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  1. For a while now I've been mulling over a gap in what I see as software in general. This has nothing to do with LabVIEW, per se, but it is the reason we need CLAs and System Engineers to translate what the customer wants into what the customer gets. A good example of this is the CLA exam. There, we have a well written, detailed requirements specification and a human has to translate that into some "stuff" that another engineer will then code. So why do we need an engineer to translate what amounts to pseudo code in to LabVIEW code? Maybe 10-15 years ago (before scripting was a twinkle in the milkman's eye), I had a tool that would scan word documents and output a text file with function names, parameters and comments and this would be the basis for the detailed design specification. I would create requirements for the customer with meetings and conversations and generate a requirements specification that they could sign off in Microsoft Word. Unbeknownst to the customer, it had some rather precise formatting and terminology. It required prose such as "boolean control" and "Enumerated Indicator" It also had bold and italic items that had specific meaning - bold was a control/indicator name. Italic was a function or state . It was basically pseudo code with compiler directives hidden in the text. Roll forward a few years and people were fastidious about getting CLD and CLA status. Not being one of those I looked at the CLD exam and saw that a big proportion of the scoring was non functional. By that I mean making sure hints and descriptions are filled in etc - you know, the stuff we don't actually do in real life. So I wrote a script that read the exam paper (after exporting to text), pulled out all the descriptions and filled in all the hints, labels and descriptions. It would probably take 5-10 minutes recreating it in an exam but ensure 100% of the score for that part of the test (this later became Passa Mak, by the way). So that got me thinking, once again, about the CLA exam and the gap in technology between specification and code. I have a script that takes a text file and modifies some properties and methods. It's not a great leap to actually scripting the "stuff" instead of modifying its properties. I don't have the Word code anymore, but should be able to recreate it and instead of spitting out functions, I could actually script the code. We could compile a requirements specification! If not to a fully working program, at least so that an engineer could code the details. Doesn't that describe the CLA exam? So I looked at an example CLA exam. Woohoo. Precise formatting already .......to be continued.
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