How can we improve PI DataLink?

Continue to support/modify the PI Trend Add-In for Excel DataLink that was in 2014 on into 2016 and beyond.

This add-in allowed for a trend to be created within an Excel Spreadsheet without first dumping the data to the sheet.  It was an easy trend to make and it updated with current live data when requested (F9).

There is a work around to get this legacy add-in function to work in 2016, but no one likes a custom that only the user can see and update.

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JoeR shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

The PI Trend functionality is still available in all versions of PI DataLink. However, starting in 2013 when PI DataLink was rewritten to use the AF SDK instead of the PI SDK, the PI Trend feature is in the Legacy add-in rather than the main add-in. Now, the Legacy add-in is no longer enabled by default in order to softly discourage its use, but it can be re-enabled using instructions in the setup.ini.

While the Legacy add-in remains available, I want to mention why we have not updated the popular PI Trend functionality in several years. The PI Trend function is an ActiveX control. ActiveX is an older technology that is quite useful for embedding a program in another program (another example of its usage in the PI System is PI ActiveView). However, due to the same design that allows great portability, ActiveX is also inherently insecure and carries severe security risks, which we mention in our user manual and LiveLibrary. All current browsers, including Microsoft Edge, no longer allow ActiveX, and this widespread abandonment of the technology has largely been driven by security concerns.

So while we sympathize with the enduring popularity of the existing PI Trend control, there are very strong technical reasons for us to treat it as a legacy product. But this popularity speaks to an ongoing need for our customers to easily visualize PI System data in Excel. While the timing is uncertain, the next generation of PI DataLink is likely to be built as an Office Add-in for the Office365 web platform. Any future trending capabilities would likely be incorporated into that product. Have your employers started using Office365? Would a DataLink product built on that platform appeal to you?


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  • Robert Lane commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    We are using PI Datalink and ActiveX has been disabled for our users as well. We would greatly appreciate a new solution, as many of our users our very frustrated and disappointed that a new Datalink trend feature has not been developed.

  • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    In response to Jeremy Roberts, "I'd like to clarify this issue. First, t..."
    Anyway that I can put trends into Microsoft office (Excel) would be of great use to me . We are using Microsoft office 365
    David Chagnon
    Sent from my iPhone

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