Sunday, October 22, 2006

starCOM

The original software provided by JDS (WinEVM - docs here) never evolved past a Win 3.0 look and feel. It had absolutely no provisions for any kind of networked interface. Because of these limitations I started using Pine Tree Systems' starCOMPlus (sC). I still use WinEVM, but only for downloading schedule updates into the TC+. Otherwise, sC is connected full-time.

I got involved with sC during its early alpha releases (2001ish I think) and I was heavily involved in hammering on it throughout its beta period. Because of that, sC is the most complete and STABLE interface for the JDS line of controllers. :-D

sC exposes all the devices and events of the TC+ to a COM/ActiveX interface allowing the TC+ to be controlled by other external apps. This allows the TC+ to be networked and greatly improves its usability in a home automation system. sC also provides much more flexible and powerful programming, unlike the rigid, limited "starglish" language in WinEVM. You can create your own WinEVM-like schedule (called a hosted script), that runs inside sC. It doesn't replace the WinEVM schedule, but runs on the HA server in parallel. Programming sC can be done with VBScript, JScript (my preference) or probably even Perlscript (which I've never tried but probably should).

All mission critical apps are in the WinEVM schedule that is downloaded directly into the TC+. I'm not trusting HVAC and irrigation control to a Windows 2000 PC, although my server has been extremely stable considering the amount of stuff running on it & all the tinkering I do on it.

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