Why do I need a Toolkit or SDK for OPC UA ?

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Support Team
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Why do I need a Toolkit or SDK for OPC UA ?

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Besides the .NET implementation of the OPC Foundation (free for members) there are commercial SDKs and Toolkits.

By being an OPC Member you will get the UA Stack for free. This UA Stack is just the communication stack, it can be seen as a replacement for DCOM. But for programming a Client or Server application much more generic infrastructure code is required. This code is delivered with a SDK or Toolkit. There are different SDKs and Toolkits on the market (early 2009) that firstly differ in their programming language and secondly are different in their functionality.

To name just a few: Unified Automation (ANSI C and C++), Softing (C++), Iconics (.NET), Prosys (Java), …

First of all you need to check the functional requirements of your targeted application (do you need DataAccess, Alarms&Conditions, History, Methods, etc.?), then you need to decide for a language. And of course the question for professional consulting and support must be answered. Even though the .NET implementation of the OPC Foundation is wildly accepted and used, it is still a community project that of course differs from commercial SDK and Toolkit solutions from a professional software house. Most of these companies also offer support and maintenance services as well as integration support and platform adaption for various CPU architectures and operating systems (x86, 64bit, ARM, running Linux, WinCE, vxWorks, Solaris, QNX, …).

In all those cases where you need professional software, consulting and support you should look for a commercial SDK or Toolkit.
Best regards
Unified Automation Support Team

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