What’s the Difference between XMpLant and Proteus?

We have mentioned several times in our writing, the names XMpLant, XMpLant Schema, Proteus, and Proteus Schema as if everyone understood what they are. But some folks have had questions so we will shed a bit of light on the subject.

Short Answer

  1. XMpLant: A brand name owned by Noumenon Consulting out of the UK.
  2. XMpLant Schema: An XML schema using ISO 15926 Part 4, released into the public domain by Noumenon in 2001. (Thanks Noumenon!)
  3. Proteus: The name given to a PCA/Fiatech project in 2008 which used the XMpLant Schema version 3.3.3.
  4. Proteus Schema:  The new name for the XMpLant schema, published by the Proteus project as a valid schema for ISO 15926 at the Dictionary Compliance level.

There. That’s it.

But why explain something in 50 words when you can use 500, eh? So let’s go the long way around.


(a.k.a. The Old Man of the Sea)

Long Answer

We need to go back to the very early days of ISO 15926 (which we are now calling iRING).

In a previous article, ISO 15926 – A Decades-long Overnight Success, we told how ISO 15926 was born from the decision to split the large, comprehensive data model of STEP into two parts; Part 2, a generic data model (which we will discuss in a future article), and Part 4, a library of reference data, or just RDL. While the illuminato were figuring out how to use the new data model, an enterprising soul figured that there were swamps that could be drained right now with just the RDL.

He came up with a schema containing the plant terminology from Part 4, along with the implied engineering model, and expressed it in XML, at the time the darling of the Internet intelligentsia. But while XML has turned out to be a little shy of its most ardent claims (“XML will save the world!”) it was, and is, a reliable workhorse for transporting information. The name XMpLant combined the magnetic charm of XML with the Plant environment. The person who created the schema was, of course, the founder of the afore-mentioned Noumenon Consulting. In 2001 he released the XMpLant schema into the public domain.

Fast forward to 2008.

A number of joint Fiatech and PCA projects were running to showcase different parts of ISO 15926 and methodologies for using them. Some of them seemed a bit cutting-edge so a group of folks conceived a project to showcase what could be done right now. They called the project Proteus after a god in Greek mythology associated with versatility and adaptability.

As you can read on the PCA Proteus website, the goal of the project was “…to determine the business requirements for and define use of the ISO 15926 model to support the exchange of intelligent P&ID and 3D models between different vendor systems.” The backbone of the project was the XMpLant Schema, revised during the project to version 3.3.3 and published as a valid schema for ISO 15926 at the Dictionary Compliance level. According to the participants, the Proteus project completed successfully, with the Proteus Schema now supported in the commercial products of nine vendors. You can download the Proteus Schema from the Noumenon website.

Nowadays the name Proteus (or Proteus Schema) has come to mean the XMpLant Schema. Makes it a little easier for new folks to keep things straight.

So now you know. And if you spell it “XMpLant” everyone will think you actually know what you’re talking about!

Notice: This article has been modified from the original to include comments from Adrian Laud, below.

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2 Responses to What’s the Difference between XMpLant and Proteus?

  1. Adrian Laud June 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

    Excellent article Gord. Thanks for clearing some things up. Just a couple of comments. First, the Proteus project published what is now the Proteus Schema as a valid Schema for ISO 15926 at the dictionary compliance level.

    Second, there are now nine vendors who have interfaces conforming to the Proteus Schema most in their commercial products.

    You can download the Proteus Schema from Noumenon’s website.


  2. Gord Rachar June 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Thanks for the update Adrian!

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