Can I Admit Something

Can I admit something? I am just not an e-reader kind of guy. I really like sitting there with a book on my lap, turning pages, writing words I don’t know inside the back cover and highlighting stuff that I’d like to come back to.

I also like having an overflowing bookshelf that I can look through once in a while. I see a book I’ve read, flip through the pages and see what I highlighted back then. Some, usually wealthy people, call a bookshelf like that a “Success Library”. I don’t know about that but I do know that I like looking at it every day.

There are a number of other old, obsolete things I just like. For example, I like my Garmin. It’s not that I hate the mapping system on my iPhone; it’s that the Garmin is more functional and has a better user interface. I can get by using the iPhone for directions but I just miss the ease-of-use I have with the Garmin. I think it’s a shame that they’ve lost a huge portion of their sales to the mapping apps on phones.

I also like old-fashioned DVDs. Netflix is OK but again that user interface is really awful. With my DVDs, I don’t need to wonder if there is enough bandwidth in my neighborhood to watch my movie. And I can see trailers, I can easily turn on captions and I get audio commentaries. And they’re right there for me when I need them even though I do realize that I’ll probably throw them all out when the next wave of movie players hits the market.

Where am I going with all this? I am working up to saying that I really like DeviceNet and Profibus DP. I know it’s not politically correct in today’s day and age but I really like those old technologies. It’s kind of like THAT awkward time in a relationship. You’re afraid to say “I Love You” in case the other person responds with “ah….ah….. thank you”.

In this day and age we’re all supposed to be in love with everything Ethernet. Revel in DHCP, DNS Servers, routers, switches, MACs and PHYs. I think that’s what Dorothy said on the yellow brick road: “Routers and Switches and Macs and Phys Oh My… Routers and Switches and Macs and Phys Oh My”.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the simplicity of Modbus TCP. It’s not that I don’t admire how easy it is to make an EtherNet/IP Source Code stack operational and it’s not that I don’t marvel at all the features in a Profinet IO Source Code stack. I just like the old time, bare bones, working man style of Profibus and DeviceNet.

Profibus has balls. It has to. Anything that can operate that fast and force device vendors to include ASICs and special software stacks in there device has to. DeviceNet, on the other hand, is just pure simplicity.

EtherNet/IP, Profinet IO and Modbus TCP have their place. You can buy source code stacks for EtherNet/IP, Profinet IO and Modbus TCP from RTA and they’re fine. They work well with Rockwell, Siemens and Groupe Schneider but there is something special about using DeviceNet and Profibus.

It’s like the farmer pulling on those overhauls he’s used for the last five years. It’s like starting up that old tractor one more time on a cool, crisp autumn morning. It just feels right.

And truth be told, Profibus and DeviceNet, aren’t going away. The latest numbers I’ve seen indicate that even though the Ethernet protocols for industrial automation are growing, the Profibus and DeviceNet numbers are growing too.

And I’m happy with that. I think I’ll put my overhauls on and sit on the front porch for a while.