The infrastructure of state machines defined in this specification only deals with the basics of state machines needed to support OPC 10000-9 and OPC 10000-10. The intention is to keep the basic simple but extensible.
For the state machines defined in this specification we assume that state machines are typed and instances of a type have their states and semantics specified by the type. For some types, this means that the states and transitions are fixed. For other types the states and transitions may be dynamic or unknown. A state machine where all the states are specified explicitly by the type is called a finite state machine.
Therefore, we distinguish between StateMachineType and StateMachine and their subtypes like FiniteStateMachineType. The StateMachineType specifies a description of the state machine, that is, its states, transitions, etc., whereas the StateMachine is an instance of the StateMachineType and only contains the current state.
Each StateMachine contains information about the current state. If the StateMachineType has SubStateMachines, the StateMachine also contains information about the current state of the SubStateMachines. StateMachines which have their states completely defined by the type are instances of a FiniteStateMachineType.
Each Transition can have one or more Causes. A Cause leads a FiniteStateMachine to change its current State from the source of the Transition to its target. In this specification we only specify Method calls to be Causes of Transitions. Transitions do not have to have a Cause. A Transition can always be caused by some server-internal logic that is not exposed in the AddressSpace.
Each Transition can have one or more Effects. An Effect occurs if the Transition is used to change the State of a StateMachine. In this specification we only specify the generation of Events to be Effects of a Transition. A Transition is not required to expose any Effects in the AddressSpace.
Although this specification only specifies simple concepts for state machines, the provided infrastructure is extensible. If needed, special States can be defined as well as additional Causes or Effects.