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Maintain Compatibility of Library Blocks Using Forwarding Tables

Forwarding Table allow you to check that the changes to blocks in a library do not break the model if you have saved the model with an older version of the library block. Forwarding tables help you to maintain compatibility of library blocks when you change the path or name of the library,or add, remove, or rename the parameters in the library block. For more information see, Create Custom Library.

Create a forwarding table entry for mapping old library blocks to new library blocks. When you open the model, the links to the old library block are updated automatically without losing data or functionality. Forwarding tables are executed when you open a model, close a model, or when you execute the add_block or replace_block command.

Create a forwarding table entry when you:

  • Rename a block.

  • Move a block from one library to another library.

  • Add or remove parameters from the block.

  • Split the functionality of a block.

Forwarding Table Entry for a Renamed Block

Consider an example where the block name in a library testlib is renamed from ss1 to ss2.

  1. Open the locked library Lib1.

  2. In the Library window, on the Library tab, click Locked Library. The library is now unlocked for editing.

  3. On the Modeling tab, click Library Properties. The Library Properties dialog box opens.

  4. Click the Forwarding Table tab.

  5. Click Add New entry. A new row is added in the forwarding table.

  6. Specify the name of the old block in Old Block Path and the corresponding new block path in the New Block Path. If you do not know the path, select the block in the model and click Get gcb button. The path of the block is automatically populated in the respective columns.

The mapping of the old path to new path is created in the forwarding table. Now, open a model that contains links to the library. The links to the old library blocks in the model are updated automatically. You can use the search bar above the table to filter the table contents. You can sort the columns in ascending or descending order. You can also group columns by their values.

Assign Version Numbers to Library Blocks

In the Version column, you can specify a version number for the library block.

If the old block name is the same as new block name, the forwarding table populates the version number automatically. The initial value of the library version LibraryVersion is derived from the ModelVersion property of the library at the time the library link is created. Any subsequent updates to the library block will update the library version to match the model version of the library.

The version number:

  • Must be a numeric value.

  • Must be of the format <major_version>. <minor_version> when the old and the new block paths are the same.

  • Must not have more than one dot notation. For example, a version number of 1.3 is acceptable. A version number 1.3.1 is not acceptable.

  • Format is not critical when you use a forwarding table to move a library block from one library to another.

Move Block from One Library to Another

Consider an example where a block ss1 is moved from testlib1 to testlib2`. The forwarding table entry in this case is shown here:

moving block from one library to another

Add or Remove Parameters from the Block

Consider an example where the Gain parameter of ss1 in library testlibis removed, and two other parameters Initial condition and Delay length are added to it.

add or remove parameter

To handle this change we use a transformation function. A transformation function corrects the mismatch of parameters between the new and old library links, which ensures that the library links continue to work. You can define a transformation function using a .m function file on MATLAB path, then call the function in the Transformation Function column of the Forwarding Table.

A linked block contains an instance of the block parameters in the form of name-value arguments to instantiate the block. This instance data is passed to transformation function as InstanceData along with forwarding entry. This data is stored as struct fields.

When you create versions of a library block, parameters are added or removed from the InstanceData. In this example, the InstanceData before removal of the Gain parameter and after the addition of initial condition and delay length looks like this

Before:

'RTWMemSecFuncInitTerm' 'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecFuncExecute' 'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecDataConstants' 'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecDataInternal' 'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecDataParameters' 'Inherit from model'
'ContentPreviewEnabled' 'on'
'Gain' '0'

After:

'RTWMemSecFuncInitTerm'    'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecFuncExecute'    'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecDataConstants'    'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecDataInternal'    'Inherit from model'
'RTWMemSecDataParameters'    'Inherit from model'
'ContentPreviewEnabled'    'on'
'DelayLength'    '1'
'InitialCondition'    '0' 

This is the syntax for transformation function.

function outData = TransformationFcn(inData)

In this function syntax:

  • inData is a structure with fields ForwardingTableEntry and InstanceData. ForwardingTableEntry is also a structure.

    • The ForwardingTableEntry has the old name, new name, old path, and new path of a block. Refer to the code to access the members of the ForwardingTableEntry.

  • outData is a structure with fields NewInstanceData and NewBlockPath.

The add or remove parameters from a block:

  1. Obtain the instance data and the forwarding table entry.

  2. Extract the list of name-value pair and block names.

  3. Get the old and new block names.

  4. Check if the old and new block names are same. If so, then extract the versions of the block.

  5. Check if the old version is 1.1 and the new version is 1.2. Then, remove the Gain parameter and add the parameters Delay length and Initial condition.

Note

You can have only one transformation function for one library or block. However, you can have multiple functions.

