General Discussions
Ideas for VTScada
Poll: Are you satisfied with the array of tools available for graphics editing / manipulation?
Yes
Could use some work
No

I use graphic editors quite a bit and some features that come in extremely handy that are absent VT Scada would make the work flow more seamless and less tedious in many cases especially when working with multilayer graphics.

• The first I would like to suggest is the ability to lock layers while editing pages or widgets so that they cannot be moved or changed while they are locked. To change a property or move the object it would have to be first unlocked then adjusted after it has previously been locked.

I will add more to this thread but I would like to open it to those who have ideas too.

I use graphic editors quite a bit and some features that come in extremely handy that are absent VT Scada would make the work flow more seamless and less tedious in many cases especially when working with multilayer graphics. • The first I would like to suggest is the ability to lock layers while editing pages or widgets so that they cannot be moved or changed while they are locked. To change a property or move the object it would have to be first unlocked then adjusted after it has previously been locked. I will add more to this thread but I would like to open it to those who have ideas too.

Definitely one of the weakest part of VTScada vs. other products.

There are 1000 ways it could be quickly made better with basic features, but even with those I think Trihedral would be best to scrap it and basically build what Ignition Perspective is. Everything is moving towards responsive design and dashboards and I don't see any way to turn anything like Idea Studio into that.

  • The not having a layer lock has cost us hundreds of hours of work like you have said. Sometimes you want to make a backdrop that is sort of template like, but it's a bad idea because if you even so much as touch the back end you will move it by an unknown amount of pixels which will then make all the screens out of alignment with each other.

  • Not having a docked toolbar (the fact that there really is only 1 window) has caused a lot of trouble, and we haven't really found a proper way around that.

  • By far the thing that has cost us the most time is not having any kind of expression / script editor. Why the expression editor doesn't even have a monospaced font or basic, basic highlighting of strings and numbers or known functions seems insane to me.

  • In context and context has also cost us hundreds of hours of work. The expressions you can write in context are not the same out of context and the expression editor will change things like [TAG] to \Root\Tag, even though you know [TAG] doesn't exist for all things drawn by that widget, but every reference will need to be updated when you want to modify that expression next. For expressions with ~100 references (highly dynamic graphics) this can be insanely annoying.

  • The rendering engine seems to leave a lot to be desired. If you draw a simple rectangle with a border in Ignition, it looks great and crisp. If you do the same in VTScada, it looks blurry, not crisp, and any tiny change in a resolution will make it look funky and out of alignment. Making pixel-perfect graphics is exceptionally difficult.

But then there's some crazy good stuff like the HDV widget, the maps page. I just want something to build pixel-perfect flat design graphics in a responsive dashboard...

Definitely one of the weakest part of VTScada vs. other products. There are 1000 ways it could be quickly made better with basic features, but even with those I think Trihedral would be best to scrap it and basically build what Ignition Perspective is. Everything is moving towards responsive design and dashboards and I don't see any way to turn anything like Idea Studio into that. - The not having a layer lock has cost us hundreds of hours of work like you have said. Sometimes you want to make a backdrop that is sort of template like, but it's a bad idea because if you even so much as touch the back end you will move it by an unknown amount of pixels which will then make all the screens out of alignment with each other. - Not having a docked toolbar (the fact that there really is only 1 window) has caused a lot of trouble, and we haven't really found a proper way around that. - By far the thing that has cost us the most time is not having any kind of expression / script editor. Why the expression editor doesn't even have a monospaced font or basic, basic highlighting of strings and numbers or known functions seems insane to me. - In context and context has also cost us hundreds of hours of work. The expressions you can write in context are not the same out of context and the expression editor will change things like [TAG] to \Root\Tag, even though you know [TAG] doesn't exist for all things drawn by that widget, but _every_ reference will need to be updated when you want to modify that expression next. For expressions with ~100 references (highly dynamic graphics) this can be insanely annoying. - The rendering engine seems to leave a lot to be desired. If you draw a simple rectangle with a border in Ignition, it looks great and crisp. If you do the same in VTScada, it looks blurry, not crisp, and any tiny change in a resolution will make it look funky and out of alignment. Making pixel-perfect graphics is exceptionally difficult. But then there's some crazy good stuff like the HDV widget, the maps page. I just want something to build pixel-perfect flat design graphics in a responsive dashboard...
edited Apr 1 at 9:13 pm

