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Sneak Preview: 3 New Features of LabVIEW 2014

Laura Arnold
NI Employee (retired)

With NIWeek less than one month away, you’re probably eager to learn how LabVIEW 2014 will make your life better as a LabVIEW developer. Here’s a preview of three new features of LabVIEW 2014.


1. New Icon

At NI, we’re committed to making LabVIEW as visually intuitive as possible. As LabVIEW has improved over the years, it has become increasingly common for developers to have multiple versions of LabVIEW installed on one machine. To prevent confusion and make the LabVIEW version more transparent, we’ve created a beautiful new taskbar icon. In addition to making your taskbar look great, it will also help you keep track of which LabVIEW is which.

labview_taskbar.jpg

2. Guided Error Debugging

LabVIEW is designed to accelerate the rapid iterations that are part of the engineering process. Error dialogs are one way that underlying problems are exposed to the developer so they can be addressed. When you see an error dialog, what is the first thing you want to do?

labview_error.jpg


You want to search for more information to explain what is happening and learn how to fix it. That’s why in LabVIEW 2014, every error dialog will include a link to search ni.com for the error code to uncover KnowledgeBase articles and forum threads that can help you finish your program even faster.

labview-error2.jpg

3. Auto-Wire Quick Drop Shortcut

The only thing more fun than wiring a block diagram is letting LabVIEW do it for you.


As we mentioned last November, the World's Fastest LabVIEW Programmer Darren Nattinger created a Quick Drop shortcut that allows LabVIEW to automatically connect references and error clusters between functions in a way that makes sense.

To save you development time, this functionality is included in LabVIEW 2014. You'll find it especially useful with standardized APIs like DAQmx - watch out, express VIs!

labview3.jpg


These three features are just a small sample of how LabVIEW 2014 will improve your development experience. To be ready to download and install LabVIEW 2014 as soon as it releases, be sure to renew your membership to the Standard Service Program (SSP) so that you can have immediate download access to LabVIEW 2014 when it releases on August 2.

Comments
tca-adam
Member

Hmmm... a little worried that a new icon is considered the number 1 new feature! Number 3 looks much better to me!

Mithun_770
Member

Wow can't wait to have a taste of LabVIEW 2014. Feeling excited !!!

E_Blasberg
Member

Yes, I too am dissappointed that icons is the top selling point of LabVIEW 2014.  It wouldn't be so bad if they would just stop changing the VI file format.  One should be allowed to open a LabVIEW 2014 VI in LabVIEW 2010 if the file format hasn't changed.  This way we could all have one version (the latest) but still have the files backwards compatible if clients are using an older version. 

I realize that this would not go on forever, but I find it hard to believe that it's necessary to change the file format EVERY year (I currently have versions 2009, 2010 and 2011 (because I have clients using different versions and they don't want to upgrade and I have to be able to support them) and will probably soon install 2013- I'd rather have 1 version which had the same file format for a number of years, with the only difference that functional features are added to LabVIEW- like the ones described above)...

CeesVN
Member

Ehhh, You're kidding, aren't you?

Nr 1 new feature: a new Icon.

Nr 2 new feature a link on an error message.

Nr 3 new feature: 'auto wire' (well if it's as 'intelligent' as the cleanup feature of the block diagram I won't be using it al lot....)

Like I said. I hope you're joking (and some real improvements like GIT integration will be announced at NI Week)

E_Blasberg
Member

Now that I've thought about it a little more, my guess is that they're throwing out tidbits.  The real big improvements they will, of course, save for the official unveiling.

Now, if that's true, I wonder how wise it is to throw out even the tidbits for the very reason that they're relatively unimpressive?

Still, knowing NI, I'm sure they'll have a few more surprises up their sleeves come August...

CeesVN
Member

Yeah,

Guess I'm feeling a bit offended by this 'sneak preview'.

I'm a professional software developer.

I'm making a living by building applications with LabVIEW (amongst other development tools)

And now NI cheers out "Look how we've improved LabVIEW: the Icon is now yellow and has a small '14' in it, so you can see it's version 2014".

