Cimplicity vs Wonderware


Thread Starter

John Guy

We are developing standards for new systems to be intalled in our facilities. We have gotten 2 different recommendations for scada tool kits Cimplicity and Wonderware. Does anyone have any experience with both of these products? Also does anyone know of any reports or studies that rate these products?

Kevin Totherow


I assume by "developing Standards" that you mean that you are selecting the standard product for SCADA? The HMI market is moving very fast. You can compare features today and have significantly different systems from both companies tomorrow. My $.02 worth is to define your use for the product very very well, then determine how your company operates and whether you will need system integrators, train your own folks, if you will use it on a variety of systems, if you want data on via internet, do you want to interface to other systems, etc. Then look at both companies and both products. Their sales reps can take your specification and determine if they can supply what you need. It is more important to me to find out where the product was and where the company is taking it now than comparing features at a snapshot in time. I hope this helps.
I have implemented systems based on both products, WW Factory Suite 2k and Cimplicity 4.0. Both have their strengths and weaknesses. I feel WW is far easier to setup. I also believe it is friendlier to use as far as a data collection tool enterprise-wide. Cimplicity is a very powerful HMI/Alarming/Trending tool, which takes some getting use to. It really depends where your strengths are. All things being equal I would probably look at WW as a solution first.

Chris "RYNO" Ryan
PPI - Slab Group - Engineering
Bethlehem Steel Corp.
Sparrows Point Div.
We, at ISA Automation, have worked with Cimplicity, WonderWare and Factorylink.

We also believe that all have their strengths and weakness, but we have found that Cimplicity is the more powerful and flexible engine for us.

Marc Potvin

Eric J. Feight

Looks like I may be adding my thoughts a bit after the fact, but here goes. I started using Intouch when it was first released. At that time it beat the pants off of Factorylink and any others on the market. They had great technical support and had the easiest to use graphical design interface that I had ever seen.

Like Intouch I started using Cimplicity HMI from it’s initial release. (Maybe I should be a beta tester..I seem to like pain) HMI was MUCH harder to learn. It also had a lot more power than Wonderware.

When you get right down to it, Wonderware, Cimplicity HMI, RSView, and the others are all basically the same thing: a graphical front end for a database. Here’s where the big difference comes in. Wonderware, even in Factory Suite, utilizes their own proprietary flat file database. It is a pain to do anything with except to populate Wonderware trends. To use all of your stored info outside Wonderware you still have to write scripts running HistData to generate a series of .csv files, then write code in Excel or a similar application to do something with the data. Cimplicity on the other hand, uses the Jet engine (ver 4 and earlier, I believe 5.0 now uses the MSD engine) to log to your choice of database formats or to ODBC data sources. It supports a true relational database model. If you’re doing anything with SQL, don’t even think twice, go with Cimplicity. You can log directly to a SQL database and you have full control over the format of the tables. As an interesting note you can buy Cimplicity SQL, which is Microsoft SQL 7.0, for about $100 less than you can get it from Microsoft... Go figure. This ability is native to Cimplicity. Wonderware requires you to by their SQL module (~$1,000 I think) which only adds SQL extensions to their scripting language. You still have to write all the SQL code to do inserts and queries.

Speaking of scripting, HMI wins hands down. They use VB or VBA depending on who you get the propaganda from. If you’re comfortable with VB you’ll have no trouble with HMI scripting. I will warn you that their implementation of their object model still has me scratching my head sometimes. Wonderware uses their own scripting language. It looks a little like C, but doesn’t act much like it. It has a very limited instruction set. HMI also has a very powerful Event Editor for running scripts and other commands based on any conceivable event. HMI 5.0 now has “Object Classes”. It looks cool, but I haven’t had the chance to use it yet.

All is not roses. HMI has its downsides. If you have never used it, take a class before you attempt to even start developing an application. You can get a good 3rd party training CD from Neddam (Http:// If you can’t afford the time or $ fro a Cimplicity class, this is great! With Wonderware you can load and hack your way into developing simple applications. Also Trends are UGLY! Use TrendX if you want nice trends. Wonderware trends are a lot nicer looking and they have a good set of trend wizards to add functionality to their trends and make them look like you spent hundreds of hours on them (don’t tell my boss that).

From my standpoint, I use HMI whenever I get to choose. Now that I’m used to it, I can develop applications faster with HMI than with Wonderware. Intouch was my hands down favorite for many years. They were the industry leader, but for some reason they seem to be clinging to the past while others are keeping pace with more current software technologies.

I hope this info is useful and not too late. With luck, maybe it reinforces a wise decision on your part!