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Entry  26 Apr 2020, Yu Chen (SYSU), Forum, Questions and discussions on the Frontend ODB tree structure. 
    Reply  26 Apr 2020, Stefan Ritt, Forum, Questions and discussions on the Frontend ODB tree structure. 
Message ID: 1888     Entry time: 26 Apr 2020     Reply to this: 1889
Author: Yu Chen (SYSU) 
Topic: Forum 
Subject: Questions and discussions on the Frontend ODB tree structure. 
Dear MIDAS developers and colleagues,

    This is Yu CHEN of School of Physics, Sun Yat-sen University, China, working in the PandaX-III collaboration, an experiment under development to search the neutrinoless double 
beta decay. We are working on the DAQ and slow control systems and would like to use Midas framework to communicate with the custom hardware systems, generally via Ethernet 
interfaces. So currently we are focusing on the development of the FRONTEND program of Midas and have some questions and discussions on its ODB structure. Since I’m still not 
experienced in the framework, it would be precious that you can provide some suggestions on the topic.
    The current structure of the frontend ODB tree we have designed, together with our understanding on them, is as follows:
        ->  /Common/: Basic controls and left unchanged.
        ->  /Variables/: (ODB records with MODE_READ) Monitored values that are AUTOMATICALLY updated from the bank data within each packed event. It is done by the update_odb() 
function in mfe.cxx.
        ->  /Statistics/: (ODB records with MODE_WRITE) Default status values that are AUTOMATICALLY updated by the calling of db_send_changed_records() within the mfe.cxx.
        ->  /Settings/: All the user defined data can be located here. 
            -> /stat/: (ODB records with MODE_WRITE) All the monitored values as well as program internal status. The update operation is done simultaneously when 
db_send_changed_records() is called within the mfe.cxx.
            -> /set/: (ODB records with MODE_READ) All the “Control” data used to configure the custom program and custom hardware.

    For our application, some of the our detector equipment outputs small amount of status and monitored data together with the event data, so we currently choose not to use EQ_SLOW 
and 3-layer drivers for the readout. Our solution is to create two ODB sub-trees in the /Settings/ similar to what the device_driver does. However, this could introduce two 
    1) For /Settings/stat/: To prevent the potential destroy on the hot-links of /Variables/ and /Statistics/ sub-trees, all our status and monitored data are stored separately in 
the /Settings/stat/ sub-tree. Another consideration is that some monitored data are not directly from the raw data, so packaging them into the Bank for later showing in /Variables/ 
could somehow lead to a complicated readout() function. However, this solution may be complicated for history loggings. I have find that the ANALYZER modules could provide some 
processes for writing to the /Variables/ sub-tree, so I would like to know whether an analyzer should be used in this case.
    2) For /Settings/set/: The “control” data (similar to the “demand” data in the EQ_SLOW equipment) are currently put in several /Settings/set/ sub-trees where each key in 
them is hot-linked to a pre-defined hardware configuration function. However, some control operations are not related to a certain ODB key or related to several ODB keys (e.g. 
configuration the Ethernet sockets), so the dispatcher function should be assigned to the whole sub-tree, which I think can slow the response speed of the software. What we are 
currently using is to setup a dedicated “control key”, and then the input of different value means different operations (e.g. 1 means socket opening, 2 means sending the UDP 
packets to the target hardware, et al.). This “control key” is also used to develop the buttons to be shown on the Status/Custom webpage. However, we would like to have your 
suggestions or better solutions on that, considering the stability and fast response of the control.

    We are not sure whether the above understanding and troubles on the Midas framework are correct or they are just due to our limits on the knowledge of the framework, so we 
really appreciate your knowledge and help for a better using on Midas. Thank you so much!
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