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Version: 8.1

Perspective and Vision - Which Visualization System is Best for Me?

Ignition's Perspective Module and the Vision Module each enable you to rapidly develop industrial applications for your site. Perspective is innovative, supporting mobile-first projects and applications optimized for web browsers. Vision is a time-tested solution for designing traditional plant-floor displays, HMIs, and desktop screens. With the addition of Perspective Workstation in release 8.1, you can now run Sessions as standalone, kiosk type displays in Perspective. In addition as of 8.1, Vision and Perspective both support security with Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) or federated identities for the application you're building.

When you start a new project, there are many things to consider, such as who the users will be, how much data you need, what kind of time and resources you have to work with, visualization needs, and so forth. Deciding whether to use Perspective or Vision (or both) really comes down to which opions best fit your project at the visualization level.

When to Use Perspective​

If you need to build mobile-responsive applications, then Perspective is the recommended way to go. If your application needs to run on a mobile OS, namely iOS or Android, then choose Perspective. Phones, tablets, and other mobile devices can easily run Perspective Session. New in Ignition 8.1, Perspective Workstation runs in Windowed mode and also has built-in features to run in full screen Kiosk mode eliminating any distractions from the underlying operating system. Perspective also runs in web browsers on desktop PCs. If you're building an application that needs to run on phones, browsers, and desktop applications that don't have a strong need for OS resource access, Perspective is a great choice.

With Perspective, you can automatically adapt to fit any screen size using mobile-optimized container types. It provides the ability to use your device's sensors and intuitive touch commands, as well as message handling, flexible property bindings, and CSS3 styles. For example, with an application built in Perspective, you could augment alarm information by taking a picture of the faulty machine. You could scan a QR code by a machine and have the SCADA system tell you what to do, or take readings or photos in the field and tag them with GPS and other sensor data. There are so many possibilities.

When to Use Vision​

Vision is and has been for many years a top-class desktop application. Vision is a great choice for traditional industrial plant-floor and desktop screens, standalone HMIs, and the like. If you need OS resources, file access, serial port access, or custom Java code running directly in the client, and you're looking for visualization through a desktop application, choose Vision.

In Ignition 8, the Vision Module got one of its biggest updates since it was first released in 2010, allowing you to make your HMIs and plant-floor dashboards faster, easier to deploy, and more beautiful than ever.

Should I Upgrade?​

There are many considerations for using Perspective or Vision. Perspective contains familiar elements like the drag-and-drop Designer, property binding system, and scripting engine. Refer to the 7.9 to 8.1 Upgrade Guide for complete information. See also A Vision-Oriented Guide to Perspective.

Behind the Scenes​

A β€œClient” in Vision is called a "Session" in Perspective, and the two actually have very similar tech stacks. At the bottom of the stack is the OS. In addition to supporting Windows, macOS, and Linux, Perspective also supports Android and iOS. The next part of the stack is the web browser, which is very similar to the runtime/VM layer in the other stacks because it provides an environment to execute code, generate user interfaces, and communicate back to the Gateway. On top of that runs the Perspective session application itself, and then modules can augment the features of Perspective.

In the topology of a typical Ignition installation, there’s the Ignition Gateway, the Ignition Designer, and Vision clients. At the base of the Gateway is the operating system, which can be Windows, Mac, or Linux. Above the OS is the Java runtime/VM layer, which is what Ignition runs on. Above the runtime/VM layer is the Ignition platform, which provides many features and services like Tags, projects, database connections, the Gateway Network, and so on. At the top of the tech stack are modules, which let you do a number of useful things like connect to devices, use databases effectively, send alarm notifications, generate reports, and, in the case of the Vision Module, create applications which run as Vision clients.

As you can see, Perspective is just another module. It installs into the Gateway and provides a design experience in the Designer just like other Ignition modules do.