Itris Automation (France) – The development tool PLC Checker from Itris Automation is now available with a PLCopen® coding guidelines rules set allowing developers to automatically verify that their program respects this reference standard.
For the past 25 years, PLCopen® has been working towards standardising PLC programming. In April 2016, they released a set of coding guidelines to promote and share good programming practices for PLCs across all industries. Now Itris Automation has integrated these coding guidelines into PLC Checker, an automatic static analysis tool, allowing users to quickly and easily verify that their program respects PLCopen®’s guidelines.
PLCopen® is a worldwide association whose mission is to lead the resolution of topics related to control programming to support the use of international standards in this field. Their coding guidelines are a set of 64 good practice programming rules which relate to the naming, comments, coding practices and languages of the code. These guidelines were created by a working group consisting of members from several different companies in the industrial automation domain, including PLC vendors (Siemens, Omron…), software vendors (CoDeSys, Itris Automation…) and educational institutions (RWTH Aachen…), to name a few. These coding guidelines, available for free from the PLCopen® website, are the first of their kind for PLC programming. Their creation by a mixed working group means that ideas came from several backgrounds and influences. Thus, creating a comprehensive set of coding rules that are independent of industry and PLC brand.
Itris Automation, a French software engineering company, decided to integrate the PLCopen® coding guidelines into PLC Checker, their static analysis tool. Since its launch in 2008, PLC Checker has allowed its more than 1400 users to automate the verification testing process of their PLC programs, taking out the painful manual review process that would be used otherwise. PLC Checker works by checking a PLC program against a set of rules, with a message created for every violation of a rule. These results are then displayed in two ways. Firstly, they are displayed visually to allow the user to manage their program’s quality. Secondly, they are displayed in detail, to allow the user to work with these results to improve their program and fix any bugs.
Itris Automation decided to integrate the PLCopen® coding guidelines into PLC Checker as they share PLCopen®’s objective of improving the quality of PLC programs and promoting good practices. They believe the guidelines are a comprehensive reference standard and that they will be of great use to all their current and future users.
Denis Chalon, Chief Technical Officer at Itris Automation and who participated in the creation of the PLCopen® coding guidelines, states: “The rules creation process was a lot of work, but it was interesting to see the different ideas that came from other members of the group and the end result. The guidelines are very detailed and a great starting point for any company that wants to follow some sort of coding rules.”
Regarding the integration of PLCopen®’s coding guidelines with PLC Checker, he added: “Having been part of the working group, integrating the guidelines into PLC Checker was the logical next step. The PLCopen® guidelines have a lot of potential and we expect they will facilitate the wider adoption of best practices, including the use of static analysis tools.”
PLC Checker with the PLCopen® coding guidelines is available now from Itris Automation.