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LabVIEW subscription model for 2022

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I'm pretty sure this is my first post on the Forum, but I feel compelled to say something regarding this topic. I inherited a course from a now retired faculty 3 falls ago that teaches data acquisition and programming for to Mechanical Engineering Technology seniors. My first semester involved using aging NI USB devices in various states of health. By the next fall (2021) I replaced the devices with non-NI hardware because I felt I could get considerably more capability with less cash. I moved to LabJack T7-Pro devices with expansion experiment boards. They provide an library of subVIs that allowed students to essentially the same experiments but without DAXmx. This was very helpful for the Mac using students since NI no longer provides a means for Macs to interface with NI hardware when using the current version of LV. 

 

With the change in landscape due to the SaaS move for licenses, I too am looking at changing directions for the software used in my course. Luckily, LabJack has free Python and C libraries that I can use. It makes user interface design much more difficult, but not impossible. I did come across Jedi One from machinechat.io for making local browser-based dashboards, so that might be part of my future solution. 

At this point I am torn between continued use of LabVIEW or changing to something else. If I stay with LV will our graduates still find jobs where they might use it? Some of our recent students/grads got their first jobs or internships in part because they knew had some hands-on LabVIEW experience. Will that still be the case and for how long?

Brian Brady, Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering Technology

Ferris State University

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At this point I am torn between continued use of LabVIEW or changing to something else. If I stay with LV will our graduates still find jobs where they might use it? Some of our recent students/grads got their first jobs or internships in part because they knew had some hands-on LabVIEW experience. Will that still be the case and for how long?

Brian Brady, Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering Technology

Ferris State University


As a well known professor at Stanford University said in the Developing with iOS class some years ago, Programming Languages are just TOOLS

 

It really does NOT matter if you use Labview or .NET or Python or Swift or Objective C

 

You shuould be able to program a software, to code.

 

That's it.

 

The sooner you remove this limit from your brain, the better

Message 442 of 732
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a chisel with hammer and a rotary hammer are both tools.. both used to drill holes in rock & concrete.

 

There is a difference between them. The question is more.. would you teach them usign a rotaray hammer when you know in the future there may be no electricity...

 

Teaching them how to drill holes is probably not the intention.. it is what you can do with those holes.. for example building a bridge.

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25+ years long fan of LabVIEW. Be aware that NI changed their business model with great impact .
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In the sciences, we were told that the tools and methods we're using will be mostly outdated and obsolete when we graduate. While that assessment was a bit pessimistic, it was true in spirit. You can't teach all available tools, you have to select a small sample.

 

Consequently, courses were about learning how to teach yourself new tools and not get trapped by the Law of the Instrument.

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@LLindenbauer wrote:

In the sciences, we were told that the tools and methods we're using will be mostly outdated and obsolete when we graduate. While that assessment was a bit pessimistic, it was true in spirit. You can't teach all available tools, you have to select a small sample.

 

Consequently, courses were about learning how to teach yourself new tools and not get trapped by the Law of the Instrument.


I agree, a good course is never about spoon-feeding information.

 

But... When applying for a job at a company that has most of its test software already written in LabVIEW, there's no denying that having previous LabVIEW experience will give you a competitive edge. While a good software engineer can adapt to new languages, that still takes time that a client or prospective employer may not wish to pay for. So teaching a course based around the tools actually being used in the real world is clearly preferable. 

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@Konan__ wrote:
At this point I am torn between continued use of LabVIEW or changing to something else. If I stay with LV will our graduates still find jobs where they might use it? Some of our recent students/grads got their first jobs or internships in part because they knew had some hands-on LabVIEW experience. Will that still be the case and for how long?

Brian Brady, Associate Professor

Mechanical Engineering Technology

Ferris State University


As a well known professor at Stanford University said in the Developing with iOS class some years ago, Programming Languages are just TOOLS

 

It really does NOT matter if you use Labview or .NET or Python or Swift or Objective C

 

You shuould be able to program a software, to code.

 

That's it.

 

The sooner you remove this limit from your brain, the better


 

Ich bin nur teilweise mit Ihnen Einverstanden. Die Sprache die verwendet wird ist nur ein Werkzeug um die Information die wir kommunizieren wollen rüberzubringen. Nichtdestotrotz, kann eine Sprache trotzdem eine Barriere sein, selbst wenn man genau weiss was man sagen will und wie man es sagen will, wenn der Gegenüber die Sprache nicht versteht.

