Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired Magazine and previous NIWeek speaker, tweeted that he's considering switching from LabVIEW to Nokia's Qt (qt.nokia.com) for his recreational UAV ground station. What do you all think? Why should Chris stick with LabVIEW? Why should he make the switch? I'm replying to Chris (@chr1sa) via Twitter and letting him know about this thread.
Here's hoping you all feel the same way I do about LabVIEW in this and many other test and control applications.
so it is Visual Basic made by Nokia??
it is not a visual development (thats just one thing I like about Labview)
it has a GUI but than again so does visual studios
it reminds me of eclipse (for Java)
it is a C++ editor which is nice, but like I said I like visual.
I really don't know why you would compare it to LabVIEW it seems to be Visual Studios developed by a different firm
Nothing new. Chris made similar comments back in 2007. 🙂
Good programmers have strong personal preferences and if Chris can get more done in qt, that's fine with me. If the new cell phone in his UAV runs Maemo or Symbian, that might bias the decision too. I am not familiar with qt, so I cannot comment directly.
Here's why I settled on LabVIEW, again personal preference. 🙂
I am a nonlinear thinker and my though process is more graphical than verbal. I make typing errors and hate it if a missing semicolon breaks my code. (A broken wire is easier to find than a typing mistake!). I like to do many things in parallel, but without having to manage this explicitly. Once I have written my code in LabVIEW, I get the UI for free at the same time.
I can truly say that LabVIEW made me a better programmer and allowed me to do things that would be much harder in any other language. (This is coming from a guy that started with Fortran IV in the early seventies. ;))
Chris Anderson here...
Altenbach, this has nothing to do with graphical vs text development environments. We're considering the change to Qt because our community is pushing back on the cost of LabView development tools. As an open source community, we are expected to use free and cross-platform tools.
Although we quite like LabView oursleves, we're not getting as much community participation in our LabView code as we get on code based on open standards, such as Arduino.
For the health of the Groundstation project, we need to get more developers on board. We tried to buy them Student versions of LabView, but they don't create executables, so that was a no go (plus that's a bit naughty, because they're not really students).
So this is simply a matter of an economic mismatch between LabView and Open Source. Until NI releases a free version of LabView that can create executables, I think it will be difficult for open source communities to accept it.
Nokia's Qt may not be as easy to use, but the dev tools are free. It is also natively cross-platform, including mobile. For all those reasons, we're strongly considering the switch.
Chris, thanks for the clarification.
OK, I understand the economical argument. (sorry, I only briefly glanced at the twitter post this morning and it seems twitter is blocked at work so I could not take a second look)
LabVIEW really needs a home/hobby licensing scheme that allows building applications, especially also for embedded/FPGA targets for private, noncommercial hobby use. (For example the spartan-3E is currently only available to universities with FPGA teaching licenses. I want one but I cannot have it! :().
This is a huge untapped market! Home tinkerers controlling or monitoring their model trains, weather stations, climate controls, blinds, BBQ meat thermometers, etc. on ultracheap networked, embedded targets all over the house, and all running LabVIEW. 🙂
(compare with e.g. SunSPOTs or Ardunino you mentioned.)
In todays economy, there are probably quite a few unemployed engineers that could even use it to learn new things and improve their programming skills.
Kids should be able to use all aspects of LabVIEW. Nobody loses if they don't like it, but every kid that later finds employment in the industry can bias company policy on what development system to use. I guess that's the argument for the pricing of current student edition. But yes, the limitations are significant. Maybe if they would allow building applications with a watermark to prevent commercial use?
(I am probably biased, because I was always in academia and have no industry experience. I am also not a lawyer or economist. ;))
LabVIEW really needs a home/hobby licensing scheme that allows building applications...
In todays economy, there are probably quite a few unemployed engineers...
How many of us use LabVIEW licences tied to our employers, meaning if we lose our jobs we lose LabVIEW? If I were in that situation, I would be pounding my free LabVIEW 24x7 to increase my marketability.
I would really like to see the community's response to this request... post a new Idea. I would love to see an approach like Fog Creek takes.
I can understand from a economic perspective I have an arduino and love that it has free software and for the most part I like open source.
I too have LabVIEW through an employer and sadly when I lose my job I will be cut off LabVIEW cold turkey I try not to think about that day or possibility
I don't know Qt either, so I can't comment on the technical aspects (although I would probably prefer LabVIEW), but I don't think I can compete with the financial argument either - while hobbyists do pay sometimes for their hobby, I don't think you can expect many of them to pay the price NI currently charges, especially not when there are alternatives (even if they're not as good).
Basically, what Altenbach said.