• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Java Technology Vs HMI  RSS feed

 
Ender Valencia
Greenhorn
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey everyone,

I have a question that is both technical and political(A dangerous Mix).

I work for a company that produces equipment and supplies desktop software to controls that equipment over the network. We currently use an HMI package that I despise called Indusoft which cna be demoed here: Indusoft Demo.

This package includes alarming, communications drivers and other such built ins. It also is coded in a subset of VBScript, relies on Active X Controls, Only works on Windows. It is not intended for redistribution, but the license allows it.

We are running into some serious problems with the system. I have hated it from day one, but everyone else likes it. Now we are finding we can;t do the things we want and are hitting walls. Talk of change is starting.


This system was chosen about 3 years ago well before I started. Over the past 3 years the company has been trying to implement this system and has not yet completed it fully. We have also spent several hundred thousand dollars, dropped many features and have a sales price twice what the marketing target was(due to Indusoft license fees).

I am proposing a new Java based solution. I am primarily thinking of using J2SE and Applets for remote access.

The major obstacle though is that I am the only programmer who knows Java. Everyone else has no formal training and can;t do much beyond scripting.

So how do I approach this?
 
Joe Ess
Bartender
Posts: 9439
12
Linux Mac OS X Windows
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
One would presume the reason Indusoft is able to charge license fees is that they provide non-trivial functionality. One of the big problems with what you propose is that you don't really know the capabilities of Java, how it would interface with your equipment, how to get the rest of your crew up to speed, how many problems you'd run into with that implementation and how much it would cost to fix. That's a lot of unknowns.
A first step would be to see if your equipment has Java API's available. Are there user groups for your specialty? Other people may have already tackled these problems and solved them (or even given up).
If you can find Java API's or if your equipment has open protocols, you could try building a small prototype with some simple functionality and see how it goes.
Since you only know "scripting" (are you sure you aren't talking about JavaScript, very different thing, ya know), that should keep you busy. Once that proof-of-concept is working, you may have some leverage to expand the project.
Don't underestimate the value of having a vendor to blame. If something doesn't work with your Java software, you are the one they will come for.
 
Ender Valencia
Greenhorn
Posts: 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sorry I was unclear before.

I do know J2SE Fairly well and I have my B.S. in Software Engineering, so I am formally trained. Java is the language I know best.

I should also point out that all of our equipment uses an open protocol and I have already written a Java driver for our this protocol. I also built a proof of concept application that logs data from one type of equipment to PostgreSQL. In addition to this I have developed a reporting library using the Open Office API to generate the reports we need.

Currently I have an application that spawns a thread for each machine entered by the user and logs data from it to postgres until stopped.

The user can then run a very crude Open Office report in xls, ods, html or csv format.

So I do have proof that I can be done and I have a few of the components built. Granted they would still need reworked a bit from my proof of concept, but I can show that it can be done.

The main issue is our other engineers. As I said, they really don't know anything about Java or Object Oriented programming. They only know VBScript, ladder logic and perhaps some embedded C. I am the only one who knows or understands Java.

It is nice to have a Vendor to blame, but currently I still take the blame anyways. The package makes programming anything non trivial very hard. For example, in Indusoft every variable is basically global, also arrays can only be one dimensional. In addition it is poorly threaded and I constantly run into sequencing problems. The closest thing to a class in the Java sense is what Indusoft calls a class. An Indusoft class is basically liek a struct except it can only contain primitives(string,int,real,bool) and cannot contain any arrays.

I hope that clarifies things a bit. Thanks for the reply though!
 
Consider Paul's rocket mass heater.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!