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The Vision Client Launcher opens Vision Clients from any Ignition Gateway. The launcher browses all Gateways for Vision projects that are available on your local network and remote locations. Once your Vision projects are added to the Vision Client Launcher, they will be displayed under My Applications and organized by Gateway.

This page will show you how to setup the launcher so both designers and users can launch Vision clients easily. 

What Is an Application?

For the purposes of the Vision Client Launcher, an Application is a configuration in the launcher, which is associated with a Vision Project. A Vision Project is an Ignition project that contains at least one Vision resource, such as a Window or a Template. 

The Vision Client Launcher can only launch applications. Thus, if a new project is created via the Designer, the Launcher will not be able to launch the project, until an Application has been configured in the Launcher. 

In the image below, we see two applications. One titled University, and the other titled Dashboard. Each application is a separate tile in the Launcher and contains unique settings and configurations. 


On this page ...

IULocgo


Vision Client Launcher



Download and Install

Best Practice

It's good practice to download and install the Vision Client Launcher every time you install a new release of Ignition. The Vision Client Launcher is a separate application and is not part of an Ignition release, so it's important not to have an outdated Vision Client Launcher shortcut residing on your desktop. Each time you install a new version of Ignition, download and install the Vision Client Launcher, then let the install process create a new desktop shortcut for you automatically.


The Vision Client Launcher for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS are available on the Gateway Homepage. Use the following steps to do an install of the Vision Client Launcher.

 Click here to expand the example...
  1. From the Gateway Homepage, click on the Download Vision Client Launcher link. 





  2. Select the Download button for the platform you are running on: Windows, Mac, or Linux. In this example, we are using Windows. Note that this page contains a brief walk-through of the installation process. 




  3. Run the downloaded file, following the installation steps detailed on the Gateway (see the image above).

  4. The Vision Client Launcher shortcut icon will be placed on your desktop and looks like the following.



  5. The Ignition Vision Client Launcher will open, but you most likely won't have any Applications (Vision Client configurations). The next step is to add Applications. Click Add Vision Client or Add Application(s). Both buttons will take you to the same window to browse for local and remote Gateways.



  6. The Vision Client Launcher window will refresh and show your local Gateway. It will also check for other Gateways on your network. Select a Gateway and click the Add a Selected Gateway button.



  7. If there is an issue automatically detecting your Ignition Gateway, you can manually add your Gateway. Click on the Manually Add Gateway button in the upper right corner.

  8. Enter the Gateway URL or IP address (i.e., localhost:8088), and click Add Gateway



  9. Once your Gateway is added, the Vision Client Launcher will automatically find all projects on the Gateway. However, this list of Applications will only contain projects that contain one or more Vision resources (such as a Vision Window). Additionally, projects configured as Inheritable will not appear (since Inheritable projects don't run as stand-alone applications). Select the Applications you would like to add, and click Add Applications.

  10. Back on the My Applications screen, you will see all of the Applications that have been added to the launcher, sorted by Gateway. 



  11. The Vision Client Launcher is installed and opens the same way you open any program. Launch the client by clicking the Launch Windowed button, or you can click the Expand icon and select Launch + Create Shortcut. The project shortcut will be placed on your desktop so you don't have to run the Vision Client Launcher each time you want to launch a project.


Vision Client Launcher Settings

You have the option of customizing the Vision Client Launcher Settings. This can be accomplished with either the GUI or by modifying a file on the local file system. Regardless of method, both utilize the properties specified under the Vision Client Launcher Reference table

Launcher Settings

You can find the Settings  button in the upper right corner of the Vision Client Launcher.

You can choose to use the default settings or customize your client applications. When finished, click Save Changes.


Launcher Configuration Using JSON

In addition to using the GUI, these configurations changes can be made by modifying the vision-client-launcher.json file (created during installation of the launcher). The file is located at:

{user folder}\.ignition\clientlauncher-data\vision-client-launcher.json

The preferred method of configuration is with the GUI, but JSON modification is useful when attempting to load multiple application configurations simultaneously. 

A reference to the various properties that can be modified via JSON are listed in the Vision Client Launcher Reference table. However, the JSON file has a setting that isn't available from the GUI:

lock.configurationWhen set to true, the application list and individual application configurations cannot be modified. Effectively restricting the ability to add applications and edit the launcher's configurations.


