Random Ramblings on LabVIEW Design

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Muddying the Waters

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What-ho Wireworkers

Now we have entered a brave new world of stupid. Visas may need to be applied for to read this, especially if you are from the EU.

NIWeek is careering towards us at almost unnatural speed and I have got my presentations pretty much sorted. If you want to see a nervous cockney, speaking too fast and sometimes swearing here's my agenda.


I'll write about them afterwards.

For the last year or so I have been blathering on about nuance and trying to temper some of the discussions around and about software with a few more layers. On that note I'm going to make a statement and then pick it apart.

"A good software designer will produce good software regardless of language, process or methodology"

Deconstructing the argument from the above statement might therefore beg the question. If that is the case what use therefore is language, process or methodology in the task of creating software. Simply put they are not essential, but they help. Also not everyone is a good software engineer, statistics dictate that 49.9% of us is below average. I've mentioned in Agile - Tail wagging the Dog(ma) that there can be considered 5 levels of software developer.

LevelDescription - LabVIEW
-1These will take a project backwards and should be escorted from the building (and they do exist!)
1aTrainees <CLAD, start of career.
1bCLAD/CLD - interested and capable
2CLD/CLA - capable of creating nice code, can manage simple projects, probably lacking in experience.
3CLA - years of experience, educated and capable of adapting to change because the understand the implications.

To be able to thrive in a changing and challenging environment you will need at least a 2 and probably a 3. Quite a large proportion of LabVIEW jobs sit in this area and quite a few LabVIEW programmers are expected to cope on their own. This struggle will lead to the following questions and mistaken conclusions.

I'm struggling therefore there must be a problem with the language.

Most programmers have a language they like using, very few good programmers will productive in one language and unproductive in another. They may be comparatively less productive but they will still be productive.

I'm struggling therefore there must be a problem with the process.

In the wider software world if you're not using some Agile variant you are a sub-human idiot, thing is, a project has different stages, some really benefit from Agile, some don't. Consider the graph below.


Agile projects work well when there are a lot of requirements over time, for most of our projects the following seems fairly accurate. Initially we're getting a lot of requirements up until the prototype/design review. Then it settles down while we do the architectural work and preparatory stuff required to cope with the avalanche of requirements generated when the customer finally actually starts to seriously think about/use the software. For us this is the Beta stage and we like to hit it as early as possible.

True agility comes from being able to adapt to changing situations throughout the project lifecycle.

I'm struggling therefore there must be a problem with the methodology.

Here the level 3 programmer will pick the methodology that is most appropriate for the part of the project being worked upon, the personal preferences of the team,  the use cases of the customer and the limitations of the hardware. Some methods in LabVIEW are better for APIs, some are better for top-level etc etc.

The only thing I would add to the methodology discussion is that the best one is one that is shared by your team (and customer if that's your bag). There are real advantages to sharing, that's what my Mum always taught me.

And that my friends is the last time I bang this drum, I just wanted to get all my thoughts together in one place.

In 24 days I will be in Austin, if you see me stop me and say hello.

Good conversation starters revolve around comics, art, music, nature, dogs, jokes, funny videos, making things (anything), history. I'll probably be either awkward or amusing depending on my mood.

Lots of Love



Hey Steve. I'll be there, can't wait to see you!

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Marvellous, we can talk Charlie Adlard art.