The Mach2 development team has been busy under the hood building better tools to support data handling from Plex and the rest of the IIoT world.
Most have heard by now of the new Plex “HTTP Data Source API”. Fundamentally, this new Plex API represent a shift to more modern methods of interacting with Plex using a simpler protocol that is better supported by todays development tools. In the simplest terms, it is a change from using XML and SOAP to using JSON and REST. Well, simple to a web developer at least! Think of it as a new data syntax that now is processed by a much simpler and more modern server application. This change was actually a welcome one to our development team as internally, we have been converting the rather hard-to-digest XML format into a much simpler JSON format for the last couple of years!
Fully embracing this JSON as a data format concept, there are several new components in the upcoming Mach2 release where, if you look really close, you will see this new technology. First, because we are strategic partners with Plex we have already developed a tool in Mach2 to let customers build interfaces to the new Plex API, as usual, without having to write any code. The new “Simple Rest Client” is actually built to exchange data with any REST server using any format.
Shown to the right, is the Plex side to what that transaction looks like in the new “Data Source API Call Instance Detail” page in Plex.
Mach2 developers are able to build the transaction by providing the logic object with the request URL, any required headers and any body content needed by the REST service provider. You do see a clue here as to what the new JSON structure looks like for the Plex API.
New Tool: ODBC to Run Queries in Plex
In addition to the new API consumer, we have also create a new tool to be able to connect to the Plex report server using ODBC to run queries. We chose to also return the data from this tool as JSON data so that internally we can use the same parsing tools to interact with the results of the data returned. This new “Generic JDBC to JSON” object lets us connect to and run any query or stored procedure you have available using the Plex “SQL Development Environment”. It’s a great way to access configuration or summary information that you don’t have datasources for.
Of course, to make sense of either of these new transaction tools you have to be able to read the results to find and extract the data you need. We are building out our set of data parsing/filtering tools now. We have a fairly robust set of XML based tools that we are converting and recreating using JSON. The first of these is used to first filter the Plex response by one or more columns – the “PlexJSONResults” object.
For More Information, Please feel free to reach out to your Kors engineer or email us at: Office@KorsEngineering.com