View Machine Edition Security in Versions 4 through 7

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Versions 4 through 7 of FactoryTalk View Machine Edition (ViewME) uses a substantially different system to store User and Group information when compared with previous versions.

And while some welcomed these changes, for others it has only lead to confusion and frustration.

Prior to version 4, ViewME Security Users and Groups were store in the ViewME application, similar to how it was done in RSView32. This allowed each application to have its own unique list of Users and Groups:
 
But starting with version 4 of ViewME, Rockwell integrated local FactoryTalk Security into the product to enable the sharing of Users and Groups with other software packages that also supported local FactoryTalk Security.
 
On the positive side, you could now create a User and/or Group once in the local FactoryTalk Directory, and then assign that User or Group permissions in multiple software packages like RSLogix, RSLinx, and ViewME.
 
And any new ViewME application you created on the same PC would automatically have access to all the same local Users and Groups since it was on the same PC and used the same local FactoryTalk (FT) Directory:
 
But there was also a down side: You could only have one set of Users and Groups stored in the local FT Directory at any one time, similar to how Windows only supports a single set of local users and groups per PC.


For users who didn't use security in their systems, or who only developed applications on a single PC, this wasn't an issue.
 
But for those responsible for editing ViewME applications that had Security created on a different PC, it could be quite frustrating when they tried to edit an application created in versions 4 through 7.
 
By default, the application restore option in the Application Manager would not also restore the archived FactoryTalk (FT) Directory (containing the applications Users and Groups) as doing so would overwrite the PC's existing local FT Directory.
 
However, when an application from another PC was restored in this way, in place of finding Users and Groups listed in the restored application's security settings, the user would see the Security ID's of the unknown users from the other PC's local FT directory:
 
This is something you'll also experience in Windows if you assign a local Windows user permissions to a file on your PC, and then copy that file to another PC and review the file security there.
 
Fortunately, Rockwell also gave users the option to restore applications along with their local directory, but the down side was that doing so would overwrite the existing local FT Directory on the PC.
 
So, if a user had to edit security on a ViewME application (v4-7) that wasn't created on his PC, the user would first have to backup all his current ViewME (and ViewSE Local) applications to Application Archive Files (.APAs)
 
This was done to insure each Application was archived with a current backup of the local FT Directory the application used, since it would be overwritten when an APA from another PC was restored along with its FT Directory.
 
Since many were unaware of this change, it was not uncommon for users to become frustrated that they lost all the existing Users and Groups after restoring an application, especially if they only want to make a small change to the security of a PanelView Plus application.
 
Thankfully, Rockwell heard its customer's feedback and in later releases moved away from using the local FT Directory in ViewME, returning to using “per application” security.
 
And to help reduce the instances where an application must be edited to make minor security changes, they also added additional features to enhance User, Group, and Password management directly from the PanelView Plus or ViewME application.
 

If you'd like to watch a video discussion of the above, check out Episode 30 of The Automation Minute Season 4, below:



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Sincerely,

Shawn Tierney
Automation Instructor and Blogger
If you enjoyed my article, you may like my courses at TheAutomationSchool.com


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