Can any of you please provide feedback to me on what operating system and programming language would be best suited for migrating from an industrial Human-Machine Interface (HMI) that presently is implemented in Quickbasic 4.5 running under DOS and must include the capability to communicate with external controllers over a serial port.
IDEALLY, we would use our existing code in QB45 and convert it to something as close as possible with serial communications capability, on a platform that uses a reliable operating system that is going to be around for awhile and on hardware (like an off the shelf Dell PC as a benchmark) that will support it.
Anyone have a crystal ball? I really want YOUR opinions.
Now before you throw your arms in the air, fingers to the keyboard and say this is so old it is absurd - a little history.
We are not a big company and produce equipment that makes thin plastic films. One of our flagship products is a multi-patented high end control system for maintaining uniformity of the finished product. The platform MUST be very reliable and stable. This control system was developed in the early 90's and has been highly successful, but hardware is becoming scarce that supports the admittedly ancient DOS. So we need to change and we have recognized this for several years now...
Enter history part II: Over the past few years, we invested several HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars ($350,000 I believe - but try not to add it up - needless to say, more than we could afford) and moved to a Windows based platform. First we used our compiled QB45 application under Win98, then went pure Windows and paid to develop a Wonderware application (a popular Windows based HMI industrial package). After that finished choking on the volume of data coming from the controllers and could not do some of the (in my opinion, simple) graphical tasks (like continuously updating graphical displays with the flood of data, polar plots, etc. - hey DOS/QB45 could do it on old machines???) we tried again from scratch with an OPC based VB platform under XP-pro...got it to do more or less what we wanted, but the developers who did the original code are not around anymore and a new (highly capable - read, they competently have the skills) group we hired to maintain it is having a VERY tough time figuring out the complexity of the code and can't believe it is so hard to sort out - it is too darn complicated! In short, it has been a total disaster and I don't want to repeat another disaster only on a yet again different road. We are starting again from scratch - we now are buying older PC's that allow us to install DOS and run the old compliled QB45 program. What is the best path forward...