimentary access to the Security Policies advanced plug-in at no additional charge, previously a $395 add-in option. But what is the Security Policies plug-in, you might be saying.
- Flexible, powerful control over your TOP Server
- The Security Policies plug-in provides the ultimate in flexible user authentication for your TOP Server.
- You can dictate what users have access to down to the individual tag level based on their defined user in the integrate TOP Server User Manager.
- In industries that are tightly regulated where you need to ensure the right people have the right access to the right settings, having access to the Security Policies plug-in should provide great peace of mind.
All of these new features add a level of enterprise-ready, IT-friendly, and secure functionality along with improved efficiency, scalability, and flexibility. And, while these are some of the bigger features, as always, we have a list of other enhancements and features in the release notes that we just don’t have room to cover here - click for details.
And, since V6.0 was released, we've added even more powerful functionality in subsequent releases, making it more important than ever to stay current on your TOP Server installations - click on the links below to access more details on the key features of each release:
- V6.1 Key Features
- V6.2 Key Features
- V6.3 Key Features
- V6.4 Key Features
- V6.5 Key Features
- Subscribe to our blog for updates on future releases
Ready to see TOP Server V6 in action? Click below to access an on-demand webinar with live demonstration of the new features.