I downloaded the demo of Ignition to see if it would be a good fit for my company. We’ve been using RsView since 2000 and it’s always served us well, but just lately we’ve been running into some limitations of what it’s capable of/designed to do. I haven’t decided yet if these limitations are a big enough deal to change to a different system, or if we can design around them. With the exception of these minor limitations, It’s a very solid program.
After installing Ignition, the first thing I decided to do was to recreate one of our screens. I had a Word document open as I was working and every time I thought of something like a feature request or something I didn’t like, I wrote it down. My first impression so far of the Vision designer is, I’m not really blown away. Comparing it to the first time I tried FactorySQL, where I almost fell backwards out of my chair because it was so incredibly well made, this experience was a little less mind blowing. I kept feeling like the designer was fighting me. I’d finally get something looking the way I wanted and then one thing would get messed up and I’d have to delete everything and start over. The program doesn’t feel robust. It took me about 4 hours to recreate about 1/8 of this test screen. There are also some pretty severe deficiencies in the program’s abilities that I feel are deal breakers at this point. Features that I love so much about RsView, are just completely missing here, or you need to enter in a bunch of code to make it work. Overall I’d say the way you’ve set up the designer works great for quick demos, but when trying to make a solid, well built, detailed screen, it’s flimsy.
So without further ado, here is my current list.
- Zoom controls while editing windows in designer. I just saw that this will possibly be a feature of the next release, but it sounded like your application of a zoom control was going to be limited. I want to be able to zoom into the screen I’m building so I can get every little detail just right.
- Auto label assigned to numeric display (like in Access forms).
- A much simpler way to change text and color of a label depending on the state of a bit. In RsView this is done graphically, no programming involved. You can have advanced features if you need more, but a simple Red if 1, Green if 0, graphical choice would make things so much easier.
- Edit label font directly from the window instead of having to go to the property sheet.
- When copying and pasting items, do not copy the name, blank it. Having no name is better than naming something completely wrong with a “_1” after it.
- Edit windows in floating mode, or see the screen in its full size. Requiring me to scroll side to side and up and down is very time consuming. I’ve got two monitors, let me use them. I don’t want to have to constantly rearrange panels
- Only allow end users to switch windows by clicking a navigation button.
- Make design changes to a project “offline” and then apply the changes when the machine is inactive.
- Prevent operators from closing Ignition and getting into Windows.
- Disable CRL+ALT+DEL while a project is running.
- Memory tags – tags that only hold their value inside the memory of the program but do not affect any real-world PLC addresses. These can be used as temporary tags or for visibility inside the program.
Every single feature request I listed here, with the exception of auto labeling, was in RsView 10 years ago. I can understand if you’re trying to go in a different direction from Rockwell, I appreciate that and encourage it. But simple things like choosing the color of a box based on the value of a tag in a simple graphical user interface, without typing in ANY code, should be extremely doable. Certainly something programmed in the late 90’s shouldn’t be difficult to recreate in 2010.