Here's how we currently make cluster element labels appear, and a proposed idea for improvement.
I occasionally hide controls on my FP and control their visibility programmatically during the execution of my program. The problem is that if I edit my UI and the control is hidden, it's very easy not to be aware that it's there and to accidentally overlap it, hide it or even move it off the screen.
To solve this, I usually try to save the VIs with all the controls visible, but that's not always feasible.
A better solution - LabVIEW should always show hidden controls in edit mode. It should just have some way of differentiating them from visible controls. This mockup shows them as ghosts, but it can also be any other solution:
In run mode, of course, the control would not be shown. This is similar to the black border you get when objects overlap a tab control.
Typical question in development process: "How quickly does my code execute? What runs faster... Code A or Code B?" So, if you're like me, you throw in a quick sequence that looks like this:
AHHH! What a mess! It's so hard to fit it in, with FP real estate so packed these days!
We need this:
Just like my other idea, and for simplicity's sake NI, I would be PERFECTLY happy even if you had to set up the probes during edit mode, and were not able to "probe" while running.
As a bonus, this idea may be extrapolated into n timing probes, where you can find delta t between any two of the probes.
I think structures should have a better label system. Currently I use free labels of the same color as the loop which looks great and makes the code easy to read and debug. But if I resize my loop I have to manually resize the label as well. I think this should be built into a right-click option.
(structure) rick-click » visible items » Structure label
The problem that height of local variable is 17 pix, and terminal - 16 pix, but distance between terminals in unbundle function is 15 pix.
As result - aligning to vertical compress caused steps in wires:
Right nowterminals/local variables should be slighly overlapped for "step edge free" wiring.
Please synchronize size of these icons with distance between terminals (to 16 pixels - seems to be ideal size)
Not sure if it was already in Idea Exchange or not.
I'd like there to be an option to show some kind of indicator on string controls that you aren't seeing the entire string. This should also apply to string constants on the block diagram.
I searched for a similar idea, but couldn't find one. Let me know if there is already a similar idea.
Currently, it's a crapshoot when you drag an ant trail selection box around items on your FP or BD. It's truly an art to become good at selecting objects in LabVIEW - we all learn "hot spots" to place our selection rectangles, and we all heavily rely on the "Shift+Click" method of adding or removing objects from our selection. Below is an example of what actually might be selected when dragging a selection box:
All horizontal wires were selected down to "ABCDEF", even though just a very small portion of the visible wire was inside the selection box. It's not intuitive to try to not select wire that is hidden behind the Unbundle.
I propose a method that mimics selection in some graphics editing and CAD programs: the idea of "Enclosed" and "Inclusive" selections. An Enclosed selection is made by dragging the mouse from L to R. This operation selects only the objects THAT ARE COMPLETELY ENCLOSED by the selection box, ignoring objects that are partially outside the selection (the red arrow is not part of the BD, it merely represents the motion of the cursor):
Alternatively, if you drag your mouse from RIGHT to LEFT for a selection box, you select every single object that is fully or even partially contained within the selection box:
Voila! Selection is now a TAUGHT SCIENCE instead of a LEARNED ART!
When you develop with multiple LabVIEW versions, it is sometimes difficult to identify which version you're using or launching based on the icon of the LabVIEW EXE:
Here's my Windows 7 taskbar with, among other things, LabVIEW 8.0, 8.5, 8.6, and 2009 icons. Which one is which? There are ways to tell, but it sure would be easiest if the version number were overlayed on the icon. Note the Visual Studio 9.0 icon in the taskbar...I think we should do something very similar with the application icons of future LabVIEW releases.
NOTE: The icon should also reflect differences between the 32-bit version of LabVIEW and the 64-bit version of LabVIEW
The recently introduced Raspberry Pi is a 32 bit ARM based microcontroller board that is very popular. It would be great if we could programme it in LabVIEW. This product could leverage off the already available LabVIEW Embedded for ARM and the LabVIEW Microcontroller SDK (or other methods of getting LabVIEW to run on it).
