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Learn about how to use and create Tag Providers, Ignition's primary means of organizing Tags.
Video recorded using: Ignition 8.1
Transcript(open in window)
[00:00] The Tag system in ignition features a concept called Tag providers. A Tag provider is a grouping of tags. When you first install ignition, we create two tag providers for you. The default tag provider and system tag provider. The default tag provider will be empty on initial installation and it is there so that you have a place to add tags. The system tag provider is there to provide users with clients and gateway metrics. Currently, I have my designer open and we can see the tag browser on the left here. Notice how this drop-down list, currently shows its selected value to be default. This is because, this tag browser is currently looking at the default, tag provider. This means that, the tag browser will display all the tags that belong to that provider. If I click on the drop-down list and select my system provider, I will see two folders here. One for client metrics and one for Gateway metrics. Drilling into the gateway folder here, I will be able to see gateway relevant information like, device statuses, statuses for each of the databases my gateway is connected to, even my performance figures for my gateway machine among others.
[01:09] It is important to note that users cannot add new tags or modify existing tags in the system tag provider so keep that in mind going forward. By double clicking on the system tag, you will be able to see what tag parameters or configuration changes we are able to make. Things like, configuring tag security, tag event scripts, alarming, and tag history our mechanisms that we can still use for system tags. I will go back to my tag provider drop down lists and swap between providers like so. Notice how each provider has its own individual tags associated with it. As we said earlier, a tag provider is just a group of tags, so selecting a different provider from the drop-down list here, will display all the tags available for our selected tag provider. Tag groups are also specific to each provider. This means that if I create a new tag group for my default provider, by clicking on the kebab icon here and opening the tag group editor, once my tag group is created, I can see it on my tag group list for my default provider.
[02:05] If I point my tag browser to a different provider and check my tag groups once more, notice our created tag group does not appear on this list. This is because again, tag groups are specific to a type provider. At this point, you might be wondering how to create a tag provider? Since tags are a gateway scope resource, we must head to our gateways web interface. From the configure section, I can head down to tags, realtime. Here, we will see a list of all the providers available in our gateway. Notice how the system provider is missing from this list. We hide the system providers configuration for the same reason, we do not allow users to add tags to it. It is there solely to provide you with information about your system, and that is not to be modified. Anyway, let's create a new provider by clicking on the button down here. We will talk about Remote Tag Providers later on, but for now, I will create a new standard tag provider. I will leave all the default configurations and press the create new tag provider button.
[03:03] My new tag provider now appears on my gateway's list and going back to my designer and pressing the refresh button on my tag browser, I'm able to see my newly created provider. Of course, if I select it from the drop-down list, it will be empty because it was just created, and no tags I've been added to it yet. What we just did opens up a question of when is it a good idea to create a new tag provider. Users tend to create a new tag providers to maintain organization within their tag system. Other users have in the past created, a tag provider for each project in their gateway. Ultimately though, there aren't any guidelines as to when you should create a new provider. That is up to you to decide. It is important to remember however, that moving tags between providers or moving tags in general can potentially break bindings, scripts or other resources that utilize the tag you're moving. Moving a tag essentially changes its tag path or location so you could end up with ignition resources pointing to a tag that has since been moved. We also want to point out how a project can point to a specific tag provider.
[04:03] For my designer, if I head to the top menu here under project, project properties. Under project general, there is a default provider option. This setting is there so that the project knows which tag provider it is tied to. Clicking on the drop-down here, you will see that I can configure this project to point to any tag provider, configured on my gateway. Of course, this does not limit what tags I can see from this project. I can always come into my tag browser and look up tags for whatever tag provider I want to. The projects that all provider setting is mainly there so that I do not have to specify a tag provider for every tag binding I build in my project. For example, if I create a new vision window and try to create a new tag binding in it, the primary tag provider that will be presented to me to choose tag from, will be the tag provider configured for this project. Just like in the tag browser, I'm able to see all of my tag providers from here as well if I drill down the all providers folder.