LabVIEW Developers Feature Brainstorming

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Documentation tool for online and context help


As you know, you can create context help for VIs, polymorphic VIs, and parameters by entering documentation into the fields on the Documentation tab of the Properties dialog box. You also can create links to HTML-based help topics for the VIs and polymorphic VIs by filling in the Help Tag and Help File on the Documentation tab. However, to create the HTML-based help topics you must either manually create HTML topics for the VIs, as well as the Contents tab, or generate HTML topics for each VI using LabVIEW's printing features. The resulting HTML, however, does not have the same look and feel as the help files that ship with LabVIEW. After you create the HTML topics and edit those topics, there is no easy way to get the edited documentation back into the context help for the VI, poly VI, or parameters.

So, with that in mind, I'm interested in answers to the following questions.

  • Would generating XML-based documentation for all the VIs and polymorphic VIs in a directory or library be of interest to you? This would provide an initial draft of the documentation for the VIs and polymorphic VIs based on the context help in the VIs.
  • Would editing documentation for VIs and polymorphic VIs outside the LabVIEW environment (namely XML) be useful for you?
  • Would you like the online help for your VIs, polymorphic VIs, and palettes to have the same look and feel as the help that ships with LabVIEW?
  • Would you like to be able to automatically populate the documentation for the context help window from the edited source (including blue links to the help)?
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Message 1 of 7

And when that help in XML is generated.. Can I edit the XML and from there refill the description etc of the library again to make it consistent in the way I should have done that in all those VI's ?

This export and later import would make it a better job to do, or even better to give that job away to someone else.

greetings from the Netherlands
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Message 2 of 7
Yes. You'd be able to generate the XML files from the .llb, then edit in the XML, and import the descriptions back into the VIs, as well as generate help files. Does that answer your question?
Message 3 of 7
Thanks Jonathan
That is exactly what I meant, The only thing to hunt for now is a tool like VI analyzer to put marks in the xml where to change the text or even better
make the change but I guess at that level it still is work to do..
greetings from the Netherlands
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Message 4 of 7
I use our (shameless plug!) Documentation Tools from the VI Engineering VISTA suite for both creating and getting all my documentation into a professional package.
Documentation Manager
Documentation Generator
Using both of these tools together makes my life a hell of a lot easier (hey - it's got to be good if we use it internally 😉 )

Copyright © 2004-2020 Christopher G. Relf. Some Rights Reserved. This posting is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.
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Message 5 of 7

I really would like the option to generate documentation from the information I put into the description of the controls, description of VIs, tipstrips, etc.

However putting that info into the VIs can be a tedious job. If you have to right click each control or VI icon to edit it's description that is really annoying.

Exporting it (to get all the controls), edit it and import it again: I do not know of an easy editor to do this in or do I have to scroll through all the meta tags in notepad to edit the info?

What I would rather have is a floating pallette which is a permanent property browser in which you can easily add this info for the selected controls and indicators. If you select more than one and change one of the properties this is field is updated for the selection. The advantage of doing the documentation from within LabVIEW is that you have the context also available otherwise you constantly have to switch between your editor and LabVIEW to see which control was meant with descriptive names like 'index' for instance.

This is like the MSVisualBasic resource editor (you can show other properties of a control or the properties in common for a group of controls as well).

As long as we are plugging software: this is a tool I created 2 years ago to get the info into LabVIEW:

Message 6 of 7
If you would export in XML-format it would be nice when the format will be compatible with my favourite Help Authoring Tool

Using 7.1.1, 8.5.1, 8.6.1, 2009 on XP and RT
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Message 7 of 7