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Variant Control Modes in Variant Blocks

The components of a Simulink® model that contain variants are activated or deactivated based on the variant choice that you select.

Each variant choice in your model is associated with a variant control. Variant controls determine which variant choice is active. By changing the value of a variant control, you can switch the active variant choice. While each variant choice is associated with a variant control, only one variant control can evaluate to true. When a variant control evaluates to true, Simulink activates the variant choice that corresponds to that variant control. For a simple example, see Introduction to Variant Controls.

Types of Variant Control Modes in Variant Blocks

These are types of variant control modes in Simulink:

  • expression — In expression mode, Simulink chooses the active variant based on the evaluation of the variant conditions. When a condition expression evaluates to true, the corresponding variant choice becomes active. When a condition expression evaluates to false, the corresponding variant choice becomes inactive. See Switch Between Choices Using Condition Expressions in Variant Blocks.

  • label — In label mode, Simulink chooses the active variant based on the name of the variant. The variant control is a string and does not require you to create any variable in any workspaces. See Switch Between Choices Using Labels in Variant Blocks.

  • sim codegen switching — To automatically switch between the variants for simulation and code generation workflows without creating any workspace variable, use sim codegen switching mode. When you simulate a model, Simulink automatically chooses the sim branch as the active choice. Similarly, when you do a software-in-the-loop (SIL) or processor-In-Loop (PIL) simulation, generate code, or use external mode, Simulink automatically chooses the codegen branch. This mode is not supported for models configured with an ERT-based system target file and service code interface. See Switch Between Choices for Simulation and Code Generation Workflows Without Using Control Variables in Variant Blocks.

Types of variant control modes with examples. In expression mode, variant control can be a boolean condition expression, a Simulink.Variant object, or a default variant choice. In label mode, variant control is a string, and in sim codegen switching mode, variant controls are (sim) and (codegen) keywords.

Switch Between Choices Using Condition Expressions in Variant Blocks

In expression mode, Simulink chooses the active variant based on the evaluation of the variant conditions. When a condition expression evaluates to true, the corresponding variant choice becomes active. When a condition expression evaluates to false, the corresponding variant choice becomes inactive.

You can use the expression type of variant controls in variant blocks and in variant parameters.

Note

You can simulate and generate code from the model containing a variant block with Variant control mode set to expression mode. The generated code can contain active and inactive choices that are enclosed in preprocessor conditionals #if and #elif, or regular if conditions.

Use expression Type of Variant Control in Variant Blocks

To specify the variant condition expressions in variant blocks:

  • Right-click the badge on the variant block, select Block Parameters, and then specify the variant condition expression in the Variant control expression parameter of the block parameter dialog box.

     Variant control mode: expression

  • Use this command.

    set_param('Model/Controller/Linear Controller', 'VariantControl', 'VSS_MODE == 1')
    In this command, Model/Controller/Linear Controller is the full path of the variant choice, and VSS_MODE == 1 is the expression associated with the variant choice.

Types of Variant Controls in expression Mode

The variant controls can be:

  • Boolean condition expression for rapid prototyping. For example, A == 1, A ~= B, A && B == 1, and so on.

  • A Simulink.Variant object that contains condition expressions for condition reuse. See Simulink.Variant Objects for Variant Condition Reuse of Variant Blocks.

  • A default variant control if none of the choices evaluates to true. You can specify at most one variant choice as the default for the block. During simulation, if none of the variant controls evaluate to true, Simulink uses the default variant as the active variant choice. To set a variant choice as the default, select the (default) keyword in the Variant control expression column for that choice.

Here, A and B are operands called as variant control variables. +, ==, and && are operators in the condition expression. The condition expression can contain one or more such variant control variables and operators. For information on supported types and storage location of variant control variables, see Types of Variant Control Variables (Operands) in Variant Blocks and Storage Locations for Variant Control Variables (Operands) in Variant Blocks. For information on operators, see Types of Operators in Variant Blocks for Different Activation Times.

Note

You can comment out the variant controls by placing a % symbol before the control expressions. During simulation, if the corresponding variant choice is active, Simulink ignores the variant choice. However, Simulink continues to execute block callbacks inside the variant choice.

Types of Variant Control Variables (Operands) in Variant Blocks

In expression mode, you can specify the variant control variables as any of these types, from options to use while prototyping to options required for generating code from your model.

SpecificationPurposeExample
Simulink.VariantControlAssociate a variant activation time to switch choices coherentlyA == 1, where A is a Simulink.VariantControl object. See Simulink.VariantControl Variables for Coherent Switching of Choices in Variant Blocks.
Scalar variableRapid prototyping

A == 1, where A is a scalar variable. See Scalar Variant Control Variables for Rapid Prototyping in Variant Blocks.

