Changes to Device Profiles
Approved By TSC Vote on 2/14/22
Please see a prior PR on this topic that detailed much of the debate and context on this issue. For clarity and simplicity, that PR was closed in favor of this simpler ADR.
While the device profile has always been the way to describe a device/sensor and template its communications to the rest of the EdgeX platform, over the course of EdgeX evolution there have been changes in what could change in a profile (often based on its associations to other EdgeX objects). This document is meant to address the issue of change surrounding device profiles in EdgeX going forward – specifically when can a device profile (or its sub-elements such as device resources) be added, modified or removed.
Summary of Device Profile Rules
These rules will be implemented in core metadata on device profile API calls.
- A device profile can be added anytime
- Device resources or device commands can be added to a device profile anytime
- Attributes can be added to a device profile anytime
- A device profile can be removed or modified when the device profile is not associated to a device or provision watcher
- this includes modifying any field (except identifiers like names and ids)
- this includes changes to the array of device resources, device commands
- this includes changes to attributes (of device resources)
- even when a device profile is associated to a device or provision watcher, fields of the device profile or device resource can be modified when the field change will not affect the behavior of the system.
- on profile, the following fields do not affect the behavior: description, manufacturer, model, labels.
- on device resource, the following fields do not affect the behavior: description and tag
- A device profile cannot be removed when it is associated to a device or provision watcher.
- A device profile can be removed or modified even when associated to an event or reading. However, configuration options (see New Configuration Settings below) are available to block the change or removal of a device profile for any reason.
- the rationale behind the new configuraton settings was specifically to protect the event/reading association to device profiles. Events and readings are generally considered short lived (ephemeral) objects and already contain the necessary device profile information that are needed by the system during their short life without having to refer to and keep the device profile. But if an adopter wants to make sure the device profile is unmodified and still exists for any event/readings association (or for any reason), then the new config setting will block device profile changes or removals.
- see note below in Consequences that a new Units property must be added to the Reading object in order to support this rule and the need for all relevant profile data to be in the reading.
Ancillary Rules associated to Device Profiles
- Name and ID fields (identifying fields) for device profiles, device resources, etc. cannot be modified and can never be null.
- A device profile can begin life “empty” - meaning that it has no device resources or device commands.
The following APIs would be added to the metadata REST service in order to meet the design specified above.
- Add Profile General Property PATCH API (allow to modify profile's description, manufacturer, model and label fields)
- Add Profile Device Resource POST API
- Add Profile Device Resource PATCH API (allow to modify Description and IsHidden only)
- Add Profile Device Resource DELETE API (allow as described above)
- Add Profile Device Command POST API
- Add Profile Device Command PATCH API (allow as described above)
- Add Profile Device Command DELETE API (allow as described above)
New Configuration Settings
Some adopters may not view event/reading data as ephemeral or short lived. These adopters may choose not to allow device profiles to be modified or removed when associated to an event or reading.
For this reason, two new configuration options, in the
[Writable.ProfileChange] section, will be added to metadata configuration that are used to reject modifications or deletions.
- StrictDeviceProfileChanges (set to false by default)
- StrictDeviceProfileDeletes (set to false by default)
When either of these config settings are set to true, metadata would accordingly reject changes to or removal of profiles (note: metadata will not check that there are actually events or readings - or any object - associated to the device profile when these are set to true. It simply rejects all modification or deletes to device profiles with the assumption that there could be events, readings or other objects associated and which need to be preserved).
In order to allow device profiles to be updated or removed even when associated to an EdgeX event/reading, a new property needs to be added to the reading object.
- Readings will now contain a “Units” (string) property. This property will indicate the units of measure for the Value in the Reading and will be populated based on the Units for the device resource.
- A new device service configuration property,
ReadingUnits(set true by default) will allow adopters to indicate they do not want units to be added to the readings (for cases where there is a concern about the number of readings and the extra data of adding units).
ReadingUnitsconfiguration option will be added to the
[Writable.Reading]section of device services (and addressed in the device service SDKs).
- A new device service configuration property,
- This allows the event/reading to contain all relevant information from the device profile that is needed by the system during the course of the event/reading’s life.
- This allows the device profile to be modified or even removed even when there are events/readings in the system that were created from information in the device profile.