An Open Environment for Development of Manufacturing Applications on vf-OS
Updated: Jun 1, 2018
The H2020 vf-OS project proposes to create an operating system targeted to the development of mechanisms that interact with the real factory assets, enablers for connecting to internet and web features, and an environment that fosters the development of applications for the manufacturing business. For that purpose, the project developed a framework named virtual factory Open Application development Kit (vf-OAK).
The whole vf-OAK suite is composed by a set of integrated tools. The central component of the vf-OAK is its Software Development Kit (SDK), an environment for the development of applications and, generically, for the centralised access of the vf-OS assets and functionalities. This SDK is complemented with a GUI that forms its frontend Interface, the vf-OS Studio, which includes tools for code development, editors that include features like Business Process Management Notation (BPMN), syntax highlighting and drag-and-drop, debugging, and analysis of the developed code. The Studio also encapsulates other tools developed in the scope of the project, such as a Frontend Composer, a Process Designer, a System Dashboard, and provides access to the vf-Store marketplace for development and publishing of the products.
The vf-OS Frontend composer builds a library of graphical elements that can be linked to simple functionalities. These elements are cross-platform compatible and they serve as a help for developers to quickly and safely create consistent looking vApps. In design time, the developer can select and customise the UI components that are required for the vApp frontend, and in runtime, these UI components can invoke demanded user interactions such as simple calls to the public vf-OS interfaces, or accessing the whole vf-SDK functionality.
The vf-OS Process Designer is responsible for allowing users to model multiple manufacturing workflows for orchestrating the various assets available within a collaborative framework, such as Generic Enablers, vf-OS Services, components or other vApps. The tool will be an online workspace supporting a BPMN-like model and will be usable by vApps whenever process design and orchestration is appropriate.
The vf-OS System Dashboard is a runtime, central dashboard and task manager, aimed at monitoring, warning, configuring, and adapting system resources, providing information on the runtime behaviour of the vf-Apps, allowing the status of all user accessible vf-OS components and deployed assets to be monitored and controlled, allowing also notifications.
To complement the actions of development, creation, debugging and integration, the modern methodologies for supporting the development advocate having an active and engaged community of users, partners, customers and developers that contribute to the success of the projects, ensuring the solutions’ adoption, enhancement and maintenance, and allowing the lifespan of vApps to improve. For that purpose, the project is creating a Developers Engagement Hub, which has the purpose of gathering and promoting the contact, interaction, collaboration and discussion of interested stakeholders, ensuring the dissemination of the developed code and its evolution.