I think if we had a forum for Industrial Automation it would get some attention. Maybe a sister category would be Automation Hardware, but its hard enough to find common ground in the Software topics.
I am aware:
- a person's experience can vary drastically from brand to brand
- potential threads will likely be very brand AND device specific
- many of the solutions to potential threads will probably be, "go buy brandXXX sofware for mucho $$$"
- little script kiddies will begin to scare us on whole new levels (YOU CAN PLAY with 240VAC when you turn 15. Now go to your room and think about what you did to the cat!)
But, here are the reasons that you shouldn't hold back:
- although there are lots of brands, most industrial companies will only buy/install from the mature brands, of which I would say there are maybe a dozen (with 4-5 covering 75%)
- LadderLogic is rightfully a language in itself. It may not be pretty, but it reflects a time not so long ago, is still physically used (hardwired relay-logic) way more than you would expect, and does enforce a certain simplicity that .
- The "Industrial Automation" scene is actually starting to show some signs of standardization and even some openscource!!!
- IEC 61131-3 is something to get excited about. IEC 61131-3 is in some ways... 'a bit much'. But it offers so much good, I would hate to see someone turn away from it before they were able to really break it open.
- Here is one last example of exciting progress (although the Germans lead this one...), http://www.oscat.de/