Nick Mudge Ignition Software Consulting & Development

One of the great things about Ignition is its ability to web-deploy applications created with it. Notice that Ignition applications are not "web-based", they are "web-deployed". Web-deployed means an application is downloaded from a web server and started.

Web-based applications are web-deployed too — web-based applications and Ignition applications have that in common. Web-based applications are webpages downloaded from a web server and ran in a web browser. Ignition applications are downloaded from Ignition's web server and ran in a Java Virtual Machine. (In other words an Ignition application is downloaded and automatically started as a Java desktop application.)

Ignition does have a built-in web-based application for configuring many things in Ignition. But the applications/projects created with Ignition are typically Java desktop applications that are web-deployed.

Ignition has two separate web-deploying technologies. Both of them can be used to deploy Ignition applications.

In the beginning Ignition only used Java Web Start, which is a web-deploying technology controlled and owned by Oracle. Here is a good description of Java Web Start from www.java.com:

The Java Web Start software allows you to download and run Java applications from the web. The Java Web Start software:
  • Provides an easy, one-click activation of applications
  • Guarantees that you are always running the latest version of the application
  • Eliminates complicated installation or upgrade procedures

The problem with Java Web Start is that it is controlled by Oracle. In the past changes were made to Java Web Start that broke functionality in Ignition and in once case temporarily broke the ability to start projects on Linux.

Inductive Automation decided to implement their own web-deploying technology and did so. With this technology under their control they could make it stable, keep it from breaking Ignition, and add new functionality to it. This technology is called Native Client Launchers. It is called Native Client Launchers because separate client launcher executable programs exist for OS X, Windows and Linux.

One of the advantages of the client native launchers is that they can be used to create stable desktop shortcuts to projects or the Ignition designer. Shortcuts created with Java Web Start sometimes stop working.

Using a native client launcher is easy. Download the native client launcher executable for your operating system and then run it. The native client launcher will scan your network for Ignition servers. It will provide you with a list of Ignition servers it found. Once you choose an Ignition server you are provided with a list of projects that exist in that Ignition server. From there you can launch projects or the designer, and create shortcuts to projects and the Ignition designer.

The native client launchers are part of your Ignition server and are downloaded from your Ignition server. You can find and download them from the Ignition homepage. Here is a screenshot that shows where the native client launchers can be downloaded.

Ignition Native Client Launchers

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