Hi fellow wiki editors!

To help newly registered users get more familiar with the wiki (and maybe older users too) there is now a {{Welcome to the wiki}} template. Have a look at it and feel free to add it to new users discussion pages (and perhaps your own).

I have tried to keep the template short, but meaningful. /Johan G

Howto:Create a generic protocol

From FlightGear wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

This howto quickly demonstrate's how to create a socket transmitting some FlightGear data live as its running.

For this exercise we name it the abc-protocol and the properties we're interested in are:

  1. the altitude above ground
  2. the position of the elevator
  3. the mode of the altitude hold in the autopilot
  • and refreshing five times a second
  • on port 6789
  • as udp packets
  • and read the other side of the wire as
253.256\t     elevator=1.3\t   aoa-hold\n

Finding the nodes in the tree

The first step is to find where the nodes are in the property tree and unless you're familiar with the property tree, then one of the easiest things to do is to launch FlightGear with a httpd server, so that the tree can be browsed to find the node locations. Start FlightGear with:

fgfs --httpd=5400 

which will start the webserver on port 5400, then point a web browser at http://localhost:5400

By navigating the tree its discovered that the properties we're interested in are at

  1. /position/altitude-agl-ft
  2. /surface-positions/elevator-pos-norm
  3. /autopilot/locks/altitude

Creating the .xml file

Below is the example abc-protocol.xml file. This file needs to be located within the FlightGear data directory structure at

/data/Protocol/abc-protocol.xml

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<PropertyList>
<generic>
   <output>
      <line_separator>newline</line_separator>
      <var_separator>tab</var_separator>
 
      <chunk>
         <name>altitude above ground</name>
         <node>/position/altitude-agl-ft</node>
         <type>float</type>
         <format>%03.2f</format>
       </chunk>
 
      <chunk>
         <name>elevator position</name>
         <node>/surface-positions/elevator-pos-norm</node>
         <type>float</type>         
         <format>elevator=%03.2f</format>
       </chunk>

      <chunk>
         <name>altitude autopilot (wip)</name>
         <node>/autopilot/locks/altitude</node>
         <type>string</type>
         <format>%s</format>
       </chunk>

   </output>
</generic>
</PropertyList>

The tags are briefly described as

<output>

Contains the "formatting" protocol for output. Note that the same file can contain an <input> section also for mapping input protocol/formatting (tutorial maybe soon).

<line_separator>

What character(s) to use as a delimiter to "end" our line/blob of data containing the three values. In this example its newline, but \n is also acceptable as would another other ascii characters, eg ##EOL##.

<var_separator>

What character(s) to use as a delimiter of the property values; in this example we're using the tab, also \t is acceptable or even @@@.

<chunk>

There are three chunk tags in this example to reflect the three properties we're interested in. IMPORTANT, the chunks are output in the order presented in the xml file.

Within each chuck the tags are described as

  • <name> - this is for reference and ease of use, is not necassary and, its not transmitted (eg a <notes> tag). It could be useful elsewhere though eg a shared configuration file with another application.
  • <node> - the property node.
  • <type> - this is the type of value needed for formatting. In our example the autopilot is a string, whilst the other two values as float. Not setting the type can leads to strange stuff happening.
  • <format> - the output format. The altitude and elevator are straighforward printf formatting, whilst the autopilot is "autopilot=%s".

There are many other options which are covered in Generic Protocol

Start FlightGear to broadcast

So with the abc-protocol.xml file ready, FlightGear can be started with

fgfs --generic=socket,out,5,127.0.0.1,1234,udp,abc-protocol

The --generic=socket,out,5,127.0.0.1,1234,udp,abc-protocol is the part that runs the socket server and are broken down into the following elements separated by a comma.

  • socket - tell FlightGear to open a socket
  • out - to use the socket to output data ie transmit
  • 5 - at five times a second
  • 127.0.0.1 - on the loopback address
  • 1234 - the UDP port (only required if using TCP/UDP as network protocol)
  • udp - using the udp network protocol
  • abc-protocol - and using the abc-protocol.xml file

Gotchas - ensure there are no loose spaces between the items eg

--generic=socket,out,5, 127.0.0.1,1234,udp,abc-protoco
                       ^ oops

Example Ajax Output

<output>
     <line_separator>newline</line_separator>
     <var_separator>,</var_separator>

     <chunk>
        <name>altitude above ground</name>
        <node>/position/altitude-agl-ft</node>
        <type>float</type>
        <format>{"altitude":%03.2f</format>
      </chunk>

     <chunk>
        <name>altitude autopilot (wip)</name>
        <node>/autopilot/locks/altitude</node>
        <type>string</type>
        <format>"autopilot": '%s'}</format>
      </chunk>
</output>

The above would output:

{"altitude": 0.00,"autopilot": ""}\n