This week's nugget is a public service announcement. I would like to advocate the use of a LabVIEW feature that is currently shunned by many, including some of our most experienced users. In fact, a couple of my own teammates refuse to use this feature. Before I tell you what feature I'm talking about, I want to remind everyone that I am not a Marketing guy. Also, I readily admit that there are several LabVIEW usability features that I do not use...Auto wire routing, red Xs on broken wires, auto grow on structures...all of these (and many more) are disabled in my Tools > Options settings. However, I have been using the following feature since its inception, and I haven't looked back...
The feature I'm talking about is the Auto Tool. If you have tried the Auto Tool before and you hated it, I'd like for you to give it another chance...its behavior improves with every LabVIEW release. If somebody else has told you the Auto Tool is no good, give it a try anyway. I'd like for you to try using it for one whole week. I'm sure the first few days will be tough, but I honestly believe that my G coding is significantly more efficient because I use the Auto Tool. Now, there is an option in Tools > Options that locks the Auto Tool and doesn't let you Tab...I have this feature turned off, because occasionally I need to do something not supported by the Auto Tool, like coloring items. But as soon as I use the coloring tool, I shift-click to bring up the tools palette so I can turn Auto Tool back on. In fact, other than coloring items, the only other non-default Auto Tool behavior I can think of that I ever use is to hold down Shift when I'm using the Auto Tool with Enums and Rings to switch between editing the text and changing the selection.
Now I've heard all the complaints about the Auto Tool...(1) it's too slow when switching between tools, (2) it never picks the right tool for the job, and (3) you have to move the mouse to a really specific location (within a few pixels) for certain wiring, positioning, and operating operations. I've found that (1) and (2) are really not an issue in more recent LabVIEW versions, and as for (3)...that's why I'm asking you to try it for a week. Once you're used to the specific Auto Tool regions for given objects, you should find that your programming speed is improved dramatically.
So that's it for my public service announcement. I understand that not everyone agrees with me...in fact, my two teammates who hate the Auto Tool still hate it, even after a long discussion the other day in which I brought up all these points. But if you try it for a week, and make yourself learn its subtleties, you'll definitely be on your way to programming G as fast as me. 😉
P.S. - Check out past nuggets here.
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
I agree that the auto tool is great!
I strongly prefer one-handed programming, it leaves my left hand for other tasks (drinking coffee, leafing through some manual or scientific paper, rubbing my chin in deep thoughts, holding the phone, etc.). 😄
... Now, there is an option in Tools > Options that locks the Auto Tool and doesn't let you Tab...I have this feature turned off, because occasionally I need to do something not supported by the Auto Tool, like coloring items. But as soon as I use the coloring tool, I shift-click to bring up the tools palette so I can turn Auto Tool back on.
I prefer a slight variation of this:
My auto-tool is locked on and does not let me tab! However if I need to color something, I just shift-right-click and select the coloring tool (or e.g. the text tool for typing items in a ring). When done, I just hit tab to lock the autotool back on. 🙂
Same difference, except that the options are left at the defaults (I consider this an advantage). My version might also be a bit more efficient, because you often need multiple tabs to get the right tool, but I only need a single tab to go back to auto. 😄
Message Edited by daveTW on 07-03-2006 11:32 PM
Since the discussion here I tried the Automatic tool. As with many things, if it works good it's only getting use to.
After a few weeks ( i don't use LV the every day ) and forcing myself to keep using the tool I don't want to work without it anymore.
I believe these comments are in the linked thread a couple people have mentioned, but my summary of my autotool tips: