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PaulG.

"VI Reader"

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My company deals with a lot of regulated industries and I frequently need to send my LV application documentation to our customers.

Most of the time, along with the Test Specs and Procedures, etc. I send a zipped file with the VI documentation in HTML format. This seems kind of cumbersome, and the "complete" VI documentation does not contain subvi's.

Has anyone thought it would be a good idea for NI to provide a "VI Reader" program? It would be similar to software(s) that allow you to read CAD drawings, PDF files, etc. It would not actually send the code itself, but in Print you could create the entire application in "VI Reader" format. My customer would have VI Reader and would be able to look at it without being able to actually edit it.

Observation: text programmers have the option of sending source code to anyone in a format anyone can read.

This sounds like it might be a lot of work for NI, with limited use, (and I seriously doubt NI would make this available for free wink.gif ) but before I send this idea over there I would like to get more input.

Thanks in advance. thumbup1.gif

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Given that LabVIEW code can be difficult to understand for a non-LabVIEW programmer, I'm not sure I see the utility of this. My thinking is that if you have the know-how to make sense of the code, then you probably already have access to LabVIEW.

That said, I can see a benefit of such a tool for looking at code from other versions of LabVIEW. Before I upgraded from 7.1 to 8.6, I felt like I couldn't really participate in some of the discussions here because I couldn't open the VIs that people were posting.

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My company deals with a lot of regulated industries and I frequently need to send my LV application documentation to our customers.

Most of the time, along with the Test Specs and Procedures, etc. I send a zipped file with the VI documentation in HTML format. This seems kind of cumbersome, and the "complete" VI documentation does not contain subvi's.

Has anyone thought it would be a good idea for NI to provide a "VI Reader" program? It would be similar to software(s) that allow you to read CAD drawings, PDF files, etc. It would not actually send the code itself, but in Print you could create the entire application in "VI Reader" format. My customer would have VI Reader and would be able to look at it without being able to actually edit it.

Observation: text programmers have the option of sending source code to anyone in a format anyone can read.

This sounds like it might be a lot of work for NI, with limited use, (and I seriously doubt NI would make this available for free wink.gif ) but before I send this idea over there I would like to get more input.

Thanks in advance. thumbup1.gif

Do you mean something like VI Engineering's "VI Documentation Generator"or more like VIpreVIEW?

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Well... I'm just working on sth like this.

Features planned for next release:

  • Exporting given VI and (possibly selectable) subVIs up to certain nesting level to navigable SWF file. Only browser with Flash plugin is required to view the file.
  • Switchable multiframe structures (Case, Event, etc.) for any nesting level
  • Only pictures are exported, not the code
  • Docs and connector pane for all exported VIs
  • Descriptions displayed as tips for all objects on BD and FP of selected classes (functions, subVIs, vi.lib VIs, terminals, etc.)
  • Simple GUI for navigatinon within SWF file: Selectable list of VIs, BD/FP switching, zooming, panning, scrolling

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Most of the time, along with the Test Specs and Procedures, etc. I send a zipped file with the VI documentation in HTML format. This seems kind of cumbersome, and the "complete" VI documentation does not contain subvi's.

This was discussed here - there's some stuff there that might help. Sounds like you need the VISTA LabVIEW HTML Documentation Generator - it packages your top level and subVIs' documentation into a neat little chm (it can export to html as well). Read more about it here (including a downloadable demo chm file that it generated).

Thanks for the plug! :)

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Check out the new NI Requirements Gateway. Your local NI sales rep should be able to demo it for you. It's a great tool for highly-regulated industries. I was shocked at the documentation level that some industries require and the hours and hours required to generate those docs, and I saw the Requirements Gateway reduce the time needed to generate AND TRACK those documents back to the source VIs from hours to minutes. Amazing tool, if you're in an industry that needs it.

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My company deals with a lot of regulated industries and I frequently need to send my LV application documentation to our customers.

Most of the time, along with the Test Specs and Procedures, etc. I send a zipped file with the VI documentation in HTML format. This seems kind of cumbersome, and the "complete" VI documentation does not contain subvi's.

Has anyone thought it would be a good idea for NI to provide a "VI Reader" program? It would be similar to software(s) that allow you to read CAD drawings, PDF files, etc. It would not actually send the code itself, but in Print you could create the entire application in "VI Reader" format. My customer would have VI Reader and would be able to look at it without being able to actually edit it.