To add or remove parameters, use this transformation function.

function [outData] = txFcnTestlib(inData)
    outData.NewBlockPath = '';
    outData.NewInstanceData = [];
    
    % Get linked block instance data and forwarding entry for which
    % function is called
    instanceData = inData.InstanceData;
    forwardingTableEntry = inData.ForwardingTableEntry;
    
    % Get list of name value pair and block names
    [ParamNames{1:length(instanceData)}] = instanceData.Name;
    
    % Get old and new block paths or simply names
    oldName = forwardingTableEntry.('__slOldName__');
    newName = forwardingTableEntry.('__slNewName__');
    
    % If block names are same and its subsys block in the lib
    if strcmp(oldName, newName)
        % Get old and new block versions from forwarding table
        oldVer = forwardingTableEntry.('__slOldVersion__');
        newVer = forwardingTableEntry.('__slNewVersion__');

        % Each forwarding entry with different version can have separate
        % entry. Here, for one single entry in forwarding table i.e.
        % 1.2->1.3 or 1.3->2.0, we have separate transformation making one
        % TX Fcn for one library or block.
        if strcmp(oldName, 'testlib/ss1')
            % Forwarding with same block name ss1
            if oldVer == '1.1' && newVer == '1.2'
                % Remove gain param
                if (ismember('Gain',ParamNames))
                    for (i = 1:length(instanceData))
                        if (strcmp(instanceData(i).Name,'Gain') == true)
                            instanceData(i) = [];
                            break;
                        end
                    end
                end
                
                % Add delay length param
                if (ismember('DelayLength',ParamNames))
                    for (i = 1:length(instanceData))
                        if (strcmp(instanceData(i).Name,'Value') == true)
                            instanceData(i).Value = '5';
                            break;
                        end
                    end
                else
                    instanceData(end+1).Name = 'DelayLength';
                    instanceData(end).Value = '1';
                end
                
                % Add initial condition param
                if (ismember('InitialCondition',ParamNames))
                    for (i = 1:length(instanceData))
                        if (strcmp(instanceData(i).Name,'InitialCondition') == true)
                            instanceData(i).Value = '0';
                            break;
                        end
                    end
                else
                    instanceData(end+1).Name = 'InitialCondition';
                    instanceData(end).Value = '0';
                end
            elseif (oldVer == '1.2' && newVer == '1.3')
                % Do version 1.2 to 1.3 specific changes
            elseif (oldVer == '1.3' && newVer == '2.0')
                % Do version 1.3 to 2.0 specific changes
            else
                % Do default changes not applicable to any version if
                % required
            end
        elseif strcmp(oldName, 'testlib/ss2')
            % Forwarding for block ss2  with version upgrade
        end
    elseif strcmp(oldName, 'testlib/oldblk') && strcmp(newName, 'testlib2/newblk')
        % Block moved to new library or just block is renamed within same
        % library, no version is checked here. Do transformation is
        % required i.e. is block has been modified while renaming or moving
        % to new lib.
    elseif strcmp(oldName, 'testlib/blkX') && isempty(newName)
        % We are splitting the block into 2 different blocks. Hence, kept
        % newName empty in fwd table. Using one of the block param from its
        % instance data (which is name-value pair of all block params) to
        % decide how and what to divide.
        
        % Get the index of param we are interested in i.e. param X
        i = find(contains({instanceData.Name},'X'), true);
        
        % Based on its value, do block splitting
        switch (instanceData(i).Value)
            case 'op1'
                newName = 'newlibX/blkX';
                % Remove existing param or add new param or modify existing
                % params etc.
            case 'op2'
                newName = 'newlibY/blkX';
            otherwise
                newName = oldName;
        end
    end
    
    % Return new instance data and new block path
    outData.NewInstanceData = instanceData;
    outData.NewBlockPath = newName;
end

Split Block Functionality

Splitting the functionality of a block involves adding, removing, or modifying the existing parameter of the block and adding it to the new block. To split the functionality of a block:

  1. Leave the newName argument empty.

  2. Get the index and value of the parameter.

  3. Split the block based on its value.

  4. Return the NewBlockPath with the updated InstanceData if required.

Create Mask Parameter Aliases

If you rename a mask parameter, you must ensure that the existing MATLAB® scripts that use the old parameter names, continues to work. To check compatibility, you can create an alias for a mask parameter name. An alias allows you to change the name of a mask parameter in a library block without having to recreate links to the block in existing models.

Consider a masked block that contains an Edit parameter. The mask parameter name for this Edit parameter is p1.

MaskObj = Simulink.Mask.get(gcb)); 
hEdit = MaskObj.getParameter('p1');

hEdit= 
% MaskParameter with properties:

           Type: 'edit'
    TypeOptions: {0×1 cell}
           Name: 'p1'
         Prompt: 'p1'
          Value: '0'
       Evaluate: 'on'
        Tunable: 'on'
      NeverSave: 'off'
         Hidden: 'off'
        Enabled: 'on'
        Visible: 'on'
        ToolTip: 'on'
       Callback: ''
          Alias: ''

Notice that the Edit mask parameter does not have an alias. To add an alias for the mask parameter, set a value for the Alias mask parameter property.

MaskObj.Alias = 'pa'

You can either use the mask parameter name or the alias to do a function call on the mask parameter. For example, you can either use set_param(gcb, 'p1, '10) (mask parameter name) or set_param(gcb, 'pa, '10) (mask parameter alias) to set a value for the Edit mask parameter.

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