AliasNames allow a Client to find TagVariables or Topics easily. Many industrial systems assign tags to specific measurement or sensors. These tags follow established nomenclatures. An example might be TI101, which would be a temperature indicator at a specific location in a plant. The example nomenclature is defined in ANSI/ISA-S5.1-1984 (R 1992), but this specification does not provide or even suggest any nomenclature. A Client could be configured to display or use the information provided by the sensor TI101, but the actual address/location of this sensor might not be known when the Client is configured. AliasNames can be used to resolve this tag to the actual sensor in the system.
The Client, on start-up or when it needs to access the tag, would call FindAlias on a local Server, aggregating Server or GDS depending on how a system is configured. A Client might select which AliasName source to call via a configuration setting. The FindAlias Method call would return a list of all ExpandedNodeIds that the AliasName References. It is important to note that there might be more than one Node referenced by an AliasName and that the Client must be prepared for this. The first Node in the list of referenced Nodes returned by FindAlias Method is the Node that the Server feels is the best match for the requested tag. The returned list might also return more than one instance of AliasNameType and each could have their own list of referenced Nodes. If the Method call was on a GDS or aggregating Server, the Client would need to read the ServerArray to resolve which Server the ExpandedNodeId was referencing. This would be the last piece of information that a Client would need to be able to follow a normal connection pattern to obtain values from the Node.
AliasName might also be configured to provide other information, such as Pub/Sub information, but again it would only be the information that is needed to initially subscribe to an item.