Observation: text programmers have the option of sending source code to anyone in a format anyone can read.

This sounds like it might be a lot of work for NI, with limited use, (and I seriously doubt NI would make this available for free wink.gif ) but before I send this idea over there I would like to get more input.

Thanks in advance. thumbup1.gif

In my opinion the only use of giving code to the (non programming) customer is that the customer gets psychologically satisfied because he can hold something in his hands for what he has paid. For regulated things (I am thinking of IEC 62304) it would be of more help to have the requirement docs, risk assessment docs and so on in a nice and understandable form. Will your customer ever look into the provided code?

In some point the customer must rely on you and your company that you fulfill the requirements for the regulations. Perhaps a point for your marketing.

Another point for giving the full code to the customer is that you have a remote location where the code is stored for back up reasons.

As far as I know you can include all SubVI in the documentation. If you start Print... select multiple VIs > press Add VI Hierachy ... and you have on, two, many VIs selected for printing the VI documentation. Isn't that what you could/need to print into HTML-Documentation?

On the other hand one has to admit that LV-code is quite similar to certain UML diagrams if the SubVI are carefully choosen. So for regulation purposes I would always try to argue that a print of an upper level VI replaces e. g. an UML-activity diagram. Of course some explanation is needed but UML diagrams are not selfexplaining as well. So LV-code-prints can be part of the software documentation even on a more abstract level.

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Check out the new NI Requirements Gateway ... It's a great tool for highly-regulated industries.

Fortunately I don't need that level of control over my documentation. Usually the customer is keeping everything on file and in order. Good thing. Gateway is almost $2K ohmy.gif

In my opinion the only use of giving code to the (non programming) customer is that the customer gets psychologically satisfied because he can hold something in his hands for what he has paid. For regulated things (I am thinking of IEC 62304) it would be of more help to have the requirement docs, risk assessment docs and so on in a nice and understandable form. Will your customer ever look into the provided code?

In some point the customer must rely on you and your company that you fulfill the requirements for the regulations. Perhaps a point for your marketing.

Another point for giving the full code to the customer is that you have a remote location where the code is stored for back up reasons.

As far as I know you can include all SubVI in the documentation. If you start Print... select multiple VIs > press Add VI Hierachy ... and you have on, two, many VIs selected for printing the VI documentation. Isn't that what you could/need to print into HTML-Documentation?

On the other hand one has to admit that LV-code is quite similar to certain UML diagrams if the SubVI are carefully choosen. So for regulation purposes I would always try to argue that a print of an upper level VI replaces e. g. an UML-activity diagram. Of course some explanation is needed but UML diagrams are not selfexplaining as well. So LV-code-prints can be part of the software documentation even on a more abstract level.

I've tried printing mulitple VI's but it's cumbersome. I've tried printing "hierarchy" and it gives me fits and errors. So far I've been lucky. Customers seem to be OK with a top-level HTML document of my code. Once in a while someone might ask for a little more detail. I'll leave it at that for now.

Everyone has been very helpful. Thanks y'all for your input.

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...I saw the Requirements Gateway reduce the time needed to generate AND TRACK those documents back to the source VIs from hours to minutes. Amazing tool, if you're in an industry that needs it.

Even if you're not in an industry that needs it, Requirements Gateway is a good tool for tracking requirements across your project. Requirements Gateway isn't a requirements management software package, but a requirements traceability package, and it helps us a lot (especially when you have a tech lead who isn't software savvy that can track requirements coverage - a very important metric in several places in the development cycle).

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I pitched Requirements Gateway to my manager and he ignored me. As a result, I've written a small program that searches a VI for Free Labels like "[Covers ....] and brings you to that portion of the code. It gets a list of requirements from (for now a csv file) and calculates coverage based on the finding a label for each one. It has quite a way to go, but I'm thinking it'll be useful for those of us that can't get the funding for a commercial product.

Any interest?

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I pitched Requirements Gateway to my manager and he ignored me. As a result, I've written a small program that searches a VI for Free Labels like "[Covers ....] and brings you to that portion of the code. It gets a list of requirements from (for now a csv file) and calculates coverage based on the finding a label for each one. It has quite a way to go, but I'm thinking it'll be useful for those of us that can't get the funding for a commercial product.

Any interest?

Sure.

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Has anyone thought it would be a good idea for NI to provide a "VI Reader" program?

Sounds like a subset of functionality of the old VI Player.

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