Tulip is an open platform that can integrate with your existing IT infrastructure. This integration is achieved using Connectors.
Connectors are a Tulip feature that allows you to send data between HTTP APIs, SQL databases, OPC/UA devices and Tulip.
To access connectors, place the cursor over the “Apps” Tab from anywhere in your Tulip account and select Connectors from the Dropdown.
At a quick glance, here are the connector hosts & SQL connectors that we support:
Tulip supports 3 different types of connector hosts:
- HTTP connector - Use this connector to access data from external APIs.
- SQL connector - Use this connector to access external databases that are outside Tulip.
- OPC/UA - Use this connector to integrate machines and devices. This is most common when connecting to CNC machines and PLCs.
Tulip supports the following SQL connectors:
- Microsoft SQL Server
Here's an example of a connector:
Connectors fall into two categories:
1- Data Protocol Connectors
These are SQL and HTTP connectors that integrate your Tulip Apps with your databases and APIs.
Data protocol connectors can be used by Triggers. For example, you can create a trigger in a Tulip App that says:
- "When the operator scans a barcode"
- "Look up that barcode up in my SQL database"
- Then go to one of three different steps based on that data."
- "when the operator presses this button"
- "send a request to my HTTP API that tracks production issues on my factory floor."
Our SQL connectors are fully self-service and can work with Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle Database, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
Our HTTP connectors are not yet self-service, but we can help build connectors to HTTP servers that return XML or JSON data.
An example of how a connector is called from within a Trigger in the App Builder is depicted below:
2. Machine Protocol Connectors
OPC/UA connectors allow you to feed data from OPC/UA devices or software like Kepware or the Fanuc OPC/UA server into Tulip and use it like you would use data coming from a device plugged into a Tulip gateway via USB.
Machine protocol connectors can be used as trigger events.
For example, you can create a trigger in a Tulip App that says:
- "when my OPC/UA-connected CNC machine reports an error"
- "Go to the error report form and..."
- "Send a text message to the supervisor,"
- "When the pressure sensor connected to my Kepware software reports a pressure reading..."
- "Store that in a variable so I can analyze the data in Tulip Analytics."
An example of how a OPC/UA connector is used from within a Trigger in the App Builder is below:
Most connectors are self-service. Anyone who is familiar with SQL, for example, can set up a SQL connector and write the SQL queries that will be used in the Tulip app.
Anyone in your organization can use that SQL connector in a Tulip App through Triggers without needing to know SQL once the SQL Queries are built.
Technical Details of Connectors
Connectors run on a Connector Host. A "connector host" is a computer that runs Tulip's connector host software.
Tulip runs a cloud connector host for you automatically; no setup is required on your part. With it, you can connect to any databases, APIs, and servers that are accessible from the cloud. However, connector hosts cannot talk to things that are behind a firewall that does not allow external access.
If you're interested in using connectors, let us know vis Live Chat or through a Support Ticket via the Help button in the top right of Tulip. We will help you through the process.