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LabVIEW: Looking at constants differently

Member

I have started listening to the LabVIEW podcast by VI Shots and am finding them really interesting. The last one I listened to was Five Tips to improve your LabVIEW Application with Fabiola De La Cueva. After listening to the podcast, I could relate to most of the tips and see where I was going wrong.


Then earlier this week I attended NI Days where I went to a presentation by LabVIEW Champion, Steve Watts and he spoke about the same subject. This triggered in my head that I should start to make an effort to create a set of rules for myself to stick to in all my applications.


So today I started by looking at constants differently.


This is from Fabiola’s presentation where she asks what is a constant?

As can be seen from the slide above, PI is a constant, the number of seconds in a minute is a constant but the number of flux capacitors in the DeLorean might change so is therefore not a constant.


This means that using ‘constants’ in a program should be limited to ‘True Constants’ and ‘Variable Constants’ should either be wrapped in a vi or loaded from a configuration file.


Wrapping a constant in a vi and adding all your applications’ constants to the project makes them easy to manage and change if needed.

I have created a library which I will add to all my projects. This library will then be used as a template for the most common constants used in an application. I then make copies of each as needed, name them ‘xxx_constant.vi’ and use a comment in the application to indicate what the constant does.


I have tried to keep the icon colour the same as the default wire colour for each type making reading the application easier. You can get a copy of my library here if you want to have a look at it or use it.


The other method mentioned in the presentation is reading variable constants in from a configuration file. I have also tried this using an XML file which works well and is quick to implement. I will do another post with my vi’s I used some other time.


I hope this post has been able to help someone use better style. If I have done something wrong or not understood the concept properly, please leave a comment and let me know so that I can correct it and learn better style.

Original artical posted at http://etchingpathways.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/labview-looking-at-constants-differently.html


Greg