How Can I (EE Student) Practice and Work on My Ignition Skills?

Hello there, I have somewhat of a weird question. I’m currently headed into my Junior year of school to become an EE. Ideally, I would like to go into controls and automation so I’ve been learning Ignition and got my core certification about a month ago. My issue is that I don’t have any internships or a job in the field yet so I don’t want to lose all of the valuable information with Ignition that I’ve learned so far. I do have an internship lined up for next summer, but that still being a year out, I want to make sure I keep my current skills and try to gain some additional skills with Ignition.

So my question for all of you is, in what ways can I get a better handle on Ignition so I’m well rounded in the application when I do start my internship and shortly after that get a job? I’d like to specifically learn more about tags and the vision designer as that is what my focus will be during the internship.

I appreciate the help in advance, thank you!
Matthew.

As a Controls Engineer for a big company that is migrating everything over to Ignition, my advice would be to learn Python as well as you can. The better you are at programming the better you will be with Ignition. Everything else with Ignition is simple enough to learn on the job. If you have access to a database and can learn to understand how to structure datasets that would be another useful skill.

Thanks for the response, unfortunately python isn’t part of my degree. Are there any good (preferably free) resources you would recommend to learn it?

practice making ignition apps using lots of python and SQL!

one idea I had that I was going to do but ended up not having time for was for the game No Man’s Sky. create a UI where the user can enter in the system name, the economy type, the conflict level of the system, the goods they trade and the goods that are most desired. Then take that information and put it into a database. Bonus points for utilizing multiple tables. As the user enters in more information about systems they visit, use scripting to calculate ideal trade routes for the player and display them.

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I think this course is as good as any place to get started with python: https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-python

Ignition uses python 2 currently fyi

www.udemy.com has a lot courses on it and your first few courses will only cost around $10

Python is one of the most popular coding languages in the world with a huge open-source following. Putting yourself down the rabbit hole of google searches is a good way to learn it.

www.Jupyter.org/try has a nice online environment to create and test your code without needing an IDE.

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Ignition actually uses Jython https://www.tutorialspoint.com/jython/index.htm. However, most of Python works as long as its Python 2 and has no dependencies on the C language. Ignition is written in Java, so any CPython is incompatible. Knowing the Java side is good for more advanced use of Ignition as Vision is based on Java Swing.

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With the caveat that IA development is focusing on Perspective now and hence this will not be applicable

Well, Vision isn’t going anywhere, and knowing how Java works is still useful for scripting (even in Perspective, since you’re still writing Jython that executes on the gateway).

Having webdev experience is also useful for Perspective, but you can’t write Javascript anywhere in Perspective, so it’s not quite the same.

For the OP: By far the best way to learn Ignition, in my experience, is to solve some actual problem (real or imagined). You’re never going to cover all the edge cases until you’re actually using your own application, and that’s when you really get into how things work.

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By core cert do you mean; 100% on IU or the first integrator exam?

If the former, you might talk nicely to IA to let you sit the exams even though strictly speaking you’re not an integrator yet…

If the latter…

If you have done core cert why not go for Gold? It is a harder test and involves SQL. This would also make you attractive long-term to getting a job at an integration company not just as an employee of a manufacturing company.

You could use the exams, in particular the development sections, as your imaginary user spec document. Use the spec given but try to improve on the functionality requested with your own ideas or ideas inspired by other familiar apps and websites. Of course, make sure you do meet the criteria if you are submitting it for the exam (but otherwise, you could do this as an aside)
For example from memory there was a criteria where you had to press a button that did something in Perspective. In some websites certain button actions such as form submit buttons, a notification will show to the user letting them know that their changes made were successful. Add this to your app, one that fades / slides in and disappears after a few seconds.

Spend time making your app look nice, while learning the environment along the way. I find that while you’re working on something, you’ll develop more ideas for what else you could include as functionality to improve operator workflow and useability. Incorporate these ideas as well, and hopefully you’ll get some ideas that are challenging. This forum is an invaluable resource for help in working out these more difficult tasks.

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The only hesitation I have with going for the gold cert. is that I don’t have much experience with Ignition other than IU and the core cert. I do like the sounds of getting the gold cert. at some point soon though for the edge over others. I’d like to get a few practice projects in + learn python like others have been saying first though.

What aspects would you say are most important to prepare for the Gold exam? All I really know about it is that it is scripting heavy. Are there any other aspects that make the gold exam that much tougher than the core cert?

I’ll check out Codecademy to start learning Python. As far as what I’ve heard it is a pretty simple language to learn and is very readable, so definitely one I want to add to my portfolio - Ignition aside.

Build yourself an application. What’s your passion, or a personal hobby? Try building a game. When I began testing Perspective (this example holds for Vision), I found that I was really focusing on one piece at a time and wanted to find a way to bring all of the pieces together, so I built a website which allows me to provide external viewing of my mineral collection. Since I was invested and interested in that project I put lots of effort into it and kept finding new functionality to include. Try to do the same and you’ll learn all about the ins-and-outs if Vision.

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You could build me a garden irrigation system to replace my other WiFi one which has some deficiencies :laughing:
This has been on my list to do for ages… it’s just a significant amount of work for what I want to accomplish!
Although Ignition certainly isn’t viable for this either due to its cost. Not for a pleb like me anyway!

This sounds weird, but I really enjoy warehousing and automation so I may try to create a fake warehousing overview/status project with the Generic Simulator. That would allow me to practice almost everything within Ignition such as templates, UDTs, security, reports, etc.

My dad would love this! Although I wouldn’t be able to actually integrate it because I’m just running the Ignition trial. :frowning: Plus I don’t have any PLCs or automation equipment to begin with :laughing:

Horner Automation makes some great little PLCs that are relatively cheap. We have dozens deployed and not one of them was over $700 for what we needed.

They are good people to work with too. If you call and ask, explain what you are up to, they might work with you and MAY hook you up.

Automation Direct Click PLCs are very cheap, might be good to use for learning. The BRX PLCs aren’t bad either.

For little stuff, I like the Productivity series from AutomationDirect.

I like the idea of getting myself a controller of some kind or another. That way I can get on board with everything ‘controls’. I’d like to get some hands on learning with ladder logic and this would be a good way to do it. It would also be nice to be able to work with a real time PLC in ignition rather than the simulators. Thanks for the info on Horner and Automation Direct. I’ll check both of them out and hopefully find something that works for me and my budget!

I bought one of the Micro810 PLCs from Rockwell for AUD$135 I think. So about USD$10 :laughing:
I can’t say i’ve used it much though… SCADA and PC coding languages are more my style, than ladder. The Pi is more flexible, has more IO, and I can run a web server on it