This is an update of an article about how to determine the installed version of THINC API. Back then, the method for checking the installed version involved searching the Windows Registry’s uninstall information for a specific GUID key.
Eight years have passed since then. Now there’s a utility library called SCOUT (System Compatibility Output UTility) that provides an easy way to read the installed THINC API version, and much more.
The library (and its provided sample application) shows whether THINC API is installed, what version and type, whether the API is ready, along with:
Special CNC directories (OSP, CNS, VOLANTE, CRAD)
Data Management Card (DMC) info
License status for Data and Command API, P200, NC Current Alarm, and other common specs
Installed .NET Framework versions (although this is a .NET library, so chicken-and-egg)
Basic OS information (Windows version, internet access, machine name and domain, user name etc.)
The Okuma SCOUT library is an indispensable tool for THINC developers whose apps need to learn about their CNC environment programmatically.
For users who just need a convenient tool to check THINC API version and Data Management Card information, the Okuma SCOUT App provides both a command-line and a GUI tool for doing so.
Just about every THINC developer has, at some point, coded a panel mode app. It’s the THINC equivalent of “Hello, world!” And since it’s been eight years since I last wrote about it, now’s a good time to look at how THINC app development has changed.
In the broadest sense, a THINC app is an application made to run on Okuma OSP-P controls. This is Okuma’s line of Windows-based CNCs.
Even though normal Windows apps will run on the OSP controls, THINC apps are generally built to use the THINC API.
Ok… So what is THINC API?
An API — or application programming interface — that allows applications to interact with the CNC. For example, the THINC API provides methods for an application to read and write common variables, load part programs, read and write tool offsets, etc.
For machine tools, hardware enhancements and add-ons are usually the province of a distributor. Software tends to be a different story: available via download rather than expensive shipment, installable with no special tools, and usable at the tap of a touchscreen. For Okuma machine tools, the Okuma App Store provides a central location for finding THINC and other applications that add value to your OSP controls. Let’s take a quick look.