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Do you have an idea for LabVIEW NXG?


Use the in-product feedback feature to tell us what we’re doing well and what we can improve. NI R&D monitors feedback submissions and evaluates them for upcoming LabVIEW NXG releases. Tell us what you think!

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The current implementation for remote debugging needs two ports to be opened on a stand-alone firewall in between.

  • Port 3580 to connect to the NI service locator on the target machine
  • A random port for the application on the target to connect to
    This port is dynamically assigned to the application by asking the OS for a free one

 

This dynamic port cannot be pre-configured on the stand-alone firewall except by opening up the whole port rang above 1024.

The latter is something no IT person with any sense of security will do !

 

So we need to be able to pre-configure a certain port for the target application, so that we can open a dedicated port for this connection on the firewall as well.

Otherwise this whole remote debugging feature is useless to many companies.

 

There have been multiple cases in the last few years where customers (huge ones) have come across this issue. 

  • Networking Communications

If you are using TCP to communicate to a different code environment, you may want to set some of the socket options. For example, for responsive control, you will want to disable Nagle's algorithm. There is currently no obvious or easy way to do this. TCP Get Raw Net Object.vi in <vi.lib>\utility\tcp.llb will provide the raw socket ID, but you then need to call setsockopt() on your particular platform using the call library node. You can do this with the code provide here. A much better way would be adding a property node to the TCP reference that allowed you to set and query the options directly.

To support modern web thin clients, the LabVIEW webservice needs to support the OPTIONS request. When a web browser makes a cross origin request there are a few rules that the response must comply with before the browser will provide with the result to the web application. The OPTIONS request is needed to respond to these requests.

 

A cross origin request is any request where an application running on one domain needs to make a request to another domain. For example, if there was a javascript application running on the domain www.labview.com and it needed to make a AJAX request to api.labview.com, the browser considers this a cross origin request. This is a common setup when the thin client is being hosted by one server, and the webservice is being hosted by another server. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/HTTP/CORS

 

Depending on the request, the browser may issue a "preflight" request. "Standard" requests are GET and POST requests without custom header fields only require the response has an additional headers. Other requests (PUT, DELETE, GET w/ headers, POST w/ headers) require a preflight request. A preflight request is an OPTIONS request. If the OPTIONS request doesn't get an appropriate response, the browser will not even make the actual request. https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Glossary/Preflight_request

 

For example, I'm starting an application and here's how I'd like it setup.

 

1. Windows PC. This is the central server for the application. There will be a normal LabVIEW application running on this computer. There will also be a web service run on this computer. The web service will mainly host a web application written using HTML/CSS/Javascript (although it could be written using HTML vis from NXG).

 

2. A bunch of CRIOs. These CRIOs will also host their own web service to get system information, measurements, and diagnostics. As new CRIOs are commissioned, they'll report to the Windows PC.

 

Now a user uses their web browser to access to the windows PC. The Javascript Application (which is hosted on the Windows web service) provides the user with a list of all commissioned CRIOs. They then click on one and the javascript application starts to make requests directly to the CRIO's web service. Since these CRIO's are on a separate IP address, the browser flags this as a CORS request. This means that an OPTIONS request can be sent. Since I can't handle an OPTIONS request in a LabVIEW web service, I can't implement this.

 

This is just one example. Another case would be an Apache hosted web application hosted on an Amazon EC2 needs to make requests to a LabVIEW web service running in a different domain. Basically any time a web application (AKA something running in the browser) needs to communicate with a LabVIEW web service you'll run into this problem.

  • Networking Communications

LabVIEW's HTTP Request client currently does not support the PATCH method. This method is becoming increasingly more popular within RESTful API's and has been an officially recognized verb since 2010 (RFC 5789). It should be fairly simple to integrate, since LabVIEW runs cURL under the hood and cURL implements it with curl --request PATCH

 

  • Networking Communications

LabVIEW needs native SSH and SFTP connection support. 

 

In the past, LabVIEW users have had to rely on third party applications like PuTTY or ExtraPuTTY to do very basic Linux/Unix secure shell operationsNot only does it add an extra layer of complexity to the code but it is also quite inflexibleIncreasing interoperability requirements of present day (and future) computer systems rely heavily on terminal services with a vast percentage of those being SSH basedIn the past 5 years I have needed to use SSH type connections more and more inside of LabVIEW, I do not see it ending anytime soon and I know I am not alone.

 

An SSH connection could be managed in much the same manor as the current VISA and TelNet connection are managedAn example of some of the tools could look something like the below image and could come standard or part of the Internet Connectivity Toolkit.

 

2010-06-03_LVIE_SSH.png

  • Networking Communications

LabVIEW needs native SSL/TLS support for the TCP primitives. The HTTP functions support it (see \vi.lib\httpClient\ConfigSSL.vi). There are several great LabVIEW native MQTT libraries that could be commercially usable if there was native SSL/TLS support. Not having this functionality for the TCP primitives makes LabVIEW a poor choice for an IoT platform.

