Does Ignition have this CIMPLICITY functionality?

Tomorrow I’m giving an in-house talk describing my skeuomorphic HMI that I built with Perspective. While the intention of the talk is to show the benefits of my work (and subtly ply my design skills), I am also going to be talking about Ignition in general and my experiences in producing my HMI (And here are some screen shots)

The people that I am giving the talk to are heavy CIMPLICITY users (and so was I in a past life), and there are a couple of CIMPLICITY features that I know that they rely on, but I am not sure if/how the equivalent can/could be achieved in Ignition. So I want to be prepared to answer the obvious questions that will arise.

So is there equivalent functionality for the following items?

Point Control Panel

In CIMPLICITY the Point Control Panel is a stand alone utility that allows you to do simple ad-hoc viewing of the tags that are defined in the server. You basically start the utility, browse the tags, select only the ones you want to monitor and away you go viewing the the status, current value and time stamp. And if the tag is writeable, you can also set a new value.

You can sort of do this in ignition via the tag browser, but there seems to be no way that I know of to arbitrarily group random tags together without creating a new folder in tag list and re-importing them from the PLC. In addition that would seem to require access to the project configuration itself.

OTOH the Point Control Panel is something that Field Engineers can easily master and allows them to pull up lists of tags for debugging purposes without going anywhere near the project configuration. (and you can also save your list of tags for re-use in a future session)

Screen Tag List

When viewing a screen, you can click on it and pull up a list of points that the screen is trying to access in the PLC, and the list will be colorized to show what points currently exist in the server, and what do not. While CIMPLICITY also visually marks bad tag references used in on screen objects, but being able to directly see a list of tags can be very helpful. I’ll note that this only properly works for directly named tags, and that like Ignition, CIMPLICITY can also dynamically create tag references on the fly. But regardless of how the tag reference is generated in the screen, the server itself (CIMPLICTY or Ignition) should know whether that tag exists in the PLC.

This functionality is typically used by HMI systems engineers when copying projects that are then edited to fit a new scenario (every project I work on is a custom, stand alone system that is sort of related to what was last done, but with changes :roll_eyes:, but that makes the job interesting!), but it is also used by Field Engineers for debugging purposes and reporting issues (what? Your Field Engineers don’t do you your QA for you? What are you paying them for then?!?!? :rofl:)

Some people do similar with script-driven datasets of tag paths and live values. I don’t see any reason why that couldn’t be combined with a tag browse tree. All the pieces are available in Vision.

Each window in Vision has an InteractionController object that can be interrogated to obtain all bindings in the window. (There are nested InteractionControllers for templates–same idea though.) So the ingredients are present in Vision to do this, too.

That’s an ugly approach compared to built in functionality. But if that is what it is, then there’s nothing I can do about it.

Hmm. Maybe I’ll just have to build it an put it on the Exchange.

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There is a “Tag Status Report Tool” pending merge any day now… might have some of the functionality you’re looking for in a “Screen Tag List”.

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The Point Control Panel functionality would be probably be more desired. In theory if an engineer building an HMI against a known PLC does decent enough QA then there should be no issues with the HMI once it is deployed.

OTOH a Field Engineer is trying to deduce issues related to hardware/operations that can change or fail anytime and without any warning. So it is an ongoing battle. Theoretically this can be done from within the PLC programming environment, but having a nice user friendly application is better :smiley:

This would be fairly easy to build in Perspective though. You could use the Tree component to show all of your tags, then select the ones to show current values etc. for which would add them into a Table which auto-updates with current values. You could also use a custom View to bind directly to these tags as well and display them as you wish, including showing a trend (if historised), alarm configuration, etc. etc. which is far more flexible than COMPLEXITY (name aptly rebranded)

Yeah, and it was Carl Sagan that said

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe

I just don’t want to go down that path unless I really really have to. And telling a client:

Yeah you can do all this great stuff with Ignition, but if you want the same basic functionality that you already have out of the box, well then you’re going to have spend all this time and effort creating it from scratch, and of course support it across all the sites across the world where you’ll deploy it.

When their core competency isn’t writing utility functions, isn’t going to go over well during a sales pitch :rofl:

Well to be fair, it is a basic functionality provided by Ignition already, far better than Cimplicity, but it’s provided by the Designer. Also, I’ve worked with a number of SCADA platforms that don’t even offer that! Citect and FactoryToilet are prime examples - you literally can’t see the values and qualities of tags unless you put them in the screen and run the screen :triumph: (I don’t know how these softwares still exist tbh).

Also, you’re not really building it from scratch. The tools are already there for you to use, you just need to put them together. It’s like buying Ikea furniture. Just don’t put it together with your partner.

As a sell to the customer, tell them that you can customise it to however they need, for example adding the ability to show a trend of the values and not just their values, as well as showing the PLC address of the tags, the associated alarms, the history configuration (e.g. how often it’s trending, what resolution, etc.), show a history of operator actions against the values (via the audit log), etc. etc. all of which is far easier in Ignition than it will ever be in Cimplicity

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Not a defense by any means, but this isn’t completely the case. Since when you decide to sign up for FT you actually sign up for like 30 bloatware applications as well, one of them is occasionally useful as an OPC client, which allows you to select HMI tags or Direct Reference tags. And see tag values and qualities.

Carry on.

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