Speaking to a packed meeting room, with an overflow crowd in the doorway and standing in the hall, Emerson’s Keith Bellville, DeltaV engineering tools and productivity product marketing manager, took attendees at Emerson Exchange on a tour of the new look and feature set of DeltaV v10.3’s engineering tool suite.
“Our goal is to provide project engineers with an easy-to-use and consistent tool set to improve their productivity.” Emerson’s Keith Bellville reviewed the many user interface enhancements to the latest generation of engineering tools for DeltaV.
“How many of you have used Office 2007?” he asked, as a smattering of the audience raised their hands. “Well, the new interface in Control Studio, Expression Editor and Recipe Studio is based on the radically revised human interface Microsoft installed in Office 2007.”
Microsoft, he said, invested over 500,000 hours of development testing and user interaction studies in order to create the ribbon interface for Office and for Vista. “Many enhancements have been made in the area of human-centered design for the office PC user,” Bellville said. “Our goal is to bring that type of enhancement to the Engineering Tools Interface for DeltaV. Our focus is on ease of use, a seamless transition from an office to an engineering environment and ensuring consistency between DeltaV engineering applications.”
Today, Bellville said, Control Studio has the Office 2003-and-prior interface, with static toolbars, and the only user capability is to move the toolbar or toggle visibility of a toolbar on or off. The pull-down, menu-style palette viewer is static and only displays the currently selected palette. Multiple mouse clicks are required to move between palettes.
In Version 10.3, the Control Studio experience will be quite different. “It will be the Office 2007 ribbon experience, with buttons grouped by task, single-click access to buttons on the currently selected tab and single-click to select different tabs, yet with access to all buttons. There will be context-sensitive tabs and buttons,” he added.
Another significant enhancement Bellville described was a QAT, or Quick Access Toolbar that is completely user-definable and can be located either above or below the ribbon bar. This toolbar resembles the old Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar from Office 2002 and older. Users can drag and drop their most used tools straight to the QAT toolbar and customize it just the way they like it.
The palettes now show up in an accordion-style view, with all the palettes in view all the time, and with only a single click to switch between palettes.
“In the classic Control Studio interface,” Bellville said, “there are static menus and toolbars. With the QAT, that’s customizable. You put the tool on the QAT instead of having to search tabbed menus to find it.”
In the new Control Studio for DeltaV v10.3, the layout is Tab-Group-Button out of the box. There are three tabs that open out into three ribbon menus. The first tab is Home, the second is Diagram and the third is View. As you select each tab, a new ribbon menu appears that is grouped into tabbed sets of tasks.
Super Tooltips and Fast Keys
“Now about Tooltips,” Bellville continued. “Classic Control Studio Tooltips draws your attention to the tiny text that appears in the lower left-hand corner of the screen window. The new version of Control Studio will use what the Windows folks call ‘super Tooltips’—which come down at the ribbon level where your attention should be.”
Classic menu fast keys have the little, hard-to-see underscore beneath one of the letters in the menu title. The new fast-key interface is easier to see, and there are fast keys for every menu selection. They stand out and are easy to read.
“Recipe Studio has the same ribbon interface as the new Control Studio,” Bellville went on. “Buttons are grouped by task, with single-click access to buttons on the currently selected tab, and single-click to select different tabs, with access to all buttons.”
The ribbon interface works the same, out of the box, with Tab, Group and Button layout.
“Like classic Control Studio and Recipe Studio, classic Expression Editor does not follow the ribbon experience,” Bellville said. “Expression Editor for DeltaV v10.3 will have the same ribbon user interface experience as Control Studio and Recipe Studio, but with added pull-downs to make inserting functions easier and a ‘recently used’ list for expressions added.”
Emerson has added right-click functions to the ribbon as well, and the “undo/redo” functionality has been added to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Users can hide the parser output window to maximize editor space as well.
“Many Engineering Tools ease-of-use enhancements are available in DeltaV v10.3,” Bellville said. “Our goal is to provide project engineers with an easy-to-use and consistent tool set to improve their productivity.”
He closed by saying, “In some cases, honestly, we knew that we were putting the tool or function in the wrong place, but we didn’t know where the right place to put it was. We’re depending on our users to tell us where you want things to go on the ribbon bars. So we would like to hear your feedback on the DeltaV system’s current Control Studio menu structure and enhancement requests, now that you’ve seen what we’re up to for Version 10.3.”