The OPC Foundation has announced the release of OPC .NET 3.0 (formerly known as OPC Express Interface (Xi)). This API will enable users of OPC Classic to leverage the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) technology, facilitating the transfer of data securely through firewalls. Developed as an enhancement to OPC Classic, OPC .NET 3.0 serves to bridge the gap between Microsoft .NET and the world of OPC Classic, and will also provide a common interface between newly developed .Net clients and OPC Classic servers.
OPC Classic relies on DCOM to manage distributed communications. But by using the newly created OPC .NET 3.0, developers can work with WCF and eliminate the headaches associated with DCOM configuration. Managed code applications developed using the OPC .NET 3.0 interface will be able to take advantage of the included COM interop layer to easily enable communications with OPC Classic servers that are typically developed as unmanaged code applications.
The use of WCF in OPC .NET 3.0 also provides an increased level of security through built-in authentication, authorization and data encryption. Additional security features have been built into the interface to enable secure authentication across HTTP or TCP.
In the future, the OPC Foundation will integrate the OPC .NET 3.0 with OPC UA, such that client applications based on OPC .NET 3.0 will be able to access OPC UA servers.
OPC .NET 3.0 enables:
- Easy access to OPC DA (Data Access), OPC HDA (Historical Data Access) and OPC A&E (Alarms and Events)
- A .NET development environment
- Secure, firewall-friendly communications via WCF
- A Microsoft-centric replacement for DCOM
- Full compatibility with OPC Classic