Nick Mudge Ignition Software Consulting & Development

I was curious if it was possible to implement the ability to drag and drop Ignition templates onto a template canvas. So I implemented it. I found that it is possible and it works. I am releasing the Template Canvas Drag and Drop project so you can have it, use it, and modify it. Download here: TemplateCanvasDragAndDrop.proj

This project shows a way for users to dynamically create Ignition screens in the runtime client by choosing templates that were created in the Ignition designer and dragging and dropping them onto a template canvas component. Additional functionality such as saving the states of screens to a database and opening them could be developed.

The Template Canvas Drag and Drop project has two windows. One window shows a list of Ignition templates that users can choose from to make a screen. Ignition automatically stores a thumbnail image of every Ignition template that is created. So the first window simply grabs the thumbnail images from the project and displays them to the user.

Users can click on a thumbnail template image and drag it onto the other window. When they drop the template the template appears in the other window where it was dropped. Then the user can select the template and move it around on the screen. I also implemented a right-click popup menu so users can right click on a template and delete it.

At the top is an "Edit" button. When this button is selected the project is in edit mode and existing templates can be clicked on and dragged around. When the button is unselected templates can be interacted with in the normal way.

The project is a good start but there is much more that can be implemented from this point. It shows that these things are possible. The ability to resize templates with the mouse can be implemented. The ability to save user-created windows, close them and open them can be implemented, and much more.

Here is a video that shows the project:

While dragging and dropping templates on a template canvas does work I admit that it is not ideal. There is one main annoyance: a change to the template canvas causes all templates to be reloaded. So if you just want to change the position of one template or add/delete one template, then all the templates get reloaded and there is a flash of a "Loading" message. Implementing configuration functionality on templates might be difficult because templates loose their state when the template canvas changes. If you can live with these problems then drag and drop with a template canvas can work.

A better solution would be to have a scripting function that can dynamically create template instances and add them to containers. This is something I've been thinking of working on. I am curious how many people would want this. I would add it to the Power Scripting Module.


Andrea Minucelli
14 November 2016

Is very usefull for the OEM builders, When the projects need to be very configurable in runtime!!!

Great Works
Nick Mudge
18 November 2016

There was a problem with the project working in Ignition 7.9 or higher. I fixed this problem so now it works.
Ross Dye
12 January 2017

Yes, I would be interested in this
A GREAT extension would be to allow connections between templates to create a connected graph

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