This blog is dedicated to open, interoperable manufacturing software and the coolest, latest and greatest things I see every day while conducting business under the banner of Inductive Automation.

Hello, my name is Steve Hechtman and I am president of Inductive Automation. During the span of one day there is more excitement, more discovery than I can possibly keep to myself. This blog is, therefore, my outlet. WARNING: This site is highly biased in favor of the most powerful, affordable manufacturing software in the world - Ignition by Inductive Automation!

Integrators Can Differentiate Their Services By Developing Specialized Modules

A week ago we held a Module SDK developers class at our new facilities in Folsom, Calif., with the purpose of increasing the number of third-party developers who would partner with us by developing specialized new modules. I was surprised to learn, however, that integrator differentiation was a key reason for developing new modules.

We recently added two new features to Ignition that make it possible for integrators to differentiate their services from the competition. The first is the new Module SDK and the second is the OEM lock.

Ignition Module SDK
The SDK can be downloaded for free from the Inductive Automation website and includes a new 80-page manual for developers.

Using these tools and knowledge of the java programming language, integrators are now extending Ignition in ways we couldn't have even imagined. Since your java code is compiled your intellectual property is protected. Some integrators have even hired java experts solely for this purpose.

OEM Lock
The OEM lock allows integrators to create Ignition applications that cannot be opened in the development environment (or be otherwise be decoded) without a developer's key. We've had a lot of requests for this functionality over the years and now you have it.

The Developer Program
Just to clarify, we have a three-tier program for module developers. On the first tier, for qualified companies that develop modules which we deem to compliment our product offering, we have a partner program whereby the module developer develops the module and we market it aggressively through our normal channels, as well as us handling sales and first-tier support.

Our second tier program is very similar to the Apple app store program, if you are familiar with that. On the third tier you can develop modules for your own in-house use and this could include developing modules which create integrator differentiation.

Module Development Is Easier Than You Think
What you should bear in mind is that when you write an Ignition module you gain all the leverage of the Ignition platform itself. This includes use of the development environment, the deployment model, database connectivity as well as store-and-forward functionality, security, connectivity with thousands of other devices, interaction with Python scripting, internationalization (yes, that's coming soon too), and literally hundreds of other functions that are baked into the Ignition platform. A proficient Java developer could develop in a week what would take years to write otherwise.

Then there's the aspect of install base. When you develop for the Ignition platform you instantly have a potentially large and ever expanding install base. Right now this is thousands of installations in more than 50 countries. So once an integrator develops a module, there are a lot of Ignition users who would probably be very interested in buying the new module.

Platform Focus vs. Specialized Module Development
Here's our philosophy about modules. We want to focus on the Ignition platform itself and make it the best platform there ever was. This includes supplying ever more universal functionality, improved documentation, constantly improving software quality, improving the ease of use, etc.

For the more specialized functions we want to partner with other qualified companies that already have extensive domain experience in some specialized area. There are potentially thousands of these areas. Perhaps yours is one of these companies.

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