CSS Training

These are instructions, software snapshots and slides used for CSS training at

Computer Setup

Basic Use

If you only want to learn about using CSS as an end user or to create BOY displays, you need the following:

  1. CSS

    Download the "Basic EPICS" CSS from http://ics-web.sns.ornl.gov/css/products.html

    Verify that you can start it. If it does not start up, see comments regarding Java at http://ics-web.sns.ornl.gov/css/issues.html

  2. Soft IOC

    At some training sites, you can connect to a network where EPICS process variables, archived data etc. are available.

    At SLAC, you will be on a visitor network. To access example data you need to execute an EPICS soft IOC on your own computer. Example soft IOCs for various operating systems are listed below.


For CSS development you need the following:

  1. Java

    Check that the command

    java -version
    displays a version number of 1.7 or higher with "HotSpot", "Sun" or "Oracle" in the name. Not version 1.5, not GNU.

    If you don't have java installed, you should probably install the JDK, i.e. a development kit instead of the plain JRE runtime. It is suggested to point the JAVA_HOME environment variable to the base directory of your Java installation, and you should be able to call "java" from the command line, which typically means that your PATH contains $JAVA_HOME/bin. Eclipse has ways to find java even if it is not on the PATH, but as a developer you are best off when you know exactly which Java you are using.

  2. Eclipse IDE for "RCP and RAP Developers"

    Download the version listed under "Tools" below. With Java properly installed, eclipse should start up without error messages.

  3. CSS Source Snapshot

    Download the latest "SNS Sources" from http://ics-web.sns.ornl.gov/css/products.html

Complete Standalone Setup (Run alarm server and archive engine)

The above Java and Eclipse setup will allow you to participate in most of the training. It represents what a CSS developer needs in an environment where there is already a shared server for JMS and an RDB like MySQL.

If you want to duplicate a complete standalone system on your training computer, you would also need the following:

  • Relational Database

    Install for example MySQL and assert that you can connect to it as the RDB super user:

    mysql -h localhost -u root -p

  • JMS

    When unpacking the apache-activemq-5.5.0-bin.tar.gz, there should be a 'bin' dir with an activemq command.

      # Check that there is no JMS server running:
      # ... should not see any LISTEN entry
      netstat -an | fgrep 61616
      # Start Active MQ JMS:
      bin/activemq start
      # Now there should be a LISTEN entry
      netstat -an | fgrep 61616
      # Should show something like "BrokerNname = localhost"
      # If you get many errors instead of "BrokerNname = localhost",
      # check which Java you are using.
      # OpenJDK may not work. Use the Sun/Oracle JDK
      bin/activemq list
      # In case of problems, check data/activemq.log
      # Stop, then the LISTEN entry should vanish
      bin/activemq stop
      netstat -an | fgrep 61616
      # Should see a very long list of errors
      bin/activemq list
  • Tools

    EPICS Soft IOCs

    These binaries contain the softIoc, caget, caput, camonitor commands and associated shared libraries from EPICS base.

    In addition, there is a command runIOC.sh that will execute a soft IOC for several example databases.

    Since installations of Linux vary, the examples might not work for you. For example, you may need to install the readline library if it is not already included in your Linux setup. The binaries offered here do also not include the 'CA Repeater'. If you prefer to have a complete setup of EPICS base, please install it from http://aps.anl.gov/epics

    Java SDK

    These days most computers already include Java. Check java -version on the command line. If it shows a version number of 1.7 or higher with "HotSpot", "Sun" or "Oracle" in the name, you are OK. Otherwise go to Oracle's Java JDK download page.

    Eclipse IDE for "RCP and RAP Developers"

    Download the current "Eclipse for RCP and RAP Developers" from http://www.eclipse.org/downloads/. The Eclipse source code for versions 3.x still requires "Eclipse Indigo (3.7.2)", so you either use that as the IDE, or you use a current Eclipse 4.x IDE, but set the target platform to 3.7.2.

    Apache Active MQ JMS Server

    Visual DCT Snapshot

    Relational Database



    CSS Book

    This book is meant to serve as a guide for those who need to install, maintain and extend CSS.


    For PLC-centered training at FRIB/MSU, Sept. 2014

    For training at Lanzhou 2014 EPICS Meeting

    For training at IHEP

    For training at DLS EPICS Meeting

    For training at DLS

    For training at PAL

    For training at SLAC

    For training at NSRRC

    As used at CEA/Saclay:

    Installing & Maintaining CSS: Using CSS: