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In LabVIEW IDE, when configuring executable build specifications, under "Version Informtion", it could be greate to have a string control to store free information depending on our version numering management (ex: alpha, beta, release candidate ...). This value could be used as a postfix to the 4 digits version (ex: version "1.3.0.1 alpha 5").

 

In "Details" tab of Microsoft Windows executable files, the "Product version" metadata is a string so there should be no problem.

 

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I wish LabVIEW had Official Container (Docker) Images.

 

With more and more users trying to use the docker in Continuous Integration, it would be 

interesting supporting a NI Official Image on Docker Hub (or any other place). Containers provide an easy way of creating reproducible tests and builds.

 

The build of LabVIEW docker images has been feasible since NI Package Manager command line was launched, and for NI wouldn't be a new thing.

 

The advantage is that the images (Windows, Linux or Mac OS) could be optimized by NI team only for working for LabVIEW, shrinking size and removing unused files.

 

Anyone else would support this idea or has anything to complement?

This is not directly a LabVIEW idea, but it is still an idea that impacts many LabVIEW programmers.

 

To keep my distribution small, I distribute my installers without run-time engine and instruct the users to download and install the relevant run-time engine. I provide a link to the run-time download page.

 

Note that these users are NOT NI customers and not interested in any NI products. They are my customers (well, my programs are free) and are only interested getting my programs to work on their PC. They don't even care what was used to develop the program. There is no extra hardware involved. If they already use NI hardware, chances are they already have a profile.

 

My users don't need a NI profile and don't need the follow-up phone call or e-mail from NI, etc.

 

Typical phone exchange yesterday:

 

me: "just click my installer and install the program"

him: "OK, done."

me: "now run it."

him: "OK, ...... error about 2013 run-time engine".

me: "OK, install the run-time engine using the link I sent you in the same e-mail".

him: "clicking the link to go to the run time engine page....

        (..30 second discussion to decide between downloader and direct download...)"

him: "click..(wait for it!)... .it wants me to register..."

me: "OK, let's forget about that. come down to the lab and I will do it for you."

 

End result: more delays (it was late Friday and I was ready to leave), more work for me, more hassle.

 

While gazillions (:D) of registered users sounds good on paper for NI, these are false numbers because many profiles are one-time use and quickly forgotten.

 

I think downloading a run-time engine should NOT require a NI profile. Maybe it should still offer to log in or create a profile, but there should also be a bail-out option similar to "[] I don't want to register at this time, just download the run-time!".

 

 

Note that even better long term solutions have been proposed, but this idea could be implemented quickly and does not even need to involve any LabVIEW developers. 😄

It has come up in discusssions that NI does not really cater to hobbyists. A cheap and functional version of LabVIEW is limited to the student edition, which is restricted to a small subset of potential users.

 

 From the  FAQ:


"The LabVIEW Student Edition is available to students, faculty, and staff for personal educational use only. It is not intended for research or institutional use."

 

As a suggested first step, I suggest to remove the academia restriction and mold it into a new product:

 

--- LabVIEW personal edition ---

 

Licensed as follows:

"The LabVIEW Personal Edition is for personal use only. It is not intended for commercial, research or institutional use."

 

 It would be available to anyone for noncommercial home use.

 

LabVIEW currently has the home use exemption that allows installing a copy at home. Unfortunately, if you lose your job, you not only lose your health insurance, but you also lose access to LabVIEW, thus hampering any self paced LabVIEW tinkering that possibly would improve future job prospects. I am sure many retired LabVIEW engineers would love some recreational LabVIEW use. They could be a great asset, because they will have more time helping out in the community and forums. They could even give guest presentations at user group meetings, for example.

 

The LabVIEW personal edition should include all modules of interest to the hobbyist, including application builder, embedded, FPGA, and robotics.  We should be able to distribute built applications as freeware. Support would be limited to community support.

 

Installing LabVIEW on every single private home computer in the world would cost NI exactly nothing (except for some sales of the current student edition which is about the price of a textbook, some internet bandwidth, and loss of the zero to two (?) multi-millionaires who actually bought the NI developer suite for themselves. ;)). 99.9% of users would never touch it, but that 0.1% could come up with great new application areas and would help spread the word on how great LabVIEW really is. Soon 0.2% would use it. 🙂

 

It should follow the "customer class limited" Freemium model, (as defined by Chris Anderson), i.e. limited to personal home use in this case.

