Methods are “lightweight” functions, whose scope is bounded by an owning (see Note) Object, similar to the methods of a class in object-oriented programming or an owning ObjectType, similar to static methods of a class. Methods are invoked by a client, proceed to completion on the Server and return the result to the client. The lifetime of the Method’s invocation instance begins when the client calls the Method and ends when the result is returned.
NOTE The owning Object or ObjectType is specified in the service call when invoking the Method.
While Methods may affect the state of the owning Object, they have no explicit state of their own. In this sense, they are stateless. Methods can have a varying number of input arguments and return resultant arguments. Each Method is described by a Node of the Method NodeClass. This Node contains the metadata that identifies the Method’s arguments and describes its behaviour.
Methods are invoked by using the Call Service defined in OPC 10000-4.
Clients discover the Methods supported by a Server by browsing for the owning Objects References that identify their supported Methods.