Vision Client Launcher Settings Reference

Launcher Settings - Configurations for the Launcher
Property SettingDescriptionJSON Name
Default ApplicationWhen set, the Launcher will attempt to automatically launch the specified Application when running. If left blank/null, an Application will not automatically start
default.application
Logging LevelLevel of logging that will be used for the launcher: INFO, TRACE, DEBUG, WARN, and ERROR.
logger.level
Multicast AddressThe address that will be used to listen for multicast broadcasts from Gateways.
multicast.address
Multicast PortsThe port that will be used to listen for multicast broadcasts from Gateways.
multicast.receive.port
Auto Exit on LaunchAutomatically close the launcher window when a client is started.
autoexit
Application Defaults - Default Configurations for New Applications
Property SettingDescriptionJSON Name
TimeoutMaximum number of seconds allowed for any Gateway communication. Any communication that exceeds this amount will cause the client launcher to abort the communication and try again if configured.
timeout
Retries

The number of times a Client will to attempt to contact a gateway again if an error occurred during communication. Available values are:

  • -1 : Retry indefinitely, or until the launcher is manually closed.
  • 0 : Zero retries, or abort after the first failure.
  • 1 (or more): Determines the number of retries: i.e., a value of "5" means five retries.
retries
Initial HeapAmount of memory to be allocated at startup.
init.heap
Max HeapMaximum amount of memory allocation for heap size.
max.heap
JVMArguments to append to client startup. These should start with a '-D'  and be separated by semi-colons.
jvm.arguments
Client Tag OverridesClient Tags and their values that are set when the client launches.
client.tag.overrrides


Application Settings

For each project application, you can update the default settings by clicking the More  icon (three vertical dots) next to the project name, and select Manage to open the Manage Project Settings window. The Export command exports the configuration settings to a .json file. The Delete command deletes the project application from the launcher. 

You can choose to use the default settings or customize your client applications. When finished, click Save Changes.

Application Property Reference

Setting NameDescriptionJSON Name

Application Name

The descriptive name of the application. This is independent of the project name that corresponds to a project on the gateway. Instead, this is the name of the application as it is defined in the Launcher.
application
ProjectThe Vision project that exists on the gateway that this application will load.
project
DescriptionAn optional brief note about the application. The description will appear in the Launcher. If left blank, a description will not appear.
description
Window Mode

Controls the client mode. Available options are:

  • window : Launches the client in Windowed Mode
  • fullscreen : Launches the client in Fullscreen Mode
window.mode

Screen Index

The screen index indicates which monitor to use.

screen
Image PathThis will allow the icon of the application to be set within the designer and it will be downloaded and displayed as the icon for the application as well as the shortcuts. If no path is set the default icon is used. If this is set to a different icon path, that icon will be used.
image.path
Fallback ApplicationThe name of the application to use if the number of retries has been exceeded. The fallback is only utilized if the Retries setting is greater than 0.
fallback.application

Timeout

The maximum number of seconds to allow for any gateway communication. Any communication that exceeds this amount will cause the Vision client launcher to abort the communication and try again if configured.

timeout
Retries

How many times to attempt to contact a gateway again if an error occurred during communication. Available values are:

  • -1 : Retry indefinitely, or until the launcher is manually closed.
  • 0 : Zero retries, or abort after the first failure.
  • 1 (or more): Determines the number of retries: i.e., a value of "5" means five retries. If the number of retries is exceeded, then the launcher will attempt to launch the Fallback Application.

If the number of retries is exceeded, then the Launcher will attempt to launch the Fallback Application

retries
Init HeapThe initial heap size (memory) for the client.
init.heap
Max HeapThe maximum heap size (memory) for the client
max.heap
Client Tag Overrides

Allows client tags to be overridden on the Vision Client. These are set using the table on the application configuration screen by adding rows with the names of the tags and the corresponding values.

When applying the overrides from command line, the tags must first be defined as launch parameters, then a value can be set on the parameters, as seen below in the Setting Client Tags section below.

client.tag.overrides


Deploying Launchers

In some cases, it may be desirable to deploy a pre-configured Launcher to remote clients. Doing so bypasses the installation process on the remote machine. The process to do so is outlined below. The steps in this example are operating system dependent, as the launchers were designed to run on a single operating system. 

There are three key pieces to a configured launcher:

  • The launcher itself.
  • The JRE for the launcher. The "jre" directory should be in the same directory as the launcher. 
  • The configuration JSON file. The launcher always expects this file to be located at a certain directory, otherwise the launcher will create a new, blank, file. 

The steps below demonstrate how to configure a launcher, and then migrate each piece to a new file system into an appropriate location. 

Pre-Configure a Launcher

  1. Install a Vision Client Launcher somewhere on network. Take note of the Installation directory you use, as a later step will involve finding this directory. 
  2. Configure each application. Be mindful of the Gateway Address setting: the deployed launcher will need to be able find the gateway based on the address you enter.

At this point, we should have a single launcher configured with one or more applications. Next we can zip up the the launcher and its configuration files.

Create a ZIP

In these steps, we will create a single ZIP, containing all of the required files. 

  1. Navigate to the Launcher's installation directory. It should look similar to the image below:



  2. Copy all of the files shown in Step 1, and paste them into the Client Launcher Data directory. This is the same directory that the configuration JSON file is located. The path differs by Operating System, but should generally look like the following:

    C:\Users\userName\.ignition\clientlauncher-data\
    Linux
    /Home/User/.ignition/clientlauncher-data/

    After pasting, the directory should look something like the following:



    We now have a single folder containing the launcher, a JRE, and the application configurations. 