 

The running applications should be clearly identified to prevent commercial use. The splash screen and "about" screen should prominently display the words LabVIEW and National Instruments and could even be used for NI advertising and product placements, for example.

 

 

Currently, if a new version of LabVIEW comes out with new shortcut menu plugin or a quick drop shortcut, that is written in LabVIEW the only way to have that added for older, still supported versions is to save them to for the oldest version, and copy them to the respective folders.

I wish, that the new features in these categories would be available trough download for the supported LabVIEW versions for everyone that has a license.

I would love, if these were separated into their own package, that is a dependency of the LabVIEW installer, but could be updated later from the package manager.

Problem

Many times, the bulk of LabVIEW development happens on computers that will never interface with hardware. A dozen engineers may be collaborating on code that will ultimately run on a dedicated machine somewhere, that is connected. Yet, as things currently are, I have to install more than I need on my development machine to get access to API VIs. If I am working on my laptop on an application with DAQ, RF, Spectrum analyzer, etc. components, I have to choose to either download and install all of that, or deal with missing VIs and broken arrows. This seems needless, since my particular machine will never actually interface with the hardware.

 

Idea

I would like to have the option to install only the LabVIEW VIs and ignore the driver itself. In many, if not most cases, the LabVIEW API could be independent of driver version. It could install very quickly, since it would just be a set of essentially no-op VIs. I don't care that the VIs would do nothing. They would just be placeholders for my development purposes. This would allow me to have full API access to develop my code without having to carry around large driver installations that I will never actually use.

Currently in LabVIEW if you build an installer you end up with a hierarchy of files that look like this:

 

singlefile1.png

 

If you want to distribute this installer via the web, you need to use a third party program to zip it up, or create a self-extracting zip file.  Since LabVIEW can already create zip files with no problem, I propose the ability for LabVIEW to create a single file installer that can easily be distributed, like this:

 

singlefile2.png

 

This can be as easy as a checkbox in the current installer Advanced page:

 

singlefile3.png

The last decade has seen a fantastic development in using neuronal networks to analyze data. Neuronal networks allow doing nowadays feasts that were unimaginable a decade ago at a tremendous speed. The latest release of LabVIEW allows using old TensorFlow versions <= 1.14. About four years ago, TensorFlow switched to TensorFlow 2.0, which resulted in a significant transformation in how models are organized. Models developed in TensorFlow <2.0 are incompatible with current standards. If National Instruments aims to maintain its position in the market of computer vision, developing tools to use current TensorFlow versions is a MUST.

 

The default LabVIEW environment option should not show terminals as an icon. 

 

IconTerminals.png

Problem

When creating an installer for my built LabVIEW application, I really dislike having to choose between including the RTE installer (and having a 100+ MB installer for my application) or not including it (and requiring my users to download and install the RTE as a separate step).  Typically, I'll build two installers at the same time (with roughly duplicate build settings): a full installer w/ RTE and a light installer w/out the RTE.

 

Proposed Solution

What would be much nicer would be if my app's installer were able to download and install the RTE, if necesary.  Actually, this is common practice, these days, for users to download a small installer that then downloads larger installer files behind the scenes.

For all of the work the knights of the forum do, I propose that upon retirement they receive a lifetime license to LabVIEW.

  1. They deserve it.
  2. Their help on the forums for other users cannot be quantified. 

Not sure where I read it on the forums, but I think it stinks that @Ben needs to wait until the community edition is released to have a working copy of LabVIEW.

 

mcduff

Yup,  Upgrading LabVIEW versions takes a day.

 

The "Process" today is:

  • Install from media
  • Configure the new LabVIEW.ini
  • install tookits (OpenG, Deploy, VIPM, TSVNtk.....)
  • Mass Compile all them......
  • Fix palatte views... and import and mass compile User.lib\ for here.....
  • Sync glyphs on the icon editor (If the link works......)
  • Add VIT's
  • Add Project Templates
  • Mass compileVIt's and Templates
  • fix "Metadata.xml"...

