Walter has been a developer on CygNet since 2006 and has led work on Applied Engineering and Canvas. Currently he manages the entire CygNet development team.
I was recently asked to give a presentation on Canvas to showcase its power as an HMI authoring platform to potential customers. I’ve given lots of presentations on Canvas over the years, usually highlighting new and exciting features with each release. Just talking about new 9.4 features took me over an hour at WESC, and three separate blog posts here; for this presentation, I had about 15 minutes. So instead of trying to talk too fast or cram too much in, I decided to take my audience on a journey.
It starts with a single point value, and a text tool.
We’ve been reviewing some of the new Canvas features in the 9.4 release. We’ve covered navigation and high performance HMI. Today I want to talk about alarms, how to know when they’ve happened, and how to take action.
As I mentioned in my previous article, there are just so many new features in Canvas for 9.4 that we couldn’t fit it all in one post. Last time we talked about some of the new navigation features; today I want to talk about high performance HMI.
“High Performance” has been a bit of a buzzword for HMI design for a while now, and can mean different things to different people. In general, the goal of a high performance HMI is to prioritize actionable information over raw data. We want to remove visual distractions, limit points of confusion, and empower end users to take informed action. These principles have been part of Canvas’ design from the beginning, and we’ve added even more features in 9.4.
We’re all very happy to have CygNet 9.4 out in the world. The CygNet development and product management team worked hard to ensure this release would provide significant value for our customers. Hopefully you can see the results of that work in the massive 9.4 release notes.
As the lead developer for Canvas, I want to spend some time highlighting some of the many new HMI features in 9.4. This release represents the biggest investment we’ve done in our new HMI since it came out a few years ago. Frankly there are just too many new features to meaningfully cover in a single post, so I am going to break it up and do a series on some of the awesome new things in Canvas.
Today I want to talk about navigation. Navigation is a big theme for Canvas 9.4. As people start building out new systems in Canvas, we wanted to expand options for end users to move around quickly and efficiently.
It is not always easy to know when something is wrong with your comms. There are many different points of failure and it can be hard to know where to start looking when an issue is suspected. Even when you have all the data in front of you, it can be a hassle to find the signal in the noise.
I demoed Canvas for the first time at the CygNet users’ conference back in 2016. Our user community had been asking us for an updated HMI for a long time, so the initial reception was encouraging, though with a few exceptions (“ugh, is that really the icon you guys are using?” and “it’s so bright, are you trying to blind me?” come to mind). We were excited to get this new HMI into your hands as soon as possible. Well, after two years, a few crises, a disaster or two, plus a handful of adjustments to schedule, requirements, and priority, not to mention my family’s first baby – my awesome son Malcolm – we are finally ready for Canvas’ first release.
Have you ever needed to send a message out to all your CygNet Studio users? Maybe you need to let everyone know about some planned (or unplanned…) server downtime. Or maybe you want to inform everyone about a change to a screen, field asset, or company policy. Or maybe you noticed free cake in the break room and you’re feeling generous. Sure, you could write an email, but does everyone in the control room have Outlook open? If only there was a way to send a message to all open Studio and Vision clients in your site…
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