  3. Navigate up a directory to the ".ignition" folder. You will see the folder we were just in: "clientlauncher-data"



  4. In this directory (the .ignition directory), create a new folder called .ignition. Note the leading period. In some operating systems you may have to attempt to rename with a trailing period as well:

    .ignition.




  5. Copy the clientlauncher-data folder into the new .ignition folder. Note that you want to copy, not move. Moving would make prior application configurations on the local system unavailable.
  6. Zip up the newer .ignition directory.



    We now have a ZIP we can deploy to a new system. 

Deploying the Launcher

  1. Take the ZIP, and move it to another computer. 
  2. Unzip the file at the user directory. The location of the directory is based on the local operating system.

    Windows
    C:\Users\userName
    Linux
    /Home/User/
  3. The files should be unzipped. Navigate to the launcher at:

    {user folder}/.ignition/clientlauncher-data/visionclientlauncher
  4. Run the Launcher. It should contain all of the configured applications. 

  5. At this point, consider creating a shortcut to the launcher, and placing the shortcut at a more accessible location. Alternatively, the launcher can be accessed via command line/terminal, so you could automate client launchers in a number of ways.


Redundancy

The client launcher can take advantage of a redundant Gateway setup. Whenever a connection is established with a master Gateway, the backup Gateway IP address is automatically stored in the client launcher configuration file. If the master Gateway cannot be contacted the next time the client launcher is run, an attempt is made to contact the backup Gateway. If the backup cannot be contacted, the client launcher switches between contacting the primary Gateway and the backup Gateway until one responds or the user closes the launcher.

 

Command Line/Terminal

Clients can be launched via command/terminal. When called in this way, many of the application properties may be overridden for the one call. The overrides use the same property names as noted in the Application Property Reference, under the "JSON name" column.

Windows: 
"C:\ClientLauncher\clientlauncher.exe" application=myproject window.mode=window
 
Linux: 
./clientlauncher.sh application=myterminal window.mode=fullscreen screen=0 

Applications may contain spaces in their name. However, when launching from command/terminal, spaces should be escaped with %20. For example, if our application was named my project, then we could all it with the following:

"C:\ClientLauncher\clientlauncher.exe" application=my%20project

Setting Client Tags

Client Tag values in Ignition clients can be set by the client launcher upon startup. There are two ways you can do this.

The examples below assume that you have two client Tags in the root folder of your project, called "LaunchTag" and "LaunchTag2". Note that the client tags shouldn't have spaces in their names.

Using the launch.xml

The first way is to add the Tag info to the other-args section in launch.xml, as shown below. These settings would take effect for all clients started from the client launcher.

<other-args>
<arg>-Djavaws.launchparams=LaunchTag;LaunchTag2</arg>
<arg>-Djavaws.launchparam.LaunchTag=AAA</arg>
<arg>-Djavaws.launchparam.LaunchTag2=ZZZ</arg>
</other-args>

Using the Command Line to Launch

The second way is run the client launcher from a command line or a desktop shortcut and add these lines to the end of the command:

"C:\ClientLauncher\clientlauncher.exe" application=myproject -Djavaws.launchparams="LaunchTag;LaunchTag2" -Djavaws.launchparam.LaunchTag="AAA"-Djavaws.launchparam.LaunchTag2="ZZZ"

Starting the client launcher from a command line in this case would look like the example below (Linux example shown)

./clientlauncher.sh application=myproject -Djavaws.launchparams="LaunchTag;LaunchTag2" -Djavaws.launchparam.LaunchTag="AAA" -Djavaws.launchparam.LaunchTag2="ZZZ"


Launchers and SSL

When SSL is enabled on a Gateway, the Vision Client Launcher can take advantage of the enhanced security features associated with SSL. 

Certificates Signed by a CA

When the Gateway's SSL certificates are signed by a recognized Certificate Authority, no additional configuration is required on the launcher.

Self-Signed Certificates

When using a self-signed SSL certificate, the certificates for the gateway must be locally accessible to the client launcher in the following directory:

{user folder}\.ignition\clientlauncher-data\certificates

When a certificate is placed in the directory above, the launcher will attempt to automatically add the certificate(s) to the local keystore upon application launch.

 

This feature is new in Ignition version 8.0.3
Click here to check out the other new features

Native Launchers - Ciphers

Added additional support for stronger ciphers on Native Launchers (Vision Client Launcher and Designer Launcher).


  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_GCM_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_256_CBC_SHA384
  • TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_CBC_SHA256


Troubleshooting

If the Vision Client Launcher fails to launch a client for some reason, the log file can be found at:

{user folder}\.ignition\clientlauncher-data\visionclientlauncher.log

This log contains any errors that occurred.



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