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Channel Wires Need to be Marked to Indicate the Location of the Writers and Readers

Let’s look at it another way, you have a Writer and a Reader and you have channel wires going from a Writer on the right of the block diagram to a Reader on the left.  You really should have some way of looking at the channel wire and  knowing immediately which end of the wire has the Writer.  Curved marks on the channel wire only indicate where the Writer is located in the block diagram.  See attached file which shows where every writer and reader is in the sub VIs of this complex block diagram without opening them.

Active Participant

Branched from conversation here

Tim Elsey
Certified LabVIEW Architect
Proven Zealot


Let me give you deeper details here.


First problem:

Rephrase "You really should..." as "You might want...". And, indeed, some users like yourself wanted. Others found it confusing or noisy. Remember -- there are many users who hate passionately that we draw red Xs on broken wires. To have annotation marks on finished diagrams? Those users would cry bitter tears. So, we ask ourselves -- if there are those that want them and those who do not, which should we do?


Make it an option? Options are bad for finished diagrams. A finished, working block diagram should look the same no matter whose computer loads the VI, no matter who posts the PNG image online. In a visual language, having optional annotations is generally problematic for code reading... people who have never seen the annotation tend to think the annotation means something! So "make it an option" is out.


To make matters worse, second problem, there are ambiguous cases where writers and readers both existed on both ends of the wire. That means that even if we draw annotations on the simple cases, those annotations would disappear in more complex cases. Perhaps that is a useful thing, but perhaps it only leads to more confusion if the channel no longer looks like a channel just because a user uses a more complex case.


So, if we do not draw the annotations, what are a user's options? Well...


There is a clear indicator of which is the reader and which is the writer -- the icons on the endpoints.

Should those endpoints be buried in subVIs, the user may set the icon of the subVIs to reflect the role of the subVIs.

If the endpoints are spread so far apart as to be off the screen, perhaps a subVI is warranted, as it is for so much other code.


In short, there is a balance to strike between annotating too much and annotating too little. We feel that the current amount of annotation is sufficient given our two years of work on this, looking at different diagrams and seeing how users reacted to them. You disagree. I get that. Nonetheless, leaving this idea open would only garner kudos from those who want the markings but we know that there are those who do not. It is something we are aware of and will continue to evaluate without the idea. But our hypothesis at this time is that LabVIEW is better without such annotations.

Proven Zealot