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Compliance Corner – December 2023

    The Year in Summary

    This year we saw several accomplishments:

    • We made 3 releases of the Compliance Test Tool (CTT) this year, the last of which was in December. Each release has included enhancements of features, expanded test coverage as well as bug fixes. Enhancements to CTT included new infrastructure that better allows support for new architectural concepts in the OPC UA specifications. Expanded test coverage includes initial PubSub testing, alarm testing improvements as well as a number of other new features.
    • With the latest release of the CTT, OPC UA FX testing of the mandatory aspects of the AutomationComponent (AC) information model are almost complete. UAFX testing still requires enhancement for optional aspect of the AC model and testing of the ConnectionManager, which is primarily a client. We have also designed a testing tool extension for the CTT to provide the Product Descriptor testing required by UAFX. Product Descriptors are off-line AutomationML (AML) files that can exchange configuration between engineering tools. The testing of UAFX is required, since UAFX defines the content of the AML file and security options which are not covered by the generic AML constancy checks. UAFX brings OPC UA into the control aspects at the field level with certification for everything defined by the Field Level Communications Initiative (FLC) is required to be tested in all products.
    • We have also released new or enhanced testing for companion specifications including MDIS, PA-DIM and Weighing. Some of these standards (such as MDIS) require certification, while other only provide it as an optional manner of improving interoperability of products developed using the companion specification.
    • During this year we completed the audits of all accredited certification test labs of the OPC Foundation. This ensures that the quality of testing provided by any of the labs meets or exceeds the OPC Foundations stringent quality expectations.

    One of the highlights for the compliance team was several testimonials about the benefits of certification, both on end-user experience and on vendor-reducing support costs. We even had testimonials on how certification can improve quality and reduce product development issues. This encourages us to continue our work and prioritize the work of the compliance team to ensure that OPC Foundation provides a stable OPC UA ecosystem.

    Look Forward to 2024

    • With the planned release of the 1.05.03 version of the OPC UA core specifications, all base OPC UA specifications will be released as a 1.05 version. With that being completed, certification for 1.05 will be released early next year. Since certification is only available for the last two versions of OPC UA, we will stop certification of 1.03 products 3 months later and expect all products participating in the OPC UA ecosystem to update to later versions of the specification.
    • With the CTT infrastructure additions completed, we will start improving client testing. With more guided steps during the certification testing of clients, we plan to help testers executing the tests more repeatably. The CTT will guide the individual through the steps of the tests by generating prompts for testers to preform or check the necessary steps, while automating all other aspects of a test.
    • We will continue to provide additions to the PubSub testing, include extending coverage beyond the UADP transport and binary encoding to include MQTT and JSON encoding.
    • We will continue to enhance the UAFX testing, with a target of having complete coverage of the initial 1.00 controller to controller release of UAFX by the third quarter of 2024. These features will be rolled out in stages, with complete coverage of the AutomationComponent including all communication options first, followed by ConnectionManager test and lastly the AML testing.

    If you do have questions on these topics or are interested in getting involved in our activities, please do not hesitate to contact us at compliance[AT]

    Happy Holidays and looking forward to a great new year.

    Paul & Alex