ICIMACS Command Protocol

11/20/97 : JAM

(ICIMACS = Instrument Control and Image Acquisition System

protocol: n : (3)a set of conventions governing the treatment and especially the formatting of data in an electronic communication system


The ICIMACS "network" consists primarily of machines linked through RS-232C serial port connections. All messages are made up of human-readable English ASCII strings. ICIMACS messages take the form

address_header message
terminated by a carriage return (ASCII 13).

The address_header gives the sender and addressee for each message in the form XX>YY, where XX is a unique two-character abbreviation for the sender, and YY is the unique two-character abbreviation for the addressee. The DOS and UNIX redirection character > is the sender/addressee delimiter.

message is the message body. Its format depends on whether it is a command or status message.

The format for a command message body is:
keyword [keyword] [value [value ... value]]
The format for a status message body is:
message_type: message_text
where message_type identifies the general meaning of the message, and can be of the following types:

STATUS
an informational message
DONE
a confirmation that a requested action has completed
WARNING
an unexpected result has occured, but the action requested is continuing
ERROR
an error has occured, and the requested action is being terminated
FATAL
a serious error has occured which procludes taking or saving data. Usually caused by a hardware problem which requires user intervention to correct.
Note the required colon following the message type in a status message body.

The message_text can be either an unstructured text message, or a more formal, easily parsed message of the form keyword=value [keyword=value [keyword=value keyword=value]], or any combination of the two.


Imaging Sciences Laboratory
Revised: November 20, 1997 [jam]