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The Actor Framework Project Provider

This project provider now ships with LabVIEW!  If you are using LabVIEW 2015 or later, you already have this add-on.

When I wrote the original Message Maker for the Actor Framework, I wanted to make its functionality available from right click menus in the project.  At the time, many knowledgeable people within NI told me that would be very difficult.  In the interest of getting a tool into the hands of the community, I changed tactics and developed the wizard that currently ships with LabVIEW.

Since then, I have gotten to know some folks on the LabVIEW Product Partners team, who have done amazing work in making project provider development more accessible.  With their help, I have been able to port the Message Maker into a new project provider.

This project provider adds a number of useful Actor Framework wizards to the right click menus of your LabVIEW project.  It includes the functionality of the Actor Framework Message Maker that currently ships with LabVIEW, and adds the ability to make zero-coupled messages. You can also more easily add actors to a project.  You access all of these features through right-click menus in your project.  For instance, to create a message, right-click on an actor's public method, and...

Right-click menu.png

There now.  Isn't that better?

This package replaces your existing Actor Framework Message Maker.  A new version will still be available from the Tools menu.  You can restore the original Message Maker by uninstalling the project provider package.

Please consider this to be an alpha release of the provider.  It is provided as-is, and is not officially supported by NI (please see the license agreement).  I have tested it as best I can, but you may still find some issues.  I want to hear about them from you.

I also suggest, at least for the first few iterations, that you manually back up your existing Message Maker, just in case there is a latent bug in the uninstall operation.  I recommend copying it to a zip file in a separate location.  You can find it in your <LabVIEW>\project folder.  Back up Actor Framework Message Maker.vi and the folder _Message Maker.

There is no guarantee that this provider will ship with any future version of LabVIEW.  This community release is for the ongoing innovation in the Actor Framework. This version may be dropped if the community doesn't like this modification or comes up with a better solution than the one developed thus far.

Please try this out and let me know what you think.  I look forward to your feedback.

Comments
Patur
Member
Member
on

This is a great utility. I truly hope this will make it to the official AF.

Sometimes when I have created an Actor, the right-click class 'Actor Framework' doesn't show. This behavior is not concistent throughout the project. It can work on one Actor, while not on another.

Any ideas why this is so?

--
Patur Sivertsen Vase
www.hfjensen.dk
AristosQueue
Proven Zealot
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I hope so too, but it wasn't done in time for 2013 (yes, it was done in January, but we were already in alpha release phase by then and not adding new features). It'll get review for 2014.

The right click menu items only show up on wires of type Actor itself, not on any of the child classes. We never made the right-click palettes inheritble... a seriously debatable decision in retrospect. Oh... nevermind... you're talking about the menu item that gets added by the *provider*. That one I can't speak to... niACS will have to comment on that.

CaseyLamers1
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on

I noticed that if I have a virtual folder in my actor class with methods in that it will not shoe with right click, but if I move it out of the folder to just a method in the class it works.  Move it back to the folder and it doesn't work again. 

Other times I have a method that just seems to not want to show the AF option when I right click, so the first fix isn't the full solution, but a solution to that case.

Casey Lamers


Phoenix, LLC


casey.lamers@phoenixwi.com


CLA, LabVIEW Champion


Check Out the Software Engineering Processes, Architecture, and Design track at NIWeek. 2018 I guarantee you will learn things you can use daily! I will be presenting!

syang
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on

the VIP does not seem to install for LV2011....

-------------------------------------------------------------
LabVIEW 2011 newbie >.<

Certified LabVIEW Developer
justACS
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on

You are correct.  The Project Provider is only supported for LV 2012 and later.

D_Hooks
Member
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on

I am experiencing the same issue with the right-click menu not being shown when class methods are located inside of virtual folders.

Having the right-click options within the project and having the additional message types are handy when using the Actor Framework.  Are there plans to include an update to the Message Maker in LabVIEW 2014, and/or will future functionality along these lines be added to the GOOP Development Suite?

justACS
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I am planning to release a new community version sometime after LabVIEW 2014 ships.  I intend to address the virtual folder issue, hopefully in that release.

D_Hooks
Member
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Great to hear!  If I may be so bold as to throw out feature requests, another extremely useful one would be the ability to update an existing message class to reflect changes made to the associated method in the actor class.  I know the GDS provides an option for this, but I have had major problems with it (though that's a topic for a different thread).

justACS
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Message class updates are on my list, but that's going to be a bit more work; it probably won't be in the next release.

BrianGShea@NGC
Member
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Allan,

Would it be possible to link to Actor and Message Classed that are loaded from a Packed Project Library instead of the default vi.lib/Actor Framework folder? Not sure if is is possible to detect where Actor.lvclass and various message classes are loaded from.

I have a project that includes Actor Framework built into a lvlibp, but i have to develop with the default tools then replace the lvlib with lvlipb. This get annoying after a while.

Brian G. Shea
Certified LabVIEW Architect
AristosQueue
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BrianGShea: It is possible. The tool could probably look for both .lvlib and .lvlibp while doing the scripting and then script the parent class accordingly. The provider might take a performance hit as we would lose some of the static linkage in the code in favor of dynamic search. It's worth considering for a future version, but I'm not sure how much of a priority it would be.

BrianGShea@NGC
Member
Member
on

AQ,

It is a priority for me, and I would love to contribute. Currently it will take a week or two for me to compile my applciation because it is so much easier for me to do the bulk of the development against LVLIBs then build and replace with PPLs.

I have upwards of 40 modules built around various base classes including Actor Framework.

Instead of searching each time, could it not be an option, check box or ini file parameter?

Brian G. Shea
Certified LabVIEW Architect
AristosQueue
Proven Zealot
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on

Possibly. niACS would need to weigh in on it... he's the one working on making those modifications.

(I think he is on vacation at the moment.)

justACS
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on

Let me look into this.

BrianGShea@NGC
Member
Member
on

Thanks!

Brian G. Shea
Certified LabVIEW Architect
Oli_Wachno
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on

Loving the concept of the tool! Though I'm not able to get the right-click menu to display "Create Child of abstract Message". What am I doing wrong?

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