The Raspberry Pi is a $35 (with Ethernet) credit card sized computer that is open hardware. The ARM chip is an Atmel ARM11 running at 700 MHz resulting in 875 MIPS of performance. By way of comparison, the current LabVIEW Embedded for ARM Tier 1 (out-of-the-box experience) boards have only 60 MIPS of processing power. So, about 15 times the processing power!
Wouldn’t it be great to programme the Raspberry Pi in LabVIEW?
I don't like the way that long file paths are shown in path controls and indicators: If the path is longer than the textbox (and it usually is!), the user only sees the first several levels that fit. This can be pretty confusing.
One way to solve this issue is to truncate the path in the middle in such a way that the filename or last folder (which is usually what's most important) is always shown. I've seen this in other UIs and it should be a natural thing for users to understand.
Here's an illustration:
I think this should be a built in feature of the path controls and indicators, accessible through right-click menus and/or the properties menu of the control at edit time.
The smaller footprint of the Local Variables in 2010 has increased usability of the IDE and readability of the LabVIEW language. Another node that could benefit from a smaller footprint is the User Event Ref Constant.
Below is some conceptual artwork on what a smaller footprint might look like. Feel free to post more concepts!
It has come up in discusssions that NI does not really cater to hobbyists. A cheap and functional version of LabVIEW is limited to the student edition, which is restricted to a small subset of potential users.
From the FAQ:
"The LabVIEW Student Edition is available to students, faculty, and staff for personal educational use only. It is not intended for research or institutional use."
As a suggested first step, I suggest to remove the academia restriction and mold it into a new product:
--- LabVIEW personal edition ---
Licensed as follows:
"The LabVIEW Personal Edition is for personal use only. It is not intended for commercial, research or institutional use."
It would be available to anyone for noncommercial home use.
LabVIEW currently has the home use exemption that allows installing a copy at home. Unfortunately, if you lose your job, you not only lose your health insurance, but you also lose access to LabVIEW, thus hampering any self paced LabVIEW tinkering that possibly would improve future job prospects. I am sure many retired LabVIEW engineers would love some recreational LabVIEW use. They could be a great asset, because they will have more time helping out in the community and forums. They could even give guest presentations at user group meetings, for example.
The LabVIEW personal edition should include all modules of interest to the hobbyist, including application builder, embedded, FPGA, and robotics. We should be able to distribute built applications as freeware. Support would be limited to community support.
Installing LabVIEW on every single private home computer in the world would cost NI exactly nothing (except for some sales of the current student edition which is about the price of a textbook, some internet bandwidth, and loss of the zero to two (?) multi-millionaires who actually bought the NI developer suite for themselves. ). 99.9% of users would never touch it, but that 0.1% could come up with great new application areas and would help spread the word on how great LabVIEW really is. Soon 0.2% would use it.
It should follow the "customer class limited" Freemium model, (as defined by Chris Anderson), i.e. limited to personal home use in this case.
The running applications should be clearly identified to prevent commercial use. The splash screen and "about" screen should prominently display the words LabVIEW and National Instruments and could even be used for NI advertising and product placements, for example.
The font dialog lists them as units of pt, but for some reason they are quite different in size from the same sizes in any other applications (browser, word, etc.). LabVIEW also shows other problems, for example tahoma 14, 15 all look exactly the same... why??
Here is a side-by-side comparison of a wordpad document and a LabVIEW panel. Each line is configured for the indicated font size.
As you can easily see, LabVIEW is the exception. Any other applications I tried agrees with the left panel.
Idea -->LabVIEW should also standardize here!
If you are not using the Data Event Terminals in an Event Structure, you might customarily hide them - roll them up so that only one terminal is showing. I would like to hide that remaining terminal. The idea is to not grey-out the Remove Element option when you are down to one terminal. That way, you can remove it. A stub remains to right-click on in order to bring the terminal(s) back if required.