Let’s Make SCPI More Helpful

The SCPI (Benchmarks Command for Programmable Instruments) protocol is exceptionally well-liked in lab and workspace applications, allowing you configure and fetch data from oscilloscopes and lab scales alike in a standardized way. Nevertheless, when interfacing with a SCPI product, you need to have to use a programming guidebook document if you want to know the instructions for any of the inevitably prolonged options fundamentally, SCPI is not as human-friendly as you may possibly want. [MisterHW] argues that SCPI could use far more discoverability by proposing a Help? command.

This proposal is so intuitive, it makes you speculate why it is not in the base spec. It provides a created-in command that supplies info on other instructions. Internally, the description is just an extra string parameter that you add to your command definition code, and you can use it to explain the parameter sorts and ranges it takes. The output is both of those human-readable and equipment-parseable, and as it’s stored within just your code, it is way more quickly to update the description string than it is to re-launch programming guides. Which are by themselves susceptible to being out-of-date as-is, so reducing reliance on them is a win-win.

The proposal can make a good deal of perception, and [MisterHW] is eager to again it up with a pull request to the most popular SCPI library, libscpi. Each time the pull ask for at last goes as a result of, you will have the option to easily include the Support? command assistance to whatsoever SCPI-linked system you could possibly have brewing.

When the previous devices will sooner or later fade, SCPI is not about to die out – hackers preserve making units with SCPI as the interaction protocol, as the spec is fairly highly effective. For instance, here’s this fancy temperature logger, or this Supply Measurement Unit – both of those of them use SCPI for hacker-to-system knowledge transfer, and it is probably to be libscpi beneath the hood. At any time questioned what SCPI is all about? Verify out our overview!

Luis Robinson

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