  • Networking Communications

The web format wars are over, and the plug-ins have lost.  Microsoft has relented and will support HTML5 and SVG in IE9, and has admitted that Silverlight's role will change to that of a Windows phone development platform.  Silverlight support on iPhone/iPad/Andoid/Chrome OS will likely never be fully formed, and will wither on the vine. 

 

New javascript/ecmascript engines that are much faster, and make use of multicore environments have arrived and work well.  The addiition of WebSockets means your browser can now open a tcp/ip socket.  I have done this, as I am sure others have, as well.  Drop an old-fashioned tcp/ip listener into your diagram, return the WebSocket handshake, and presto: you can now stream data directly to/from your browser.  WebSockets provides an "onmessage" event handler function which you can define.  Combine this with the SVG DOM, and you can transform SVG elements until your heart is content.  Two-way streaming of data between your browser and plain-old tcp/ip?  Goodbye web services, we knew you well. Good riddance, plugins.

 

I have built my own SVG UI objects using Inkscape (free), and wrote a script (notepad/Inkscape script editor, also free) to handle WebSockets communication without a gateway.  I have a simple LV class built on the TCP/IP functions that will stream data to/from a browser which is pointing to an SVG "webpanel" that I also built using Inkscape.  So far I have a simple waveform graph, buttons, LED's, progress bars, etc.  I have tested my Inkscape webpanels in Firefox 4.0 Beta and Google Chrome 9 and it works like a champ, and is very fast.  The old-fashioned LV webserver will serve up SVG files with the addition of a mime type. 

 

Screenshot_5.png

 

 

An alternative to SVG is the HTML5 <canvas> tag, which allows the rendering of graphics drawn using java/ecma script.  There is a free-for-personal-use script library called RGraph Library that you can download with lots of example code.  Here is RGraph/LabVIEW in action in Chrome 9:

 

 

Screenshot_7.png

 

 

So what is my idea?  

 

0. Ditch Silverlight.

 

1. Convert all of the nice-looking UI panel objects in the Web UI Builder from Microsoft XAML to SVG and distribute them with the  LabVIEW professional development license.  I am programmer first, and I admit my web panel objects don't look too good.

 

2. Design a script library for handling WebSockets communcation (or add native support for WebSockets to the Shared Variable Engine) and manipulating/updating the SVG UI objects from streamed WebSockets data.  Make this library open source.

 

3. Create a standard open protocol for streaming LabVIEW data that sits on top of WebSockets and is free and open.

 

4. Publish documentation for the SVG UI elements so users and thrid parties can create new UI objects.  Make use of the creativity of the community at large!

 

5. Modernize the Web Publishing Tool so that it will optionally output an HTML5 and/or SVG document that accepts streaming I/O from WebSockets.  The user could choose from compatible SVG elements to use in place of front panel elements on the VI being published.

 

6. Create a Web UI SVG element exchange for registered NI users to upload/download elements for free.

 

7.  Work toward the long term goal of adding SVG Import/Export to the control editor (with better editing tools), or make the CTL format of custom controls SVG/XML.

 

Several users of XNET miss an important function from the driver: to read signals' logical value from the database.

For example, the value of 1 means 'Initialized', 0 means 'not initialized'. We would like to read those strings.

 

See this thread.

  • Networking Communications

With the IPv4 address pool quickly getting used up I think we need to have native support for IPv6 connections in LabVIEW.

  • Networking Communications

As we increasingly integrate with HTTP servers the LabVIEW functions appear more and more limited.

 

Authentication is a major concern and in enterprise environments one option is NTLM (or Windows Authentication).

 

I would like to see the HTTP client support this as in this case we had to abandon using LabVIEW for the integration.

'Database Variant To Data' cannot be placed in an inline enabled VI making it impossible to use in malleable VIs. 

It would be nice to be able to draw on the power of the 'Database Variant To Data' VI in malleable VIs so we could be more flexible when writing database related code.

 

Please make this possible or offer a workaround (like the polymorphic instances of the VI).

The current low level implementation of TCP functions only accesses a data stream, but not the raw data of the tcp telegram. It would be nice to have a low level TCP "Read/Write Telegram" function to get additional information from header or footer, like time stamps. Maybe as a buffered stream, like the current functions.

 

The resulting cluster could look something like this:

http://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/about/ac123/ac147/downloads/customer/internetprotocoljournal/ipj_3-...

  • Networking Communications

According to the increasing number of questions about this communication protocol, it would be time to rewrite the MODBUS library. I also suggest to add it to the NI device drivers installer.

 

This could be the place to list the expected modifications. Some comments and bugs are already listed in above linked page.

There are a plethora of timestamp formats used by various operating systems and applications. The 1588 internet time protocol itself lists several. Windows is different from various flavors of Linux, and Excel is very different from about all of them. Then there are the details of daylight savings time, leap years, etc. LabVIEW contains all the tools to convert from one of these formats to another, but getting it right can be difficult. I propose a simple primitive to do this conversion. It would need to be polymorphic to handle the different data types that timestamps can take. This should only handle numeric data types, such as the numeric Excel timestamp (a double) or a Linux timestamp (an integer). Text-based timestamps are already handled fairly well. Inputs would be timestamp, input format type, output format type, and error. Outputs would be resultant format and error.

