taurus core tutorial

The core has been designed to provide a model-based abstraction to the various sources of data and/or control objects supported via the Taurus schemes (we use the term “model” to refer to the model component in an MVC driven architecture).

A scheme is a plugin for Taurus that provides the glue between Taurus and a given source of data and/or of objects that can be controlled. For example, schemes exist for various control system libraries (such as Tango, or EPICS) as well as for processing data (e.g. the taurus.core.evaluation scheme).

Each scheme implements at least a Factory (derived from taurus.core.TaurusFactory) which provides Taurus model objects , for a given model name.

Model concept

All Taurus Elements (Devices, Attributes, etc) are model objects with an associated unique name. The model name is an URI (as defined in RFC3986).

In practice, the URIs have the following form (for a complete and rigorous description refer to RFC3986):

[<scheme>:][<authority>][<path>][?<query>][#<fragment>]

Notes:

  • The <authority>, if present, starts by ‘//’
  • The <path>, if present, starts by ‘/’ (except for relative URIs)

A model object (also referred to occasionally as Taurus Element) is an instance of a class derived from one of taurus.core.TaurusAuthority, taurus.core.TaurusDevice, taurus.core.TaurusAttribute.

Examples of model names

Different schemes may choose different conventions to name the models that they provide.

The following are some examples for the taurus.core.tango scheme:

The full Taurus model name for a Tango device sys/tg_test/1 registered in a Tango Database running on machine:10000 is:

tango://machine:10000/sys/tg_test/1

Now, if we assume that:

  • tango is set as the default scheme and that
  • machine:10000 is set as the default TANGO_HOST
  • and that tgtest1 is set as an alias of sys/tg_test/1

then the same Tango device could be accessed as:

tgtest1

In the case of Tango attributes, here are some equivalent examples given the above assumptions:

tango://machine:10000/sys/tg_test/1/double_scalar,

sys/tg_test/1/double_scalar,

tango:tgtest1/double_scalar,

tgtest1/double_scalar

See taurus.core.tango for a more exhaustive description and more examples related to Tango.

The following are some examples for the taurus.core.evaluation scheme:

An evaluation attribute that generates an array of dimensionless random values when read:

eval:rand(256)

An evaluation attribute that applies a multiplication factor to an existing tango attribute (and which is updated every time that the tango attribute changes):

eval:123.4*{tango:sys/tg_test/1/double_scalar}

Or one that adds noise to a tango image attribute:

eval:img={tango:sys/tg_test/1/short_image_ro};img+10*rand(*img.shape)

And, by using custom evaluators, one can easily access virtually anything available from a python module. For example, using the datetime module to get today’s date as a Taurus attribute:

eval:@datetime.*/date.today().isoformat()

See taurus.core.evaluation for a more exhaustive description and some tricks with the Evaluation scheme and the custom evaluators.

Now an example for the taurus.core.epics scheme. The model name for the EPICS process variable (PV) “my:example.RBV” is:

epics:my:example.RBV

Note that you can create your own schemes and add them to taurus (e.g., a scheme to access your own home-brew control system). Some schemes that are in our TO-DO list are:

  • A scheme to access datasets in HDF5 files as Taurus attributes
  • A scheme to access ranges of cells in a spreadsheet file as Taurus attributes
  • A scheme to access column/row data in ASCII files as Taurus attributes
  • A scheme to access data from mySQL databases as Taurus attributes
  • A scheme to access Tango-archived data as Taurus attributes

model access

Taurus users are encouraged to write code that is “scheme-agnostic”, that is, that it neither assumes the availability of certain schemes nor uses any scheme-specific feature. For this, Taurus provides several high-level scheme-agnostic helpers to obtain the Taurus Element associated to a given model name:

The first three helpers require you to know which type of Element (i.e., Attribute, Device or Authority) is represented by the model name. If you do not know that beforehand, you can use taurus.Object() which will automatically find the type and provide you with the corresponding model object (but of course this is slightly less efficient than using one of the first three helpers).

These helpers will automatically find out which scheme corresponds to the given model and will delegate the creation of the model object to the corresponding scheme-specific Factory. Therefore, the returned model object will be of a specialized subclass of the corresponding Taurus generic Element and it will expose the scheme-agnostic API plus optionally some scheme-specific methods (e.g., taurus.core.tango.TangoDevice objects provide all the API of a taurus.core.TaurusDevice but they also provide all the methods from a PyTango.DeviceProxy)

For example, obtaining the device model object for a TangoTest Device can be done as follows:

import taurus
testDev = taurus.Device('sys/tg_test/1')

or, using taurus.Object():

import taurus
testDev = taurus.Object('sys/tg_test/1')

Also for example, obtaining the Taurus Attribute model corresponding to the EPICS Process Variable called “my:example.RBV” is just:

import taurus
testDev = taurus.Attribute('epics:my:example.RBV')

Taurus also provides other helpers to access lower level objects for dealing with models:

And also some useful methods to validate names, find out the element type(s) for a given name and other related tasks:

Advantages of accessing Tango via Taurus over PyTango

If you are familiar with PyTango you may be asking yourself what is the real advantage of using taurus instead of PyTango directly for accessing Tango objects. There are actually many benefits from using taurus. Here is a list of the most important ones.

integration with other schemes
Taurus is not just Tango. For example, you can treat a Tango Attribute just as you would treat an EPICS attribute, and use them both in the same application.
model unicity:

you may request the same model many times without performance hit, since taurus will give you the same object:

>>> import taurus
>>> sim1 = taurus.Device('sys/tg_test/1')
>>> sim2 = taurus.Device('sys/tg_test/1')
>>> print sim1 == sim2
True

Whereas in PyTango the same code always results in the construction of new DeviceProxy objects:

>>> import PyTango
>>> sim1 = PyTango.DeviceProxy('sys/tg_test/1')
>>> sim2 = PyTango.DeviceProxy('sys/tg_test/1')
>>> print sim1 == sim2
False
model intelligence:

taurus is clever enough to know that, for example, ‘sys/tg_test/1’ represents the same model as ‘tango:SYS/Tg_TEST/1’ so:

>>> import taurus
>>> sim1 = taurus.Device('sys/tg_test/1')
>>> sim2 = taurus.Device('tango:SYS/Tg_TEST/1')
>>> print sim1 == sim2
True
tango event abstraction:

taurus cleverly hides the complexities and restrictions of the tango event system. With taurus you can:

  • subscribe to the same event multiple times
  • handle tango events from any thread

Some optimizations are also done to ensure that the tango event thread is not blocked by the user event handle code.