I feel like I'm taken for some 12 year old (all that's missing is the "Facebook Like" option in LabVIEW. Oops have I spooiled that surprise?  )

But let's hope they've kept 'the real improvements' till August

Miguel_
Member

I would more appreciate the 32bit and 64bit description in the icon.

Mithun_770
Member

I too agree with Miguel. The 32bit and 64bit description in the icon is very useful.

Trouble
Member

Would you guys feel better if they numbered them backwards!? At least they are paying attention to the little things that make life just a little bit easier.

richard_steiner
Member

Is there a way to show the Vi's icon in the task bar instead of the generic LabVIEW icon?

The_Big_Lebowski
Member

Whatever happened to the fabled, elusive and PROMISED "Zoom Feature" like CAD software has?

I distinctly recall being told by several NI insiders that the zoom feature would be included "soon" back around v8.0 - v8.2 timeframe?

Zoom feature being particularly useful for larger block diagrams...

Lies.

The_Big_Lebowski
Member

Yes.  Use the icon editor.

robmacl
Member

I'm waiting for them to un-break separate compilation (for sane source control).  There was one beautiful release cycle after separate compilation was created where this actually worked.  Then some problem with typedef interaction caused them to invisibly modify referring files every time you changed a typedef.  Not my idea of how a "source file" would behave.

richard_steiner
Member

My Vis all have their own icons...

But in the task bar the Vis still appear with the generic Labview icon.

FixedWire
Member

Handy for sure and will likely help enforce better error and program flow.

The "zoom feature" would be as much a disaster as the auto grow. These two "features" would be more of a ying and yang to create more bad code.

richard_steiner
Member

There are elements that take up disproportionately ammount of space.

E.g. predefined strings constants. These should be shrinkable, just as constant structs.

The_Big_Lebowski
Member

Zoom won't lend to create bad code, but help with de-bugging or editing old spagetti code.

Ever try to find a specific VI or object in a block diagram that is the equivalant of a

12ft by 12ft wall, and the screen viewport is the comparitive size of a light switch plate?

It's like trying to find St. Louis on a 1:1 scale map of the United States, while looking through a toilet paper tube.

Michael_N.
Member

Greetings Wireworkers,

Thanks for the feedback and passion about LabVIEW. To provide some context, NI chose to highlight these upcoming enhancements because they are intended to provide productivity improvements and were based on feedback from users like yourselves. The icon feature in particular has been a long-standing request in NI's LabVIEW Idea Exchange, and should assist those LabVIEW users who are working in multiple versions simultaneously and need an easy way to keep track of versions at a glance.

These features are just a brief sneak preview and don't represent all of the new features in LabVIEW 2014. For the complete picture of LabVIEW 2014 (and a lot more), stay tuned for NIWeek 2014.

Thanks,

Mike Neal

LabVIEW Product Manager

DavidPL
Member

I would perfer a auto wire function that would wire both error and references when the next VI is dropped nearby. The current auto wire function will create one wire between a nearby VI and a newly dropped VI. Auto creating a chain at a single step could lead to connections in the wrong order, or even connections made where not intended. (Sometimes, the error should not be connected as it should be ignored by the next step.)

Drouilhet
Member

@Mike Neal,

I, too, find these productivity improvements singularly unimpressive.  The productivity announcement I really want to hear coming from NI is that you have FINALLY fixed the clean-up tool, i.e. that it no longer causes block diagrams to explode nor causes LabVIEW to crash outright.  It is maddening how little attention this has gotten.

Also, the link to a search for help in the error dialog box is a bit of a copout.  How about instituting a rule at NI that developers are not allowed to introduce error codes without documenting them?  That is, every error that can possibly appear in LabVIEW has a complete and thorough explanation in the help file.  This seems basic, but it also seems to be different from the development culture at NI.

Steve
z4gunn
Member

Yes, these minor improvements are definitely not "news-worthy", however I already have pretty low-expectations from the annual Labview releases.   I have been using Labview for over 10-years and cannot recall a major feature add since the introduction of "Object-Oriented Design Patterns."  

I find this frustrating because it is hard to justify to the cost of the annual SSP on multiple licenses. Every year I have to make the decision to renew in hopes of some major productivity improvements, but my team is constantly let down.  At least we have a good opprotunity to chuckle at what is considered a "major feature" add.

jdunham
Member

How about a real feature like associative arrays?

I like the error search feature.  I hope there will be an option to route the search through lmgtfy.com.

JIV
Member
Member

I love Labview and use it for hours everyday, but if you are going to send an e-mail, have us read the link and then show features like this, it just doesn't make a lot of sense.  I agree with the replies, embarassing.

Sorry, just honest feedback.

RnDMonkey
Active Participant

I'd love to be able to do this (show individual VI icons on the windows taskbar instead of the generic LabVIEW icon). It's a real pain sifting through the open VIs for the one I want. I'd also love it if the front panel and block diagram weren't individual windows on the taskbar, or there was some sort of glyph or indicator that let you see at-a-glance which is the FP and which is the BD.

Ryan R.

____
Ryan R.
R&D
RoyA
Member

I am not sure what you mean by an "unshrinkable" pre-defined string constant.  Are you talking about a string constant on the BD that already has text in it?  As long as 'Size to text' is NOT checked in the right-click menu you can make it any size you want.  LV will even automatically add a vertical scroll.  This has been around at least since 7.1 (I don't have an earlier version on this machine).

Chris_Cilino
Active Participant

jdunham wrote:


                       

How about a real feature like associative arrays?

I like the error search feature.  I hope there will be an option to route the search through lmgtfy.com.


                   

It isn't a part of shiping LabVIEW but the LabVIEW Container is kin to an associative array. I'd be curious to get your feedback on the idea.

Michael_N.
Member

z4gunn wrote:

I find this frustrating because it is hard to justify to the cost of the annual SSP on multiple licenses. Every year I have to make the decision to renew in hopes of some major productivity improvements, but my team is constantly let down.  At least we have a good opprotunity to chuckle at what is considered a "major feature" add.


                   

z4gunn,

I appreciate the candid feedback. Related to SSP, NI wants to ensure that SSP offers ongoing value by adding access to online training content on both introductory and advanced LabVIEW topics for all users with an active SSP contract. An active SSP contract also grants you access to phone and email support (as you may know, NI's technical support team is staffed by four-year degreed engineers from excellent schools) as well as the ability download older versions of LabVIEW when needed.

Thanks,

Mike

DavidPL
Member

Another feature that would be useful would be automatic cluster to ini file (items) feature. Just wire the cluster to a save to ini file vi, and the ini member names would be created. Then, when retrieving, the proper ini file items would be retrieved to the cluster. Automatic handling of arrays would be included.

Darren
Proven Zealot

Miguel_ wrote:


                       

I would more appreciate the 32bit and 64bit description in the icon.


                   

32-bit has a black background, 64-bit has a white background:

3264.png

DNatt, NI
josborne
Active Participant

"Meh ... is that it?"

That is the same thing I said to myself last year, when I came back from NIWeek.  Meh.

I am still waiting for some really groundbreaking stuff.  Not these little incremental improvements.

Sure, the Apple fanboys of the world always jump for joy when Apple releases silly little updates that change icons.  Yippe!  The button is blue now!  But we're engineers and scientists.  We want function.  And we're not easily impressed.  Next thing you know, NI will add a "Post to Facebook" button!

http://www.medicollector.com
Darren
Proven Zealot

CeesVN wrote:


                       

Nr 3 new feature: 'auto wire' (well if it's as 'intelligent' as the cleanup feature of the block diagram I won't be using it al lot....)


                   

I've been using it frequently during LabVIEW 2014 development. I won't claim it's perfect, but it does significantly improve my productivity by performing dozen-click wiring operations with a single key combo. Please try it out in LabVIEW 2014 (or download the 2012-2013 prototype here) and let me know if you see any areas of improvement by posting to the Quick Drop Enthusiasts community group.

DNatt, NI
SmilinVamp
Member

Agreed... I was interested in improvments.  I will join in the nay saying!

DavidPL
Member

Can you limit it to a specific chain, or will it connect the error out to input for all chains in the VI?

DavidPL

Darren
Proven Zealot

The Ctrl-Space-Ctrl-W shortcut only operates on the code you have selected. And if you have selected multiple "parallel" lines of code, it will treat them separately...wiring all the error/refnum terminals in one line, then wiring all of them in the other.

DNatt, NI
RnDMonkey
Active Participant

Darren,

I've also found the auto-wire quite handy when working with my class-based API functions. I will drop several functions in a row to create a sequence of steps, then just select them all and have the class and error terminals wired through the chain.

Ryan R.

____
Ryan R.
R&D
Darren
Proven Zealot

I'm glad you find it handy, Ryan. If you run into any issues, please let me know on the Quick Drop Enthusiasts group.

DNatt, NI
tca-adam
Member

A wise move to see that they have renamed this post from "Sneak Preview: The Top 3 New Features of LabVIEW 2014"  to "Sneak Preview: 3 New Features of LabVIEW 2014"

PrimaryKey
Active Participant

You know there is Ctrl+Shift+N Navigation window right?

Piotr Kruczkowski
Certified TestStand Architect
Certified LabVIEW Architect
The_Big_Lebowski
Member

I just thought of one Labview feature or function many people are screaming for...

Toolkits for deploymet of Labview to embeded targets of:

~Android Based

~Arduino Based

Covering these platforms would be a big game changer.

The_Big_Lebowski
Member

Piotr_Kruczkowski wrote:


                       

You know there is Ctrl+Shift+N Navigation window right?


                   

Yes.  Use it all the time.  Closest there is to zoom but not quite the same.

(I think someday I'll get a macro programmable mouse and make a macro key for nav window)

Zoom is a feature I envision as someing ultra fast using the mouse scroll wheel (like in CAD).

Because, Labview is nothing but a graphical, GUI front end C code generator anyway, right?

Sort of like CCAD   

StephenKM
Member

DavidPL,

If you haven't tried it yet I would recommend the Read-Write Anything package from Moore Good Ideas. It does a great job of reading and writing almost any data type to and from an INI formated file.

More Info and the MGI Library of Free tools:

http://sine.ni.com/nips/cds/view/p/lang/en/nid/209753

DavidPL
Member

Thanks- I’ll take a look at it.

David

kkonline
Member

Anything in Labview 2014 for the LINUX based OS? Or Labview for the generic embedded microcontrollers in the market?

skol45uk
Member

Personally, i don't care if there are no new features and just a service pack release! I must be just the most unlucky programmer when it comes to LabVIEW. Unless its fairly run-of-the-mill code, I always find a bug of some kind that support do not have much luck fixing (and I don't have the time to spend with them trying to fix it). I usually find a workaround but its such a pain! I would never dare put two versions of LabVIEW on the same machine in case of contamination of one by the other. I'd take drive images and install individually as and when. Gripe over. Be interesting to see if 2014 is stable or not.

AKA_TG
Active Participant

Thanks for updating LabVIEW and I look forward to trying out 2014.

As a long time user of LabVIEW I would be much more interested in being able to create an self-installing executable on a target machine in my company that installs only the code needed.

To do this now for a simple application with a single com port with VISA is ridiculous. The size and complexity of the installation is so long and complicated that most people who I help out are not impressed at all with LabVIEW (and me).   I love LV but I am having trouble convincing others because of this. Thank You

Ivano
Member

NI guys, really... are you kidding? I've received once again an email pointing to this thread with these 3 "secrets"... With all the new functional requests and the issues to be fixed, and with the difficulties we have with our companies and customers to justify version upgrades... are you sure this is the right way to announce LV2014?

I've dedicated my professional life to LabVIEW, so I'am speaking about something I really care of... Please tell me this is a joke and that the new version will worth the upgrade!

Thank you.

vitoi
Active Participant

Dear National Instruments,

I haven't seen a compelling new feature for LabVIEW since Events and FPGA programming, which were introduced over 13 years ago! I haven't seen a compelling new LabVIEW environment feature since projects were added in LabVIEW 8.0, which was introduced almost a decade ago. LabVIEW is close to as mature as it can get. I'm still happily using LabVIEW 8.6.1 and can't see a reason to use anything newer. There just isn't anything interesting. LabVIEW 2014 I suspect will be just the same.

To provide zing, you need to think laterally. Add the ability to directly program a popular microcontroller board (eg. Texas Instruments' LaunchPad or Arduino Due) straight from LabVIEW and you will see the excitement that has been lacking for well over a decade. (N.B. I said program a microcontroller, as per LabVIEW Embedded for ARM, not interface to a microcontroller as per LabVIEW Interface for Arduino Toolkit.)

Come on NI, you can do it. Get a move on.

The_Big_Lebowski
Member

vitoi wrote:


                       

...To provide zing, you need to think laterally. Add the ability to directly program a popular microcontroller board (eg. Texas Instruments' LaunchPad or Arduino Due) straight from LabVIEW and you will see the excitement that has been lacking for well over a decade. (N.B. I said program a microcontroller, as per LabVIEW Embedded for ARM, not interface to a microcontroller as per LabVIEW Interface for Arduino Toolkit.)

Come on NI, you can do it. Get a move on.


                   

Agreed.

I agree so much, that I already said the same thing in a post from July 16th.  Without embedded ability for Arduino (and not mere interface, a point you reinforced) the only option is to buy a used Lego brick and programm it (ARM based) then hack it for I/O.

Also, I have read in the forums that many many many people also want the same embeded target ability for   Android, but this may be propriatory?  Issues with Google?   I know Android is open source, but Google owns it.

Arduino is more community open source, so less issues?

One other core functionality that SHOULD be included in Developer Suite (and not as an expensive toolkit option) is the ability to write Labview and choice to output or convert as C++.

I know this will never happen because they would lose money.  Its all about the money.

...and I realized NI is a publicly traded company, and in it to make money...

However, it is hard to justify the steep price of some of the toolkit add-ons.

I would rather pay a little more for the Developer Suite, and less for the toolkits.

Toolkits can taylor/customize your core package based on changing needs/requirements.

Hard to do when some of the tool kits cost more than the Base Labview package.

Just my $0.02.

vitoi
Active Participant

The_Big_Lebowski, I doubt NI would loose money if they included the LabVIEW C Generator as part of LabVIEW. There would be very very few LabVIEW users that purchase the LabVIEW C Generator (I'm assuming less than 0.01%). And selling more LabVIEW C Generator applications will have no effect on flagship LabVIEW sales.

However, if National Instruments, revenue neutral, increased the price by LabVIEW_C_Generator_cost * number_of_LabVIEW_C_Generator_sold / number_of_LabVIEW_sold, the price increase would be negligible. Probably about $2.

Hands up all those that would find LabVIEW more attractive if it could generate C code (for microcontrollers, etc) for just $2 more!

The concept is along the same lines as http://forums.ni.com/t5/LabVIEW-Idea-Exchange/Increase-the-Price-of-LabVIEW-by-2/idi-p/2144730

The benefit to users is obvious. The benefit to NI is that more LabVIEW licenses would be sold, which is the main game. LabVIEW needs to at least quadruple its user base if it is to be considered more than a niche programming environment. LabVIEW could be more prevalent.

See http://forums.ni.com/t5/LabVIEW-Idea-Exchange/LabVIEW-for-Raspberry-Pi/idi-p/2082026 for the LabVIEW developer community interest in LabVIEW breaking out beyond the desktop.

In any case, the fact that LabVIEW is a mature product with dwindling new features, and commercial pressures, will see something happen eventually. (In the mean time, I'm hedging my bets, and increasing my marketability, by developing embedded programming skills in C to complement my desktop programming skills in LabVIEW. A nice combination.)

altenbach
Knight of NI

Just to wrap this all up, here are some relevant links:

LabVIEW 2014 upgrade notes (see pages 13+ for a list a new features and changes)

LabVIEW 2014 bug fixes


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