Brian Hoover, Test Software Architect at Samsung SDI and long-time LabVIEW user, shares his perspective on the impact that LabVIEW NXG has on the future of LabVIEW.
If you ask Brian to summarize what LabVIEW does for him in one sentence, he’d say “LabVIEW makes my work fun.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Keep reading to hear more about his perspective on the future of LabVIEW.
NI: What is your history using LabVIEW?
Hoover: I started using LabVIEW right out of high school, not because of anything I did specifically, though. I started working at VI Engineering, a systems integrator company near Detroit, Michigan, that works across a wide variety of industries – Automotive was always my favorite. I worked there for nearly 8 years, then moved to an Automotive Supplier in the area. I landed here at Samsung SDI and have been here for the last 2 ½ years.
I’m a Test Software Architect, which means I’m responsible for the software that’s used in my lab, which is where the battery packs for hybrid vehicles are designed. Just like a lot of automotive applications around the world, we use LabVIEW for the prototyping and design validation. There are other engineers across Samsung using LabVIEW for end of line production test systems, data logging, and lab monitoring.
NI: How has your use of LabVIEW changed over the years?
Hoover: In many ways, LabVIEW’s evolution has mirrored my own. I wasn’t a software architect from the beginning, and LabVIEW wasn’t the tool for software architects when I first started using it 14 years ago. We grew up together.
Through my use of LabVIEW, I found myself in discussions with experts in computer science and engineering. We could talk conceptually about how software is written and I could easily translate that back into the LabVIEW code. Scripting was one of the big step functions in productivity for me. Scripting is essentially writing code that writes its own code.
I certainly use LabVIEW the way it’s supposed to be used. However, I’ve pushed it in new directions, and it’s done the same for me. LabVIEW is my tool of choice for just about anything now. I also definitely use LabVIEW as a general purpose programming language from time to time too.
NI: What does LabVIEW NXG mean to you, regarding the future of LabVIEW?
Hoover: The most exciting aspect of LabVIEW NXG, is that there is a LabVIEW NXG. I’m glad that NI isn’t sitting on their laurels and continually trying to push the boundaries. I love that they’re open to rethinking concepts and implementations that might not be as useful as they were 30 years ago. They broke LabVIEW down to the foundation and have built it up better – well worth the huge investment.
They’ve found new ways to use their advantage – graphical. Of course it’s always made LabVIEW different, but it’s really what made LabVIEW special. I’m seeing improvements to areas like using hardware, where they were already best-in-class. The revamped editor is great, too. It’s more inline with how text-based editors work and solves some of the usability issues I’ve had with managing two windows for every program.
Of course, LabVIEW NXG isn’t perfect yet. The latest release introduces the WebVI. I was disappointed it didn’t quite make the 1.0 last year, but I’ve been using it in the beta and it’s fantastic. I already have projects combining traditional LabVIEW and LabVIEW NXG WebVIs. With LabVIEW NXG I’m able to develop web portals for checking on test status, and query previous report data, while the traditional LabVIEW application performs the testing. I’m able to develop these web front ends with little to no web development knowledge.