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Connector Pane Overhaul

Status: Completed

Available in LabVIEW NXG 1.0. All connector pane terminals are the same size, and the pattern is specified as a grid of terminals (30x30, 40x40, 50x50, etc.).

It has been mentioned before (here, and here, and here) that there are some problems with the connector pane. Let me add my suggestions. Does the image below ring a bell? WHAT GOOD ARE ALL THOSE CONNECTOR PANES FOR?




I suggest the following view:




The "Define New Connector Pane" will allow you to contrive custom panes to suit your fancy. It could have templates of the current connector pane collection. Below is a pane you could create with the new editor (I would suggest combining the Icon Editor with the Connector Pane Editor!!!!). The only constraints that need to be imposed on a connector is that it is rectangular and touches the edge of the icon. Otherwise, you can make it however big you want it (for all the myopics out there like me!), and wherever you want it.




Two new concepts are introduced above: empty space, and the ability to land a wire NOT directly in the center of the connector. Placing the landing as close to the center as possible would alleviate the current problem of the "gapped wire" that does not touch slim icons (look at gap on top input and the output).


Knight of NI Knight of NI
Knight of NI
Oooh, me likes it (and the graphics as well). One suggestion might be to leave the existing patterns, and have a "favorites" section under the "default (instead of recent) patterns" section which will display the patterns that crazy users who don't think like you like to use.

Try to take over the world!
Proven Zealot

I like the idea.

Knight of NI

(Don't forget all the extra useless patterns we get by rotating by increments of 90 degrees. 😮 )


> alleviate the current problem of the "gapped wire" that does not touch slim icons


Thats not really a problem. You simply need to set the bounds of the b&w icon to match the graphics. See (A) on image.


I agree, the connector panes could use a redesign. How about if we would only see the "dots" of the connector location, which, when connected, would turn into a filled circle of the correct color? (See B for how a partially connected 16 terminal pattern could look like.)


Now we no longer waste a significant part of the area for black lines and have more space for the color.


Message Edited by altenbach on 07-05-2009 10:36 PM
Marc Blumentritt

Gapped wires can be avoided in another way, too. In mechelecengr example just use the connector pane with 3 horizontal connectors and rotate 90°. Then make your icon slim and use it for all 3 color "groups" (256, 16 and B&W). The terminals are cut to the correct size.


Regarding the original idea: I wanted this, too. But after working a little bit with custom icons, I can do more or less everything with the current state. Therefore I have no need for this 😉 But I aggree, the connector pane should be made more intuitive and simple! Perhaps the custom connector pane is one solution. Perhaps altenbachs dot approach.

Active Participant

I like your idea of a custom pane, but I don't agree that many of the existing panes are bad.  I tend to use the 4in-4out pane for the vast majority of my VIs because it is simple and allow me to wire with the least number of bends in my wires.

I would agree that some of those 3in-2out panes are not useful for the same reason.

What really bugs me is when I run into a LV primative whose connector pane differs from all the exiting panes so there is no way to wire it into any of my VIs without jogs in one or more wires! 

Certified LabVIEW Architect
Trusted Enthusiast
You may also want to check out my other post that proposes a change in the wire anchor point/terminal landing. Coming back and looking at this post, altenbach's suggestion of the colored dots seems like an excellent implementation.
Trusted Enthusiast

I want to revisit this old Idea for a minute.


My two most used panes by far are the 5-3-3-5 and the 4-2-2-4. I typically like the 4-2-2-4 because it has been relatively cemented as the "standard" connector pane. I use the 5-3-3-5 for two reasons only: a subVI that has unusually many IO terminals (kinda rare), and when I want a top-dead-center Action or Method, like for AE's or FGV's (very common) (and these types of VI's will often be "slim", like my original post).


Ideally, I would like a connector pane with 4 in and 4 out with a TDC that lines up with the standard 4-2-2-4 error clusters, and has the benefit of a TDC Action/Method. This currently cannot be acheived through any rotation.


This Idea was one of my first posts, and I know now to not group so many different ideas into one post - it's difficult to vote when you like one idea but are wishy-washy about the other in a multi-idea Idea. There are two distinct ideas in the original post: 1) Get rid of the "superset" view of available connector panes in favor of a "recently used" view, and 2) Allow users to define their own connector panes.


The first idea (1) I still would really like to see. The second idea would still be a good solution for custom connector pane applications (like my 4-TDC-4 desire), but is a radical departure from the current scheme of conpane design. I would like to be able to create my own conpane layouts, but one might argue that this would create more problems than it would solve (e.g., the overenthusiastic conpane architect astronaut who goes ape over all kinds of crazy patterns). That being said, idea 2 would be neat, but I would be just as content to see a 4-TDC-4 (or 4-3-3-4, if you prefer) conpane added to the list.



Trusted Enthusiast
By the way, 4-TDC-4 should be the solution for the Change error terminals of Variant to Data function to match every other VI and Function in LabVIEW. I like the top-dead-center data descriptor of the current connector pane for that function, but it needs the 4I4O to conform to the standard.
Proven Zealot

I'd like the 4-TDC-4 very much. Not because i would focus on the "dead" connector, but to have a good way to connect inputs to API functions which should have 4I4O due to the standard.

I find it rather stupid to use the connectors between "Reference In" and "Error In" since you most often will have wire crossings because of this. Therefore, the following connection is what i prefer:


As you can easily see, the destinction between input and output is not as easy here as if using the leftmost or rightmost connections. I think that 4-TDC-4 or even a pattern using 4-4-4-4 would be a great benefit for proper wiring of subVIs without the need of wire crossings.....



CEO: What exactly is stopping us from doing this?
Expert: Geometry
Marketing Manager: Just ignore it.

My reaction to the notion of custom panes:

(1) Aaaargh!

(2) Why???


My proposal would be to reduce the number of possible connector panes.

4-2-2-4 has become a de-facto standard. 

4-1-1-4 and 4-1-2-4 are useful alternatives to 4-2-2-4 for when you might want to wire that fifth input from either the top or the bottom.

4-3-3-4 sounds like a useful addition.

The edge contacts on 5-2-2-2-5 shouldn't be uniform in size: expand the top and bottom ones so they line up with the top and bottom contacts on 4-2-2-4.  (The middle three will still be decently large, the same size as the 6-2-2-2-2-6 edge contacts.)

The higher-count panes usually mean you should be using a cluster control, but are sometimes necessary. 


Eliminate all the other panes. 

If you have fewer than 10 connections, just use one of the above and leave some connections unused.

Now there's a manageable choice of six panes to select from.  And due to their symmetry, only one "flip" option is needed.

You won't get kinks on your BD because someone used a pane with two or three connectors on one side.


If you're making a long skinny icon with more than 4 connections, use 6-2-2-2-2-6 or 8-2-2-2-2-2-2-8, rotated, and connect to the top or bottom row.


Then way we can spend our time thinking about data flow rather than contact layout.