XiSys: designing and creating graphical user interfaces made easy - Embedded.com

XiSys: designing and creating graphical user interfaces made easy

Time is money! With the innovations in XiBase9, a proven embedded graphics system for industrial applications, you will reach your goal faster. Sophisticated graphical user interfaces, which enable ergonomic and functional machine and device operation under Linux, Windows or common real-time operating systems, are created quickly and efficiently. XiSys will show you these innovations at the Embedded World 2020 as a co-exhibitor at the booth of the entrepreneurs’ association Embedded4You e.V.

Today, functional diversity alone hardly leads any graphics program package to success in the market. What is important is the operability, the ergonomics of a user interface and thus the manageability of a machine. After an in-depth analysis of the tasks of a machine, the operating concept is created as a result. This is then implemented in the form of user-dependent screen masks and possibly a click dummy. This makes it possible to get to know or document the new operating concept depending on the user role. Once this conceptual work has been completed, the work of the software programmers begins, who must now bring the static proposals to life. At the moment, it is still very common to provide screen masks as rasterized images to the developer. Generating animated individual objects from these screens is a challenge and often only possible with a lot of effort.

The tools of the designers can also provide the screen masks as vector graphics without additional effort. The SVG format (Scalable Vector Graphics) is preferred here. It has a wide distribution and can be used immediately in most browsers. The graphics platform XiBase9 and the associated tools also support SVGs.

The developer will break down the supplied screen templates into logical objects, link them to tasks and reassemble them into final screen templates. A prerequisite for efficient processing of screen masks is their construction from individual vectors. With the vector editor, the templates are imported, and objects are separated in a few easy steps.

Objects often must fulfill certain dynamic properties. For example, a pointer object is expected to allow the pointer to move. This can be done playfully, without any programming effort, using the vector editor. The result is an object which is dynamized via freely definable animation inputs. These inputs can be linked with variables from a middleware and thus display states of a machine or, if desired, also change states of the machine. The assembly of the masks and the linking with the variables from the middleware is carried out with the HMI editor from XiSys.

The middleware enables the complete decoupling of hardware, sequence program and visualization by data abstraction. Several different middleware platforms can be integrated simultaneously. Furthermore, this technology allows easy adaptation to any existing company-specific middleware.

The variable model of the middleware can be adapted in a wide range. In the simplest case, a variable can only serve as a source for a display value. However, it could also take over more complex tasks such as scaling via limit values, automatic unit conversions, function generators, diagrams, controlling the visibility and operability of objects.

Starting with version 8, a modular concept was introduced. It enables the execution of additional visualization modules in container objects, similar to iFrames in a browser. Visualization modules can be either single screen masks or complete independent visualizations. Thus, interfaces can be composed of function modules individually. For touch applications with gesture control a Raspberry Pi system is already sufficient. The required RAM for this is no larger than 256 MB and the required storage space on external media is less than 50 MB.

Preferably vector graphics are used for a new design. This makes it possible to define or change the final screen resolution and, within certain limits, the geometry later. The graphics server supports different scaling factors in X and Y direction if required. Thus, surfaces developed for a HD screen, for example, can also be displayed on a 4K screen without any problems.

All visualizations can be distributed with a display redirection to different systems in the network. Since version 7 a, the web server is integrated in the graphic server. This extension enables the visualization to be executed in any browser. No special modifications or APP installations are necessary.