Nick Mudge Ignition Software Consulting & Development

The PA Power Scripting Module has been updated to work with Ignition 7.8. Download here

The PA Office Document Module has been updated to work with Ignition 7.8. Download here

Inductive Automation released a new pricing web application. You can choose various packages, Ignition modules and functionality and get prices instantly. Check it out. Zack Scriven writes details about it on his blog.

In a recent forum post Carl Gould describes Ignition price changes:

Yes, the pricing changed. I wouldn't expect this every year, but this year we did make quite a few adjustments, as you all noticed. We felt that the improvements to the Reporting module warranted an increase in the price. However, I would draw your attention to the fact that we dropped the price of the Vision module by more than the increase to the Reporting module. We also split the Tag Historian and SQL Bridge products in order to drop the entry point for a number of types of packages, allowing us to offer the new Foundation package at a sub $10k price point, a package with no limitations whatsoever. We also dropped the price of alarm notification module. We've decided to start charging for drivers in order to help fund development of more protocols, so make sure your new quotes don't include drivers you aren't going to be using. I hope this demonstrates that prices were adjusted, up *and* down, all around, this wasn't a general price increase.

Also, I think you may have missed one of the major new changes: the price of redundancy dropped significantly. Redundant gateways are now priced at 50% of the primary gateway! This means that a Redundant Pro is *less* than Mission Critical Works was.

Here's a list of new features and changes in Ignition 7.8:

New Reporting Module

The new reporting module is just as flexible and powerful as the old reporting module but has a significantly improved user interface for designing reports.

The new reporting module is using the same underlying reporting engine as before, so leaning the new reporting module will be easy for anyone already familiar with the old reporting module. But designing reports will be much easier because of the interface improvements.

The old reporting module only worked with the Vision module. It was not possible to have reports without the Vision module installed. The new reporting module is different - it can exist and work standalone, without the Vision module. But the reports created with the new reporting module can still be used in Vision clients.

The new reporting module is also backward compatible with the old reporting module. So if you upgrade the reporting module to the new one existing reports will still work. Existing reports will be the same after upgrading to Ignition 7.8.

It is possible to convert old reports to the new reporting style by following the instructions given by Kathy in this forum post:

Scheduling reports to be generated and sent to people was a real problem for the old reporting module. This is solved in the new reporting module with built-in functionality to schedule the generation and sending of reports.

It appears that Inductive Automation tried to keep the flexibility and power of the old reporting system and at the same time fix its failings -- and it looks like they succeeded brilliantly.

I am really excited about the new reporting module in Ignition. It's a whole new ball game for creating reports in Ignition.

Check out the new reporting videos on Inductive University to learn more.

New Ignition User Manual

Ignition 7.8 has a new Ignition user manual. The online version allows users to add to the documentation by submitting comments. Check out the new Ignition user manual.

Gateway Network

The Gateway Network, new in Ignition 7.8, provides a way for Ignition Gateways to communicate between each other. The Gateway Network is provided by the Ignition platform, not by any Ignition module. The Gateway Network is exposed to Ignition module developers so it is possible to develop new features that use it. Inductive Automation plans to develop new features that use it. The new Enterprise Administration Module module uses the Gateway Network. See Gateway Network documentation to learn more.

Enterprise Administration Module (EAM)

The EAM module allows a user to monitor and control any number of Ignition Gateways from a central Ignition Gateway. See the documentation for more information.

Selectively Publish Resources

Ignition allows developers to makes changes to projects and save those changes without publishing those changes to Ignition clients that users are actually using. This allows developers to make changes and test those changes in staging clients before publishing those changes to their users. Ignition 7.8 adds the ability to select which resources to publish. Before Ignition 7.8 there was no choice -- everything would be published or nothing.

Now developers can make changes to a lot of resources like windows, Python modules, templates and reports, save those changes and selectively publish any of the resources when they are ready.

Publishing specific resources is done by clicking on the File -> Publish Selected... menu item in the Ignition designer. A popup window allows you to select which resources to publish.