Simulink.Parameter objectGenerate preprocessor conditionals for code generationVssmode == 1, where Vssmode is a Simulink.Parameter object. See Simulink.Parameter Type of Variant Control Variables for Code Generation in Variant Blocks.
Simulink EnumerationsImproved code readability because condition values are represented as meaningful names instead of integersLEVEL == Level.Advanced, where Level is an integer-based enumeration class and Advanced is the enumerated value. See Enumerated Types To Improve Code Readability of Variant Control Variables of Variant Blocks.
Simulink.Variant objectReuse variant conditionsLinearController == 1, where LinearController is a Simulink.Variant object that encapsulates the condition expression FUEL==2 && EMIS==1. See Simulink.Variant Objects for Variant Condition Reuse of Variant Blocks.
structGroup related variant control variablesController.Linear == 1, where Controller is a struct and Linear is its field. See Structures to Group Related Variant Control Variables of Variant Blocks.

For list of all examples, see Use Variant Control Variables in Variant Blocks.

Storage Locations for Variant Control Variables (Operands) in Variant Blocks

You can define the variant control variables in different storage locations based on your requirement.

Note

All the variant control variables in a variant block must originate from the same storage location.

Storage LocationUse for Storage LocationSupported Types of Variant Control Variables (See Types of Variant Control Variables (Operands) in Variant Blocks)For More Information
Base workspaceStore variables while you experiment with temporary modelsScalar variables, Simulink.Variant, Simulink.Parameter, enumerated type, Simulink.VariantControl, and structTemporary Data: Base Workspace
Mask workspacePermanently store data that is local to the mask of a block.Scalar variables, enumerated type, and Simulink.VariantControlApproaches to Control Active Variant Choice of a Variant Block Using Mask or Model Workspace
Model workspacePermanently store data that is local to a modelScalar variables, enumerated type, and Simulink.VariantControlApproaches to Control Active Variant Choice of a Variant Block Using Mask or Model Workspace
Data dictionaryPermanently store global data, share data between models, and track changes made to data.Scalar variables, Simulink.Variant, Simulink.Parameter, enumerated type, Simulink.VariantControl, and structWhat Is a Data Dictionary?

For capabilities and advantages of each storage location, see Determine Where to Store Variables and Objects for Simulink Models

Types of Operators in Variant Blocks for Different Activation Times

Variant condition expressions can contain MATLAB® operators, provided the expression evaluates to a Boolean value.

In variant blocks, the operators that you can use to form a variant condition expression depends on the Variant activation time.

When you specify the Variant activation time as:

  • update diagram — Any condition expression that evaluates to true or false.

  • update diagram analyze all choices or code compile — The supported operators are:

    • Parentheses for grouping

    • Arithmetic Operators, Relational Operators, Logical Operators, and Bit-Wise Operations, as listed in this table.

      This table lists the MATLAB operators and their representation in the generated code. In these examples, A and B are expressions that evaluate to an integer, and x is a constant integer literal.

      MATLAB Expressions That Support Generation of Preprocessor ConditionalsEquivalent Expression in C Preprocessor Conditional of Generated Code
      Arithmetic
      • A + B

      • +A

      • A + B

      • A

      • A - B

      • -A

      • A - B

      • -A

      A * BA * B
      idivide(A,B)

      A / B

      If the value of the second operand (B) is 0, the behavior is undefined.

      rem(A,B)

      A % B

      If the value of the second operand (B) is 0, the behavior is undefined.

      Relational

      A == B

      A == B

      A ~= B

      A != B

      A < B

      A < B

      A > B

      A > B

      A <= B

      A <= B

      A >= B

      A >= B
      Logical
      ~A!A, where A is not an integer
      A && BA && B
      A || BA || B
      Bitwise (A and B cannot both be constant integer literals)

      bitand(A,B)

      A & B

      bitor(A,B)

      A | B

      bitxor(A,B)

      A ^ B

      bitcmp(A)

      ~A

      bitshift(A,x)

      A << x

      bitshift(A,-x)

      A >> x
  • startup — The supported operators are:

    • Parentheses for grouping

    • Relational Operators and Logical Operators, as listed in this table.

      This table lists the MATLAB operators and their representation in the generated code. In these examples, A and B are expressions that evaluate to an integer.

      Supported Operators in Variant Condition ExpressionEquivalent Expression in Regular if of Generated Code
      Relational

      A == B

      A == B

      A ~= B

      A != B
      Logical
      ~A!A, where A is not an integer
      A && BA && B
      A || BA || B

Note

In variant blocks with startup activation time:

  • The variant control variables that originate from the mask or the model workspace cannot be used in the function-call operators such as idivide, bitand, and so on to form expressions.

  • AUTOSAR post-build variants support only == and && operators. For more information, see Configure Postbuild Variant Conditions for AUTOSAR Software Components (AUTOSAR Blockset).

Evaluate Variant Condition Expressions at Different Variant Activation Times

In expression mode, you can specify if Simulink must evaluate condition expressions during model compile, simulation-loop, code compile, or model start up stage of simulation and code generation workflow using variant activation times. For information on stages of simulation and code generation and supported variant activation times in expression mode, see Activate Variant During Different Stages of Simulation and Code Generation Workflow.

Automatically Identify Variant Regions Using Variant Condition Propagation

Simulink determines the model components that are active during simulation by the process of variant condition propagation. This process evaluates the variant controls specified on the variant blocks and automatically propagates the variant conditions to the connecting blocks. Variant conditions can propagate through signal lines, buses, and function calls to reach other blocks in the model. The process deactivates the model components associated with the inactive choices and they do not participate in simulation. You can stop condition propagation to define variant regions in the model.