 

You know what I mean?

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@profbrady wrote:


At this point I am torn between continued use of LabVIEW or changing to something else. If I stay with LV will our graduates still find jobs where they might use it? Some of our recent students/grads got their first jobs or internships in part because they knew had some hands-on LabVIEW experience. Will that still be the case and for how long?


There is some discussion on 'how important is the tool you use'. My experience (after ~25 years in electronics, which is always rapidly changing) is that every decade technology and tools change. So adapting is a must and which tool you use is only temporarily important.

 

The question here is "will my students find a job -easier- when they know LabVIEW?"

 

The honest answer is that LabVIEW is going downhill fast, looking at this thread and (absense of) NI response. However LV is still in use at some companies and developers are rare so having LV in your CV could open a door in specific cases. But only in the coming years (unless NI takes action). Having e.g. phyton or C would open other doors.

 

If the curriculum subject are mechanical things, not the tools used to learn about these, I think LV is easier to learn and there will be more time to spend on the actual subject and less on the tool.

 

If learning the tool is a significant part, I think the students are better of with a tool that is growing in use instead of declining... Even when this tool is less practical...

 

---

25+ years long fan of LabVIEW. Be aware that NI changed their business model with great impact .
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This is getting a bit off-topic. Of course language matters, but so does in-house training. Knowing at least one programming language makes it easier to learn another.

 

LabVIEW is fairly easy to learn, but it has its pitfalls, which novice programmers need to adapt to (error clusters, parallel programming, tight integration of UI+code, somewhat clumsy objects, etc.). Moving away from LabVIEW to the likes of Java, Python and C# you'll be wondering why everything is an object; but then again you already know what objects are from LabVIEW.

 

Last time I applied for a non-LabVIEW job I was mocked for it being a toy language. From my point of view that just says something about the interviewer. So being a good LabVIEW developer didn't help me that time; being a good software developer did.

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Although I've been 10+ years long fan of LabVIEW, I started to discourage engineers to start new projects in a SaaS language. NI must first regain trust within its community.
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Just seeing if my new signature works...


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Please join the conversation to keep LabVIEW relevant for future engineers. Price hikes plus SaaS model has many current engineers seriously concerned...

Read the Conversation Here, LabVIEW-subscription-model-for-2022
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As a well known professor at Stanford University said in the Developing with iOS class some years ago, Programming Languages are just TOOLS

 

It really does NOT matter if you use Labview or .NET or Python or Swift or Objective C

 

You shuould be able to program a software, to code.

 

That's it.

 

The sooner you remove this limit from your brain, the better


I appreciate the response. My general philosophy while teaching programming and CAD and any class that uses software tools is to emphasize that is what they are, tools. It's not about what icon you press or menu you use, but what are you trying to accomplish and how can you accomplish it with your tool. 

We have a class named Computer Apps 2 for Technology in which we teach the fundamentals of programming to help solving engineering related problems. The course description does not state what software must be used because it is not about the specific software. Currently I teach the class with Python, NumPy, and CircuitPython (on microcontrollers for CP).

 

The programming class is not a prerequisite to the class that uses LabVIEW. Students who have had the Python class and those who have not both do well if they apply themselves. Of course, most students who have already learned some Python think using LabVIEW is easier (at least for the depth at which we cover it). I tell them that is likely due to its visual nature AND that they have already studied another programming tool. 

We have a similar problem when teaching CAD solid modeling. Everybody thinks they know which CAD package is the best and therefore the one we should teach. I counter that by listing off the CAD applications I have heard our interns and graduates use in the workplace. I also counter that we are teaching the concept and process of solid modeling, not a specific software proficiency. The process is nearly the same for all brands; sketch with dimensions and constraints, extrude, revolve, sweep, etc using the sketch, and add features. More important than which icons to click on is how to meet the design intent while making a robust model. Not much different than programming. 

Thanks to all who responded to my post. I will likely stick with LV for the time being since it lets students get to reading and working with sensor values pretty quickly, which is the primary purpose of the course. However, I will keep an eye on where the future of LV appears to be heading. I will also be on the lookout for alternatives, including, but not limited to, using Python alongside a UI designing toolset. 

Brian

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