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Block Diagram Terminals Improvement

Status: New

I continually find myself fussing over the "configuration" of terminals. There are many permutations of icon/condensed view and label alignment, yet little consensus thus far for a standard.


My goal is to convince you this: Having different "flavors" of terminals does not make LabVIEW easier to understand or more "customized" to your preferences or learning style. Instead, it creates a source of confusion for new users to identify these Block Diagram components, and creates a hassle when it comes to formatting new or existing VIs to "your style". And no more label gymnastics trying to fit what should be a 22120iFF5D2D358A179035 into a 22124i47B01DC3554D8D28 or a 22122i534509B41D018E18.


Just a few Common Terminal Configurations:



  1. Default Alignment - Not too bad, but not so great for stacking terminals vertically
  2. Block Diagram Cleanup Tool - Interesting choice of label alignment...
  3. CTRL+Space then CTRL+T - This is the "best" style, but it falls short in correctly aligning label in Icon View (arguably of inconsequence, since Icon View is not "best" style)
  4. The "Rogue Drag" alignment - Now where'd that label go?
  5. The "Monk" alignment - Everything has to be perfectly snapped to center
  6. The "There's a 'Size to Text'??" alignment - AKA - "This is what happens when I open your VI on my system" alignment
  7. The "Don't Stop - Believing - Hold on to that Feeeeling" label - I can't let go of LV 4.0 or Power Ballads
  8. The "But it takes up too much BD space - I'm'a remember what it's called" guy - or worse - "Neat, terminals can all have blank labels!!"
Oh yeah, and to add to the confusion of configuration permutations, we have some more ingredients:
Many Ideas - some very popular - have hinged around Terminal Configuration. Respectfully, I think they should all be supplanted by this Idea. The goal here is to eliminate even the need for a configuration:
  1. Default Option: Do NOT Place FP Terminal as Icon
  2. Separate label locations for Controls and Indicators
  3. Lable Position Options
  4. Add a setting to allow different label positions for controls and indicators
The prelim artwork is an attempt for an information-dense, easily-recognizable, same-footprint, attractive alternative to the current terminal configurations. It offers no display configuration, always showing the label for the sake of self-documentation. It was designed to complement the Improved Control References and the New LV2010 Local Variables. I would envision being able to double-click on the integrated label in order to rename the node.
For completeness, here's what an array would look like. Or perhaps, one of the array alternatives on the Redesign Terminals Idea that focuses on the inability to clearly show array dimensions with the currently implemented terminal:
Finally, you're not voting for my artwork, you're voting for this concept: Standardize terminal configuration to make it non-configurable, robust against self-documentation SNAFUs, and universally recognizable. Just like the zero-config behavior of the Local Variable, we want a what-you-drop-is-what-you-get Terminal.
Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEWDeploy, by Wirebird Labs: Expert Toolkits for LabVIEW
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Some thoughts:


In the BD, I prefer the small terminals over the icons because they are smaller and enough. Icons look silly, good for newbies. I think they should not be the default. Icons are useless for me.


I like the current labeling system because it's background it's transparent, which makes the BD cleaner. Having the freedom to choose the position of the label is great, sometimes necessary. The ability to choose the default position for controls and indicators terminals is great.


Big names are a problem in this idea. FP Captions are a nice workaround, but will not solve all cases. Truncating names can be a problem in names like “Recirculation Temperature 1”, “Recirculation Temperature 2”, etc. can became “Recirculation Tempe...”, “Recirculation Tempe...”, etc. Even if system keep the beginning and end of the names, removing the excess from the middle, the difference may be in the middle... It's, at least, not safe. The Altenbach's tipstrip idea works for a few terminals. With many terminals it will be a pain hover all of then to find the one you want.


Summing up: for BD cleanness and freedom of label positioning no kudos.


I'm sorry if a miss any comment before of misunderstood somebody. Let's discuss!

André Manzolli

Mechanical Engineer
Certified LabVIEW Developer - CLD
LabVIEW Champion
Curitiba - PR - Brazil