You can use the Variant Conditions Legend to visualize the propagated variant conditions that activate each variant choice. Simulink annotates model components if there are variant conditions on them, and the Variant Conditions Legend displays the condition that corresponds to each annotation.

For more information, see Variant Condition Propagation Overview.

Switch Between Choices Using Labels in Variant Blocks

In label mode, Simulink chooses the active variant based on the name of the variant. The variant control is a string and does not require you to create variable in any workspaces.

Note

In label mode, the activation time of the variant block is set to update diagram by default. In other words, when you simulate a model or generate code from a model, Simulink determines the active choice in the model compilation stage and generates code only for the active choice. See Activate Variant During Different Stages of Simulation and Code Generation Workflow.

Use label Mode in Variant Blocks

To specify the labels for choices in variant blocks, right-click the badge on the variant block, select Block Parameters, and then specify the labels in the Variant control label parameter of the block parameter dialog box.

 Variant control mode: label

Set Active Choices Using Variant Control Labels

You can follow any of these approaches to set active choices in label mode:

  • Specify a name for each variant choice in the Variant control label parameter of the variant block dialog box. All the names that you specify are listed in the Label mode active choice drop-down. The label that you select from the list becomes the active choice.

  • Right-click the badge on the variant block and select Label Mode Active Choice.

  • From the mask workspace using the initialization code. Using the mask initialization code, you can specify the active choice from variant block or any subsystem in the hierarchy. The active choice you specify in the mask initialization code overrides the active choice you specify using the Label mode active choice drop-down or the Label Mode Active Choice menu item. For more information, see Mask a Variant Subsystem.

  • Use this command:

    set_param(blockName,'LabelModeActiveChoice', 'variantChoiceLabel')
    where blockName is the name of the variant block and variantChoiceLabel is the label associated with the variant choice.

Switch Between Choices for Simulation and Code Generation Workflows Without Using Control Variables in Variant Blocks

To automatically switch between the choices for simulation and code generation workflows without creating any workspace variable, use the sim codegen switching variant control mode.

Note

In sim codegen switching mode, only the update diagram and the update diagram analyze all choices activation times are supported. In other words, when you simulate or generate code from a model, Simulink determines the active choice in the model compilation stage and generates the code only for the choice. See, Activate Variant During Different Stages of Simulation and Code Generation Workflow.

Use sim codegen switching Mode in Variant Blocks

To specify simulation and code generation branches for variant choices, right-click the badge on the variant block, select Block Parameters, and then specify the (sim) and (codegen) keywords in the Variant control switch parameter of the block parameter dialog box.

When you simulate a model in normal, accelerator, or rapid Accelerator mode, Simulink automatically chooses the (sim) branch as the active choice. Similarly, when you do a software-in-the-loop (SIL), processor-In-Loop (PIL) simulation or generate code or use external mode, Simulink automatically chooses the (codegen) branch. The code is generated only for the active choice. Inactive choices are not included in the generated code. In this mode, you can at most have only two choices in the variant block.

 Variant control mode: sim codegen switching

Compare Different Types of Variant Control Modes in Variant Blocks

This table explains the capabilities of different variant control modes to help you choose one that caters to your requirement.

Variant control modeCapabilities

expression — Simulink chooses the active variant based on the evaluation of the variant conditions. When a condition expression evaluates to true, the corresponding variant choice becomes active. When a condition expression evaluates to false, the corresponding variant choice becomes inactive.

Use expression mode to:

label — Simulink chooses the active variant based on the name of the variant. The variant control is a string and does not require you to create variable in any workspace.

Use label mode to:

  • Control active choices without creating any workspace variables.

  • Generate code only for active choice in the model.

sim codegen switching — When you simulate a model in normal, accelerator, or rapid Accelerator mode, then Simulink automatically chooses the sim branch as the active choice. Similarly, when you do a software-in-the-loop (SIL), processor-In-Loop (PIL) simulation or generate code or use external mode, Simulink automatically chooses the codegen branch.

Use sim codegen switching switching mode to:

  • To automatically switch between the choices for simulation and code generation workflows without creating any workspace variables.

  • Generate code only for active choice in the model.

Variant Activation Times for Different Variant Control Modes in Variant Blocks

This table explains the variant activation time supported for different variant control modes in variant blocks. For information on variant activation times, see Activate Variant During Different Stages of Simulation and Code Generation Workflow.

Variant activation time
Variant blocksVariant control modeupdate diagramupdate diagram analyze all choicescode compilestartup
Variant Subsystem, Variant Model, Variant Source, Variant Sinkexpression
labelxxx
sim codegen switchingxx
Variant Connector (Simscape), Manual Variant Source, Manual Variant Sinkexpressionxxx
labelnot supported
sim codegen switchingnot supported
Simulink Function, Initialize Function, Reset Function, and Terminate Functionexpressionx
labelnot supported
sim codegen switchingnot supported

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