.

.

Yup, about a day of watching paint dry...........mass compiling, ignoring warnings etc......

"MyLabVIEW" would find all of those customizations and import them to the new version!

When creating an installer for a built LabVIEW application, it is very difficult (see here) to include an additional 3rd party installer (such as a device driver or application that your built application depends upon).  What I'd like to see is a solution that treats 3rd party installers as first class citizens.  I'm imagining a new "Additional 3rd Party Installers" page of the Installer build specification properties dialog.

 

2-3-2010 1-35-27 PM.png

 

This page might look something like the one in the screenshot below, allowing users to add a folder that contains the 3rd party installer files and define a command that is run inside that folder during the install process.

 

2-3-2010 1-41-08 PM.png

 

When LabVIEW builds the installer, it would suck the additional installer folders into the main installer and, after installing your app files and the additional NI installers, it would sequencially extract your additional 3rd party installers into a temp folder and then execute the command line to run.  This is a pretty simple scheme that would really simplify the process for end users.

 

I'm sure I didn't address every issue of this use case, so please, everyone, feel free to add your own ideas.  I'd love to hear your comments.

NI send us the NI Developer Suite each year on DVDs all packed in a nice little NI branded dvd carry case. We are on the SSP suscription and we receive 3/years, which means I have a whole stack of them.

 

I suggest that NI start shipping USB keys instead. USB has several advantages:

 

  • USBs are smaller
  • USBs are more usable on devices without DVD player
  • Installing with one large USB means no more DVD swapping. I can go to lunch while NI installs/updates without having to change the DVD every couple of minutes.
  • USBs are reusable: when you get a new version on LabVIEW on a new USB, you can use the old one for regular usage. This also means less waste, since the USB keys are still in use after a new version ships, but the DVDs are useless.

 

Ship developer suite on NI USB keys

Having sold applications that use functionality from the OPC UA Toolkit we run into an issue if we upgrade our LabVIEW version and continue to develop those applications beceause the OPC UA deployment license will then stop working if we upgrade the software we have delivered to them to one developed in a newer version. So, even though the customer has an OPC UA deployment license and we have an updated developer license it is not enough because the deployment licenses have to be updated as well (and it does not help that deployment licenses are not something we can bunde with the upgrade of the software either). From what I understand new deployment licenses will not actually cost anything, they are provided by NI as long as you already had a deplyment license for the previous version - but the logistics of this is a nightmare for us. Instead of just delivering a new installer with an updated version of our software we have to get involved in upgrading the dpeloyment license for all of their systems each time we have gone to a new version of LabVIEW.

The list of available LabVIEW modules and device drivers is very long. Their names tend to be long too, which is compounded by the many levels of nesting. Modern screens are large.

 

Given all that, why are we selecting software components by scrolling around a tiny window which can't be expanded?

 

tinyinstaller.png

(Note: most of the trees above aren't exen opened yet!)

 

 

Proposal: Make the window bigger (vertically and horizontally), or resizeable, or both.

 

Thanks for listening!

Could it be possible for LabVIEW (even if only for versions 202{1,2,3} onwards etc) to make an attempt to open newer files and just break them when new features are used?

 

The comments in this Idea (LabVIEW Compatibility Modes) suggest this and related ideas, but it isn't the main part of that idea, so I'm posting it separately here.

 

An ideal solution for me would be for VIs to automatically save back in the 'oldest' version that they would support (and perhaps not be 'up-compiled' on load), but this idea has been discussed a few times and doesn't appear to be something NI will support.

 

An alternative (perhaps only possible in currently unreleased versions?) might be to have LabVIEW 202x try and open a VI saved in 202<x+n>, and then give the symbol for missing VIs (ideally with the name, if possible) for anything that isn't supported.

 

As an example, trying to open a VI using Insert into Map (if this were available for existing LabVIEW versions) in LabVIEW 2018 could produce something like

cbutcher_0-1596430804139.png

with the Context Help giving me a clue as to what was lost - I could then Google "Insert into Map LabVIEW" and try guess how I might replace it (here, probably with Variant Attributes).