Currently, the only way to add a webservice to a project, is by right clicking a Target and selecting New->Web Service.

There's no way to add existing Web Service definitions to a project, other than manually performing the copy operation at the XML file level.

This prevents proper re-use of IP!

 

Webservice in project.png

 

I would propose extending the capabilities of a Library to also support Web Service definitions as Child objects.

That way, the library can act as a container for the Web Service definition, and can easily be reused in other projects:

 

Webservice in library.png

I tried using an XML editor to manually put a Web Service definition underneath a Library, LabVIEW didn't like that!

From:

https://forums.ni.com/t5/LabVIEW/possible-to-change-opc-ua-alarm-limits-at-runtime/m-p/3688481

 

The request is mostly in the title. Right now it seems as though changing an alarm limit requires stopping the OPC UA server. It seems reasonable to expect that users may wish to adjust alarm limits on the fly -- for my use case, tuning the system during a long commissioning process. It might be many months before a system is fully ready to go, and during that time alarm limits change regularly and we still want to report alarms to operators during this period.

  • Networking Communications

 Connecting to remote panels using LabVIEW is difficult if private networks, local private and external public IPs (under NAT), and firewalls, etc. are involved. It requires significant knowledge as well as external networking configurations (port forwarding, etc.), and possibly admin privileges to modify those.

 

There are plenty of companies that have found a way around all this. The prime example is chrome remote desktop, which seamlessly works even if target computers are in hidden locations on private networks, as long as each machine can access the internet with an outgoing UDP connection. The way I understand it, each computer registers with the Google server, which in turn patches the two outgoing connections together in a way that both will communicate directly afterwards. All traffic tunnels inside the plain Google chat protocol (udp based). Similar mechanisms have been developed for security systems (example) and many more.

 

Since the bulk of the traffic is directly between the endpoints, the traffic load on the external connection management server is very minimal. It simply keeps an updated list of active nodes and handles the patching if requested.

 

I envision a very similar mechanism where LabVIEW users can associate all their applications and distributed computers with a given user ID (e.g. ni profile), and, at all times be able to get a list of all currently running remote systems published under that user ID. If we want to connect to one of them, the connection server would patch things together without the need of any networking configuration. Optionally, users could publish any given panel under a public key, that can be distributed to allow public connections by any other LabVIEW user.

 

This is a very general idea. Details of the best implementation would need to be worked out. Thanks for voting!

 

I have been recently asked by NI to answer a poll about what feature I would like to see as far as data management and access and at that time, I didn't really think about mentioning something which is dearly missing in LabVIEW: cloud storage access.

The reason for this request is that increasingly, files used by collaborations cannot always be copied locally (for instance due to their size or because of frequent updates), or managing local copies and updating the central cloud repository is getting prohibitively time consuming and cumbersome.

 

There exist a few attempts in this direction (e.g. GDrive for LabVIEW, a third party skeleton of a toolkit to access Google Drive, or LabVIEW Interface for Amazon S3), but there are some glaring absent ones such as Dropbox, OneDrive, Box or iCloud to name the most popular ones.

As I mentioned before, GDrive is a starting point but is missing some basic features such as folder list, comments, etc.

I cannot comment on Amazon S3, as I don't use it.

Obviously, there is no way to predict which cloud storage solution will disappear in a few years from now or which one will pop-up tomorrow and become popular, but most of the work has been done by those vendors, who provide .NET API for their cloud solutions (maybe not Apple) or at the very least a RESTful API. These APIs could of course be made community projects (like GDrive is to some extent), but their importance would seem to justify a minimal investment from NI.

 

 

The current bluetooth VIs (as of LV 2014) don't support communication with the new protocol Bluetooth 4.0, referred as Bluetooth Low Energy (or Bluetooth Smart).

 

New VIs dedicated to BLE or adding support on current VIs is needed for all developers of this new bluetooth stack.

 

I would like to see more native support for compression and encryption/hash algorithms.

 

When it comes to compression and encryption. We are very much the poor relations to other languages that have a plethora of source and examples for SHA1, DES, 3DES, Blowfish, HMAC, Ryjindel, AES (encryption) and LZO, LZMA, LZW, GZip, JPEG2000 (compression) to name but a few.

 

Apart from "Zip" (which can only be used on files) and "twofish" (which is hardly an industry standard because of security concerns) we have very little choice but to use DLLs and SOs meaning our applications violate one of the biggest reasons for using LabView........cross-platform. We have very little in our tool-kit to make efficient and secure network applications for example. Especially if we are required to interface to existing systems that ave used these technologies for many years.

 

We cannot even write applications to access Twitter any more!

 

With the introduction of "Stream" prototypes in the new LV2010, it is essential to have these tools in our palettes.