Better Comm. Diagnostics Through Visualization

February 19, 2019 / 0 comments / in Canvas  General  / by Walter Goodwater

It is not always easy to know when something is wrong with your comms. There are many different points of failure and it can be hard to know where to start looking when an issue is suspected. Even when you have all the data in front of you, it can be a hassle to find the signal in the noise.

Using Canvas’ tools for data visualization, we think there might be a better way.

Better Comm. Diagnostics Through Visualization - Comm. Devices screen

Comm. Devices Screen

A common approach to viewing your comm. statistics is to create a Studio screen with a group grid showing the various system UDCs you find most interesting. While grids are great — and certainly have their place — this kind of data lends itself perfectly to other forms of visualization, and with Canvas, we now have more options we can consider.

To help illustrate how Canvas can speed up your comm. diagnostics, we’ve created some sample screens. These screens represent a collaboration between the Canvas and EIE teams, and they hopefully represent a great starting point for learning about Canvas and digging into comm. problems.

Better Comm. Diagnostics Through Visualization - Remote Devices Screen

Remote Devices Screen

Instead of just showing numbers, the heat and tree maps use color, shading, and relative sizes to highlight differences in your data. Rather than relying exclusively on sorting, filtering, or evaluating via the human eye, these controls force aberrant values to pop out instantly, allowing for more efficient processing by the user and therefore quicker decision-making when assessing problems.

These screens have a workflow that starts at looking at all Comm. Devices side-by-side. From there, you can select a single device and view Remote Devices associated with that device. Lastly, you can then select a single Remote Device to see even more detailed information. This will allow you to find problems quickly and drill down to find causes.

Better Comm. Diagnostics Through Visualization - Single Remote Device Screen

Single Remote Device Screen

While the UDCs in the screens were selected by our device driver team based on their years of experience diagnosing issues with communications, they are easily changed so the screens can be optimized for your own environment.

Lastly, you’ll also notice that the Remote Devices screen takes advantage of the built-in support for script multi-threading when retrieving its list of remote devices. This is one of the most powerful new additions for scripting in Canvas, so be sure to take a look, even if you aren’t interested in comm. diagnostics.


To find the Remote Devices associated with a selected Comm. Device, these screens use our ODBC driver, so you will need to have that installed. You will also see script that uses the CygNet COM API, but this is very inefficient and will not perform well. It is included to support the case when installing the ODBC driver is not possible.

Requires CygNet 9.2 (released December 2018) plus the latest patches for Canvas and all supporting Canvas files (9.2.1002 through 9.2.1005 – released February 2019).

Available via the CygNet GitHub repository.

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