Thanks for the feedback on this. I wanted to address these comments as, while I agree with you on some of these, they also typically have reasonable workarounds already built into the product.

  1. Locked Layers: I totally agree that this would be excellent. That said, just hold down CRTL before clicking the screen to drag over an area to select objects and you won't select the object you initially click on. Like AutoCAD, you can choose to drag left or right depending on whether you want your selection to be based on being enclosed in the bounds or simply touching the bounds. I was actually planning to make a short explainer video on this but simply haven't had the capacity to get it done.

  2. I have three monitors (one is 4K) so the docked toolbar really isn't something I notice a need for but I will note this comment in the feature request I write regarding this thread.

  3. Regarding the scripting. I and everyone at VTScada use Syntax highlighting. We are working to make syntax highlighting available to all for a number of editors. The Script itself is definitely a bit tricky to get started with as it is an event-driven language. It is extraordinarily powerful if you can find the information on how to really push it. The expression editor window is for writing simple single-line expressions in a simplified syntax and includes quite a bit of automated error handling. If you learn to write your own modules, script tags, or create your own scripts for custom tag types, things really get pretty powerful quite quickly. VTScada has been used by Academics to build a digital twin of the human sympathetic nervous system.

  4. Regarding rendering, slight blurring typically occurs due to pixel rounding if the dashboard is slightly scaled from the original. While most items do have high-quality anti-aliasing to clean this up, I admit that not everything is able to scale the pixels perfectly.

As a final note, VTScada's development team is a sizable group from Canada, the US, and the UK that are constantly improving the product and the user experience. While it does have some areas to be worked on, I won't hesitate to say that, overall, it spanks the competition.

Thanks for the feedback on this. I wanted to address these comments as, while I agree with you on some of these, they also typically have reasonable workarounds already built into the product. 1. Locked Layers: I totally agree that this would be excellent. That said, just hold down CRTL before clicking the screen to drag over an area to select objects and you won't select the object you initially click on. Like AutoCAD, you can choose to drag left or right depending on whether you want your selection to be based on being enclosed in the bounds or simply touching the bounds. I was actually planning to make a short explainer video on this but simply haven't had the capacity to get it done. 2. I have three monitors (one is 4K) so the docked toolbar really isn't something I notice a need for but I will note this comment in the feature request I write regarding this thread. 3. Regarding the scripting. I and everyone at VTScada use Syntax highlighting. We are working to make syntax highlighting available to all for a number of editors. The Script itself is definitely a bit tricky to get started with as it is an event-driven language. It is extraordinarily powerful if you can find the information on how to really push it. The expression editor window is for writing simple single-line expressions in a simplified syntax and includes quite a bit of automated error handling. If you learn to write your own modules, script tags, or create your own scripts for custom tag types, things really get pretty powerful quite quickly. VTScada has been used by Academics to build a digital twin of the human sympathetic nervous system. 4. Regarding rendering, slight blurring typically occurs due to pixel rounding if the dashboard is slightly scaled from the original. While most items do have high-quality anti-aliasing to clean this up, I admit that not everything is able to scale the pixels perfectly. As a final note, VTScada's development team is a sizable group from Canada, the US, and the UK that are constantly improving the product and the user experience. While it does have some areas to be worked on, I won't hesitate to say that, overall, it spanks the competition.

Trihedral Engineering Ltd.

edited Apr 2 at 2:19 am
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