I like to point out to various and sundry constituencies within NI that a teeny tiny handful of customers ever asked for object oriented programming.
I know. That's why I still have faith some of the grander ideas may still come to fruition.
We never got a field sales engineer reporting "My customers could really use some better encapsulation." But we got tons of requests for the compiler validating the VIs marked as not-top-level in LLBs weren't called outside of the LLB. We never got requests for inheritance, but we have many requests for more code reuse.
As a Labview end-user I often have a hard time explaining what my *goal* is and tend to focus on asking for a *specific implementation.* Maybe it's a problem all users have. My customers are always telling me *how* to do something that they think will meet their goal, only to find out afterwards that it doesn't quite work out the way they thought it would. Ironically, I'm pretty good at drilling down and figuring out customer requirements when I'm the developer... I just suck at it when I'm the customer.
R&D is fairly aware that the big changes
That doesn't surpise me at all, but I'm glad to hear it anyway. You're programmers so you understand what we're asking for and why it doesn't get more support on the IE. Here's the questions I'm wondering about:
- Does R&D have the authority to put language features on the map that add new functionality when marketing wanks are crying that an Express vi to randomize the front panel color scheme just hit #10 on the IE? (Yep, my biases are showing... sorry.)
- Which department owns the IE? It's a device to solicit customer feedback so my guess is marketing or product planners, but maybe not. I suspect neither of those groups are particularly concerned about the minority of advanced programmers who see a need for major feature additions. And when it comes down to deciding between the random color Express VI with 78 gazillion kudos and interfaces with 9 kudos, are interfaces even going to show up as an option on the slide deck.
Putting them on the idea exchange is not a bad thing. That still gives us a place to discuss a new idea in the public forums, and it can provide a one-stop-shop for all the ideas we've considered over time.
Old ideas drop off the community radar and don't get any action. Do they stay on NI's radar? Sure it provides a one-stop shop, but if product planning is just dashing in to grab the latest sugar-coated idea featured on the end cap, the old ideas will forever sit in the back gathering dust. There will always be ideas with way more than 9 kudos. How often is the entire list scoured and evaluated?
Anyway, I still like that aspect of the IE, and I hope that the "reach for the stars" and the "hey, I can dream, can't I?" ideas still get posted there.
I don't mean this to be a rant against the IE. I really do think it's a good idea and NI's commitment to focusing on the customer is admirable. It's just frustrating as a user to see relatively minor changes shoot to the top of the chart while the ideas that truly expand what we can do with the language go nowhere. You have the advantage of knowing how seriously an idea is being considered. As far as the rest of us are concerned, we often don't have any insight into what effect (if any) the idea is having on the direction the language is going. (Unless it happens to be one of the few ideas that gets picked up by NI.)