History

In the 1970s and 1980s the PDP-11, a small 16-bit microcomputer from Digital Equpment, was a huge success and  made DEC to one of the largest computer companies in the world. Many used the PDP-11 for process control, among them SSAB, a Swedish steel manufacturer, and Comator, a small consultant firm in Helsingborg.

Already in 1975 the successor of PDP-11, VAX with operating system VMS, was presented by DEC. In the beginning VAX was more oriented to the business and server market, but in the mid 80s, smaller and cheaper versions where released (MicroVAX1) making it more interesting for industrial applications. Also the realtime operating system VAXeln was presented.

In the late 1980s SSAB was still building process control systems on the aging PDP-11, and they started to look at the microVAX. In 1989 they managed to interest DEC's Swedish head quarter and Comator to join a project to develop a process control system based on VAX and VAXeln. The project was launched under the name PSS9000 and in August 1990 the first prototype was ready. It controlled two tempering furnaces at SSAB Oxelösund. The system was a single node system with SSAB PSS9000 I/O, a realtime database, a control program with PID controllers and GRAFCET sequences.

The development continued with a second stage, focusing on a distributed realtime database and a development environment with graphical programming in function blocks. The operator environment was based on SL-GMS from Sherrill-Lubinski. The project had full access to DEC's rich collection of software components and managed to produce a competitive control system in a short time.  Comator declared that they would market it under the name Proview, which now became the name of the project.

In 1992 Proview V1.0 was released. The systems were developed on VAX/VMS and the process stations were run in RtVAX 3000 with VAXeln. Comator sold it with RTP I/O system, while SSAB used their own PSS9000 I/O. The operator stations where based on VAX Workstation 3100.

The next year V2.0 was released with various bug fixes and minor modifications. 1992 DEC introduced the fast Alpha processor which was used in V2.1 as platform for development and operator stations, still with VMS as operating system.

At this time, the future for Proview looked bright, but a couple of backlashes were waiting around the corner. DEC had financial problems, and decided to focus on hardware and operating system. All middleware were sold out, and Proview was handed over to SSAB and Comator. Digital also declared that VAXeln would not be ported to the new Alpha processor.

Comator, now incorporated in the slightly larger consultant firm Manadator, started to look for a replacement of VAXeln, and as they were not bound to DEC products any more, they chosed LynxOS. LynxOS was a UNIX like realtime operating system runnable on Power PC and Intel x86 processors. This solution was not accepted by SSAB that were not yet ready to leave the DEC hardware.

In 1996 Proview V2.3 were presented with process stations on PowerPC/Intel x86 with LynxOS, and as previous with development and operator stations on Alpha and VMS.

In the mid 1990s the interest for Windows NT rapidly increased, and in the same rate decreased for VMS. Mandator made a plan to port the development and operator environments to Windows NT. But all the software components from DEC, which previously had been and advantage, now became a heavy burden. To much had to be exchanged and rewritten, and the price tag became to high. The port was never accomplished.

In 1996, SSAB built a new rolling mill with a large number of interconnected process and operator stations. This urged for a more flexible solution of the distributed database. The project 'New database' reshaped the realtime database and introduced terms as volume and mounting, and resulted in the preliminary version V2.7 and later in V3.0.

In the late 90s most things looked bad for Proview. The system with development and operator environment on OpenVMS wasn't  salable any more, and SSAB stubbornly continued to build systems on the now old and tired RtVAX. Forces inside SSAB strove for switching to a more modern system, but SSAB decided to make a new investment i Proview. The LynxOS solution was finally accepted and they also decided to go for Linux as platform for the development and operator environment. The hard work to replace the DEC components started with the development of QCOM in V3.0. Graphical components for the Configurator and the PLC editor was also developed. The products were developed by Mandator and SSAB.

In V3.2 a port of the operator environment to Linux was made. To develop a new graphic environment, two projects were started, one that aimed to use java for process graphics, and one to develop the new plc editor to an editor for process graphics (Ge). The development environment was still on Alpha/VMS.

