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500- The data structure is decided for you
5000- Tag based. You decide the structure. UDT's are extremely useful once you learn how to use them.
Logix 5000 is an extremely powerful platform. So powerful that the user can either write a compact, streamlined program in a very short amount of time or the user can write the biggest pile of crap to enter the PLC world (like my first iteration of logix. It worked but it was a piece of crap). The first time I opened logix software I thought it was the worst thing I had ever seen. Prior to that I programmed a lot of S7 plc's, a few S5's, GE's Versamax and RX series, numerous DirectLogic, and numerous TI505. However, once I started down the road of learning the Logix platform I was hooked.
Everyone here writes programs for different functions. I work in the gas processing and pipeline operations field (crude oil most recently). I've written 13 programs for pipeline pump station / receipt points this year. Thanks to Logix and it's tag based architecture I can write a program for (2) 80,000 bbl tanks, (2) 500 (or less) HP boosters, and (3) 1500 (or less) HP mainline pumps, complete with motor operated valves on the suction that have to be sequenced on startup and shutdown, and discharge control valves on each pump (PID loop) in about 1/2 a day if the phone doesn't ring. My coworker writes the ClearSCADA HMI in about the same time. We worked together to build a tightly integrated tag structure that mimics a DCS in it's implementation. I can't say enough good about Logix 5000