New Interactive Script Console

The Script Playground in the Ignition designer has been replaced with a new interactive Python console. Here's what it looks like:

SQL Bridge Changes

The Tag Historian functionality in the SQL Bridge module has been taken out and put into its own module, the Tag Historian module. In addition the Tag History Splitter module has been integrated into the Tag Historian module.

The SQL Bridge module is now just transaction group functionality.

Copy & Paste Bindings

This is done by binding something to a property. Then right click on the property in the Property Editor and select "Copy Binding". Then right click on a different property (on the same or different component) and select "Paste Binding".

Copy Custom Properties

You can now copy custom properties on one component and paste them into another component. This is done by opening the Custom Properties editor on one component, selecting the custom properties that you want to copy, pressing Control-C, exit the Custom Properties editor, then open the Custom Properties editor for a different component and press Control-V. This copy and paste operation will also copy and paste the values of the custom properties.

New Ignition Module SDK

Inductive Automation released a new Ignition Module SDK that uses Maven, a software project management tool. The Ignition Module SDK is no longer downloaded from the Inductive Automation website. Instead Maven with the new Ignition Maven Plugin is used to get module development started. See the new Ignition Module SDK documentation for more information.

New OPC-UA Drivers (DNP3, Omron)

Inductive Automation released a new OPC-UA driver for the DNP3 protocol. See more.

A new driver to communicate with the Omron NJ series of controllers will be released soon.

Improved runScript Expression Function

The runScript function has a couple new features. When runScript executes a Python function it can now take additional arguments that are passed into the Python function. In addition, runScript can now reference custom methods on components by using "self" to refer to the component runScript is used with. Here is an example expression:


In the example above "self.returnText" refers to the returnText custom method on the component that the expression is used on. The 0 is the polling rate. The specific value 0 turns polling off. The "neat" argument is passed as an argument to the "returnText" method.

The ability to pass arguments to Python functions in this way is much easier than alternative ways and executes a lot quicker.

The ability to use "self" to reference a component makes it possible to directly call custom methods on components with runScript. This was not possible before.

Improved Custom Functions

Python functions have built-in functionality for handling default argument values, variable arguments and keyword arguments. Custom methods on components now support these. Here's examples of different argument functionality:

#default argument value
def returnText(text="No Text"):
   return text
#Passing in an argument is optional since a default value exists
print returnText()

#variable arguments
#the args variable will contain a list of all arguments passed into the function
def returnText(*args):
   print args
returnText("first arg","second arg","third arg")

#keyword arguments
def returnText(**kwargs):
   print kwargs
#kwargs becomes a dictionary with the items: {'f':'first','s':'second'}

Power Table Improvements

The Power Table component has a new property called "View Dataset" which contains the data in the table as it appears on the screen, after any column hiding/sorting/re-ordering and filtering.

It is now possible to select rows on a power table, press Control-C (copy) and then paste the rows as text into a text editor or other places.

New Scripting Functions for User Schedules

New scripting functions have been added for getting/adding/editing/removing schedules and holidays. See the new scripting functions in the documentation.

New Scripting Functions for Rosters

New scripting functions have been added for getting and creating rosters. Rosters are used to send alarm notifications to users. The two new scripting functions are system.alarm.createRoster and system.alarm.getRosters.

Roles for Creating Projects

Ignition 7.8 added functionality to specify what roles users must have in order to create new projects. The roles are specified in the "Gateway Settings" webpage in the Ignition configuration web application.

Popup Windows Can Overlap Docked Windows

A new option allows popup windows to overlap docked windows. See the image on the right to see this in action.

The new option exists in the project properties of a project in the designer, specifically: Project Properties -> Client -> User Interface. It is a checkbox called, "Prevent Popup/Docking Overlap".

New DataSet and Array Tags

Tags in Ignition can now hold arrays and DataSets. Query tags can now hold multipe rows of results by storing them in a DataSet.

BestFit Layout Mode for Template Repeater

The new "Best Fit" layout mode for the template repeater fits the template instances within the repeater without scrolling and maintains aspect ratios.

Ignition Titles

Web browser tab titles and Ignition designer titles show the system/server name of the Ignition installation being used. This helps differentiate different Ignition installations when using more than one at the same time.