Late last week Rockwell Automation released version 8.1 of FactoryTalk View Site Edition.
In Today's article I cover its new features and system requirements, cautions about upgrading, and ask you if you'll be upgrading right away or holding off?
New features in ViewSE 8.1
New Distributed Application Manager tool
- Simplifies the backup and restore of network distributed applications using a single tool.
Better design-time support for multiple monitors
- If you close View Studio 8.1 after using it on a multi-monitor system, and later restart it on a single monitor system, it will now re-dock the Explorer and Diagnostic windows, and move all other windows to the primary display.
- Prior to this change I've been told you could not access windows positioned on the second monitor when you returned to a single monitor system.
NOTE: While this enhancement is not listed in the release notes, I was able to confirm with the good folks at Rockwell that it was just an oversight, and it is in fact present in View Studio SE 8.1.
Added support for testing displays with tag placeholders
- You can now test your displays and global objects with parameters (like #1, #2, etc) in View Studio without having to run the project.
New security functions
- These new functions (CurrentComputerHasGroup, CurrentComputerGroups) return whether the current computer or user is in the assigned group when used in VBA.
Subscribe to patch notifications during install
- At the end of the installation process you can now subscribe to be notified about new product updates and patches when they are released in Rockwell's Knowledgebase.
On-screen keyboard changes
- The on-screen keypad now shows the tag name, tag description, units, and min/max limits when available.
- You can also configure if the on screen keyboard shows via clicking objects, as well as assign security codes
Popup window position enhancement
- You can now choose to have popup windows appear close to the object which issues the Display command
Specify client window size
- You can specify the client window size when configuring a new client at runtime
- Alarms can now be organized by logical groups
FactoryTalk Alarm and Event support for groups
- FTAE now includes new functions supporting alarm groups. They are supported in any expression in a FT View SE application.
Alarm Migration tool
- This tool is designed to help users migrate legacy Tag DB HMI alarms to Alarms and Events tag-based alarms.
Electronic signature button update
- You can now set the values for String, DateTime, and Boolean tags
New FactoryTalk View File Viewer
- You can use the new File Viewer to view and save ME and SE datalog files, as well as view Machine Edition Alarm and Recipe Plus files.
Cautions about migrating to ViewSE 8.1
While the release notes do contain several things you'll want to be aware of, the big one for me pertains to ViewPoint.
I've been told that ViewPoint 8.1, which is replacing Silverlight with HTML 5 to support mobile devices (very cool,) has been delayed until the Fall.
So if you're currently using ViewPoint, for the cleanest and easiest transition I suggest holding off until ViewPoint itself is updated to 8.1.
And even then, I recommend reading the ViewPoint 8.1 release notes prior to upgrading.
ViewSE 8.1 System Requirements
The recommended computer specs for running ViewSE 8.1 include: Intel Core 2 Duo, 2.66GHZ, and 2GB of RAM.
ViewSE 8.1 also supports these operating systems: Windows XP SP3 32Bit, Windows 7 Pro 32 & 64bit, Windows 8 & 8.1 32 and 64 bit, and Windows Server 2008 and 2012.
Find out more about ViewSE 8.1
If you would like to view the FactoryTalk View Site Edition release notes, well unfortunately right now they don't seem to be online anyware 🙁 Unlike Studio 5000, I could not find the FTView release notes in the PCDC, and the last update I could find on the RA KB is for 6.1 (as of 9/2.) So, unless you actually download 8.1 your only option may be to drop your local Rockwell rep an email to request them.
Update: Shortly after this article was published, Rockwell posted the FactoryView ME and SE release notes from version 5.0 – 8.1 in the below public (free) tech note:
Special thanks to Sharon Billi for letting us know!
So, what do you think of the new features in ViewSE 8.1? Will you hold off due to being a ViewPoint user?
Or will you jump on 8.1 right away because of one of the many newly added features?
You can let us know your thoughts via the “post a comment or question” link below.