Ignition Community Conference 2017 Notes

This year’s ICC was great.  Here’s some notes about the conference.

MQTT

It was great to see the large presence MQTT had at the conference.

Travis Cox announced Inductive Automation’s Ignition Onboard program, which is a program for device manufactures to have Ignition pre-installed on their devices. David Greenfield from Automation World wrote a new article about this and MQTT with Ignition here: MQTT: A Tool for IT Avoidance?

I really like the architectures that are possible with MQTT and Ignition. Here’s a few things I like:

  1. MQTT eliminates polling. Unlike OPC, MQTT has a subscribe and publish system. You subscribe to the data you want and it is pushed when there is new data.
  2. MQTT decouples devices from applications. An MQTT server sits between devices and applications. MQTT makes it easier to make changes to parts of systems without affecting other parts.
  3. Devices and applications connecting to an MQTT server originate connections — so devices/applications originate outbound connection requests to the MQTT server. This gets around problems with being unable to connect because of firewall issues. Firewalls block incoming connection requests, but allow connection requests going out.

New Visualization Module – Perspective

The Developer Panel at ICC is always interesting and insightful. This year much of the discussion was about a new visualization module that Inductive Automation is working on. This new module, called Perspective, will add browser-based clients to Ignition. It is based on front-end web technologies such as HTML5, Javascript, React and CSS3. Yes, it is the solution to a better mobile solution with Ignition. Of course Perspective, being browser-based, is for desktops computers and other devices too.

This new module will not replace the Vision module which gives us our current Java Swing based clients. The Vision module will continue to be developed and supported by Inductive Automation.

Someone in the audience asked if there will be an automatic way to convert existing Vision module projects to Perspective. I am paraphrasing here but Carl said no, because the browser software environment is very different from Java Swing. Inductive Automation could write a Java Swing emulator for web browsers, but that would then restrict/model the Perspective module around Java Swing. Carl said it would be better to create a first class product that utilizes the full power and capability of web browsers rather than to restrict it or make it fit a model it really isn’t designed for. Carl said it is like trying to fit a square in a circle. I heartily agree with his answer and look forward to a product geared to utilizing the full potential of web browser technologies.

Carl and Colby also said that what we have learned in creating projects with the Vision module will be applicable to the Perspective module. So we will be able to carry over our knowledge, skill and familiarity to Perspective.

Carl and Colby mentioned that Perspective will not have the same polling functionality that exists in the Vision module, but will instead concentrate on pushing data to Perspective clients when data changes. This is very nice and indicates to me a trend (starting with MQTT) with Inductive Automation products to get rid of polling and instead push data when it changes. Great!

Someone in the audience asked when Perspective would be released. The developers were uncertain but agreed that it could be third quarter 2018.

MES – Sepa Soft

Sepa Soft’s delivered a workshop and a session about their OEE 2.0 module. It was great seeing and talking with them at the conference.

Virtual Ticket

I noticed that Inductive Automation is selling virtual tickets of the conference. They recorded the conference sessions so people who missed the conference can still see the sessions.

Machine Learning Session

I really liked the Machine Learning session that was given by Kevin McClusky and Kathy Applebaum. It was a good introduction to the subject, communicating what the subject was, what it is used for and showing an example of using it.

New 3D Charts Module

This year I showed off a brand new module from Perfect Abstractions at the conference. This new module is the 3D Charts Module. I met and talked with and showed many people the module at the conference. It was great. I also showed people the Database Module.

Here’s a link to a video Walker Reynolds took of me demoing the 3D Charts Module at the conference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2lFbCci1Z8

ICC Links & Mentions on the Web

Walker Reynolds wrote a series of informative blog posts about the conference. Check them out:

Gary Mintchell wrote an article about the conference: Ignition Community Conference 2017 a Big Hit With SCADA Geeks

 

 

 

 

 

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