Logo of AmsterCHEMOn October 12, 2017, within the CAPE-OPEN 2017 Annual Meeting, Jasper van BATEN from AmsterCHEM presented (PDF with notes, 4141 Kbytes) where COBIA Phase II stands as of October 2017.

AmsterCHEM has been contracted by CO-LaN in 2017 to deliver Phase II.

After restating what COBIA project is about and what COBIA Phase I delivered in October 2016, Jasper describes the contents of Phase II. He emphasizes that most of Phase II is completed pending a small number of decisions to be made by the Methods & Tools Special Interest Group on a new design for the Parameter Common interface and the Persistence mechanism.

The Interface Definition Language (IDL) file corresponding to the CAPE-OPEN standard and developed specifically for COBIA exists but is still under review. The IDL is specific to COBIA, hence designated as the COBIA IDL, and it is specific both in grammar and contents. Following an advisory provided by the Thermo Special Interest Group, Thermo 1.0 is not part of the COBIA IDL.Also such sets of CAPE-OPEN interfaces as the numerical interfaces are not transcribed into the COBIA IDL. However, if it is assessed later on that such interfaces are needed in COBIA, the structure given to the IDL, but also the tools making use of the COBIA IDL, will permit taking additional interfaces into the COBIA IDL.

Phase II delivers a parser of the COBIA IDL. The parser is built on Berkeley YACC, a choice made mostly because Berkeley YACC is in the public domain. Deliverables of Phase II include the input and output files to Berkeley YACC so that actual usage of Berkeley YACC is not mandatory to build upon the COBIA IDL. A parser tree is created by the parser.

This parser tree is subsequently used for code generation. Jasper describes the seven distinct steps present in the code generation process specifically developed for COBIA.

Out of the COBIA IDL, one can also automatically derive a COM IDL. This COM IDL is not entirely consistent with the COM IDL distributed as of now by CO-LaN through the CAPE-OPEN Type Libraries and PIA installers since a number of design changes have been introduced in COBIA compared to the CAPE-OPEN standards as it is known nowadays. For example this results from the strong typing enforced by COBIA. Later on it is envisioned that the only CAPE-OPEN reference will lie in the COBIA IDL and will be the exact representation of the textual CAPE-OPEN interface specifications.

The COMBIA update and the COBIA installer have not yet been developed pending a consensus is reached on design decisions that impact the COBIA IDL.

The parts already delivered of COBIA Phase II are available to the CO-LaN membership in the repository dedicated to COBIA. So the main message is that  a large part of Phase II is available for review and testing.