When V3.4 was released in 2002, also the development environment was ported to Linux. The development database was moved from RDB to mysql, and most of the tools for configuration was completely redesigned. In V3.4 Linux could also be used in the process stations, as a complement to LynxOS. It was also backward compatible with the old VAX/Alpha systems, and this version of Proview was built for the platforms Linux/IntelX86, LynxOS/IntelX86, VAX/OpenVMS and Alpha/OpenVMS.

In V4.0 the development database was redesigned, with a larger flexibility in order to use common class archives and build systems with an object oriented structure. The development database was moved from mysql to BerkeleyDB.

In V4.1 the object orientation was fully implemented with possibility to build complex objects and aggregates, and with functions as inheritance and override. Also a new component library for common industrial components as valves, motor drives etc was introduced. LynxOS was now replaced by Linux, which with the 2.6 kernel showed acceptable realtime capability. Now the development, process and operator stations were gathered on one common platform.

At this time, Proview was released as open source. This had been discusses already in 2001, when a proposal were made that Proview would be GPL licensed and the ownership of Proview would be transferred to a foundation. SSAB backed out of this solution, but in 2005 a new agreement was made. SSAB took over the copyright and released Proview as open source with a GPL license.

V4.2 contained larger support for Profibus and a new Profibus configurator. In V4.3 the old fashioned Motif GUI was replace  by GTK. In V4.6 a new storage environment with a history database was introduced. V4.8 contained support for platforms as x86_64, ARM, Max OS X and FreeBSD. Also support for Profinet was implemented.

  Version  Date

Features 

  Project start 1989-08  
  pssprot1 1990-06

Prototype version 1.

  pssprot2 1991-06

Prototype version 2.

  X0.08 1992-01-21

Beta release.

  X0.10 1992-07-03

Beta release.

  T1.0

1993-06-01

Test release.

  V1.0

1993-12-20

First release.

  V1.1

1994

 
  V2.0

1995-02-28

Methods in navigator, Eventlog.

  V2.1

1995-10-12

Alpha development and operator environment.

  V2.3

1996

LynxOS.

  V2.7b

1997-02-20

Mounted volumes (preliminary)

  V3.0b

2000-03-21

LynxOS, QCOM, Profibus, new IO-handling, Xtt, Trace.
  V3.3a

2001-02-15

Linux, new operator environment, Ge, web-interface, java.

  V3.4

2002-03-19

Development on Linux, process I/O on Linux.

  V3.9

2003-08-20

New Ge dynamics.

  V4.0.0

2004-04-20

New workbench environment, Class editor.

  V4.1.0

2005-02-22

Object orientation with inheritance, attribute objects, basecomponents.

  V4.1.3

2006-01-26

GPL.

  V4.2.0

2006-04-01

Profibus configurator, build methods.

  V4.3.0

2007-01-21

New GTK graphic interface.

  V4.4.0

2007-04-25

OPC XML/DA Client and server.

  V4.5.0 2008-04-20  Modbus TCP I/O, mysql development database.
  V4.6.0 2008-12-08   Storage environment with history database.
  V4.7.0 2010-04-10  64-bit Linux, Modbus TCP Server.
  V4.8.0 2010-12-07

Profinet, ARM and embedded Linux.

  V4.8.1 2011-02-07

Arduino, WebSpeare message queue.

  V4.8.2 2011-06-20

Hilscher CifX board.

  V4.8.3 2012-01-02

Post and report servers, Modbus RTU.

  V4.8.4 2012-05-13

Buffer and array channel and signals.

  V4.8.5 2012-05-27

Improved trend curves.

  V4.8.6 2012-12-20

Cloned volumes, simulate server.

  V5.0.0 2013-11-26

Ethernet Powerlink, multiview operator interface, alarmviews.

  V5.1.0 2014-02-20

Component supervision objects.