 

I'm posting this idea in relation to some comments I've recently heard regarding sharing and packaging code with LabVIEW, and how even when other (text) languages add new features and so code using them will fail to compile, their users/developers can still open the code, try fix bits, or generally workaround issues (and evaluate the benefits of upgrading, if the changes are large).

New versions of LabVIEW continue to have significant new features, so upgrading seems like it will continue to be at least my preference, but not everyone has the same requirements/situation/SSP/blah blah blah.

The Problem:

When storing many builds of installers, currently there is no easy way to find out the version number of the exe that the installer installs.

 

In the past I had tried to work around this by programmatically setting 'Installer Product Version' to the same as the exe in my build script. Installer Product version can be found in the installer's nidist.id file under [Volume Id]>DistributionVersion, and the setup.ini file under [Distribution]>Version. This works nicely until you want the build number, or major/minor exceeds 255: 'Installer Product Version' is stored in the format major.minor.fix and the max values are 255.255.65535 i.e. u8.u8.u16. This is a limitation of MSI installers. See:

Version Information Page (Installer Properties Dialog Box) - LabVIEW 2018 Help - National Instruments
ProductVersion property - Win32 apps | Microsoft Docs

 

 

Executables have Version Numbers in the format major.minor.fix.build, with max values 65535,65535,65535,65535 i.e. u16.u16.u16.u16


I would expect the installer's setup.exe's File version (under Properties>Details) to be settable as major.minor.fix.build, but this is not the case. File Version seems the most appropriate as it is 4 digits and this is used in built exe's. I would like this to be settable via property nodes (in the same way as .exe's) as it does not have the u8 limitation and does not omit the build number. Currently property nodes do not affect it. If numbers larger than the u8/u16 limits are set via property nodes, they max out in nidist.id and setup.ini. Another acceptable workaround would be to include another key/value pair in nidist.id or setup.ini that allows u16 major.minor.fix.build to be set via property nodes.

 

 

Proposed Solution:

Property nodes affect the installer's Setup.exe version number under properties, with max values of u16.

leahmedwards_0-1644830421412.png

 

Or there is a new key/value pair in nidist.id or setup.ini that allows u16 major.minor.fix.build to be set via property nodes, in addition to the existing key/value pairs that have some u8 max values and omit build number.

 

Perhaps this will no longer be an issue if NI moves away from MSI installers...

For distribution, only package necessary libraries in installer packages built with the project. A lightweight UI, server, or client does not need a full 70MB+ installer that bloats out to a few hundred MB's once installed! A colleague has remarked that the total size of our LabVIEW application+RTE EXCEEDS the entire size of the XPe image running on the embedded computer! This becomes an issue when distributing software upgrades to places in the world without high-speed internet connectivity.

If you install anything (anything!) from NI on a computer that runs windows 8 or newer, you will get bugged by a dialog to disable fast startup. The option is enabled by default, no matter what you install. It will popup with every single install, even minor patches, and even if this option has been intentionally unchecked in the original installation to be patched. If you don't want to disable fast startup, it is a never-ending whack-a-mole of these dialogs. (... but the need to disable fast startup for some scenarios is a more general problem that NI needs to address. It could be a new idea, but I think NI is aware of this problem. It might even be something that Microsoft could address such that devices don't get lost in the scenarios where fast startup causes problems)

 

This idea is centered around executables that we built and distribute via installers..

 

While this option (=disabling fast startup) can be useful when certain DAQ hardware is used, it makes absolutely no sense for other LabVIEW programs. Most of my programs don't use any DAQ hardware and it is not reasonable to globally cripple every single computer that has them installed. People tend to click [next] without reading, assuming that the defaults are typically reasonable.

 

Currently, this install query can be silenced by editing the setup.ini and changing the entry "WinFastStartup=1" to "WinFastStartup=0". I have built dozens of applications over the last few days and it is becoming seriously annoying to constantly remember to do that.

 

I suggest that the installer builder should get another checkbox that allows us to set that option permanently. Here is how it could look like.

 

 

  • Checking that box will give the current experience where the installer asks to disable fast startup. (it could even be checked by default to mimic the current default behavior)
  • Leaving the box unchecked will skip that dialog and will not disable fast startup.

 

IDEA SUMMARY: Allow us to configure the fast startup dialog from the installer builder tool.