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Probe Watch Window usability issue

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Typically I almost always use several probes concurrently when I need to debug some code (and by this I mean I need to look at several probe at the same time).

In LabVIEW 2009, every newly created probes is automatically embedded in the Probe Watch Window.

post-121-125009537371_thumb.png

What that mean for me that instead of doing the following (for creating a new probe):

  1. Right click on wire >> Probe (Or custom Probe)

I now have to do the following (for every single new probe):

  1. Right click on wire >> Probe (Or custom Probe)
  2. Go to the Probe Watch Window and either:
    • Click the "Open in New Window" Button
    • Right Click "Open Window" Button

Basically this take twice as much effort as before.

This is a real impediment to the user productivity.

Am I the only one with this issue?

I was also wondering if anybody knows of some ini settings ("secret" or not) that will let newly created probe to be floating instead of attached to the probe window (I looked for something like this in the option window but I did not find anything)?

Note 01: I don't really have a pb with the Probe Watch Window per say. It is actually useful (among other things) that it list the probe by VIs.

Note 02: The value column in the Probe Watch Window is insufficient in most case because it is either very hard to read for compounded data structure (cluster or array) or it requires an extremely large screen resolution to display (again for compounded data structure).

PJM

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Too bad you cannot select multiple probes in the watch window and view them in the Probe Display frame simutaneously (with enough screen real estate). Perhaps this is a good suggestion for the Idea Exchange!

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Typically I almost always use several probes concurrently when I need to debug some code (and by this I mean I need to look at several probe at the same time).

In LabVIEW 2009, every newly created probes is automatically embedded in the Probe Watch Window.

This really wants to be an option doesn't it ? I wonder if there is a magic ini file string that turns this behaviour on or off ?

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This really wants to be an option doesn't it ? I wonder if there is a magic ini file string that turns this behaviour on or off ?

I was just thining the same thing - something that either embedded them or floated them by default...

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I think this is a big "Oops!" on NI's part.

I'm hoping for the undocumented LabIEW.ini key...

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I agree, its soooo annoying angry.gif , but I’m happy they changed the Shift-Right click option on a tab control that really annoyed me when upgrading to 8.6

In 8.6 you can’t get to the tool palette when Shift-Right clicking on a tab control.

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I'm hoping for the undocumented LabIEW.ini key...

So do I.

I did a quick search for this and so far I have not found anything. I may have use the wrong keywords (I hope)...

The only thing I got is "smartProbesEnabled" and this is an old key (not sure what it is doing).

PJM

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I agree completely -- I really don't like the probe watch window or the fact that all new probes are automatically added to this window.

I recommended adding this to the LabVIEW Idea Exchange.

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+1.

I also don't like the fact that closing that huge probe manager closes all probes. I think it would be better if it was more of a dock, whereby we could drag them in and out and if we closed it only those inside it are closed.

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*sigh* I wish we had heard about this during the beta program... the only feedback during the beta program was that this was a great feature and a major improvement to the usability of probes. We discussed a popup option on wires "Create Probe Inside Watch Window" and "Create Probe Outside Watch Window", and we decided that was loading up the popup menus too much. We talked about the multiple-select to pop probes out of the watch window, but the feature wasn't implemented because there didn't seem to be any desire for it from our users, so the developer spent time on other aspects.

In his opening post, PJM_LabVIEW says he wants to see multiple probes at the same time. The text view in the Probe Watch Window does show you the value of the probe, and for all the use cases that we heard about, this was not only acceptable for that use case, it was preferred because it meant that all the probe values were lined up in a column where it was easy to monitor which value didn't match the other values in the list, instead of having probes scattered all over the screen.

If the text portion of the default probe does not show you the information that you are most interested in, one workaround is to create a custom probe. There's a new output from custom probes, a string, that is the string that will be displayed in the text portion of the probe watch window.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no undocumented config token to change the behavior of the probe watch window.

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I agree completely -- I really don't like the probe watch window or the fact that all new probes are automatically added to this window.

I recommended adding this to the LabVIEW Idea Exchange.

After playing around with the new probe watch window, I'm on the fence about it. I find it useful to have a centralized location with all my probes, but I also find it to be "not the way I'm used to doing it". I sort of think that I'd like the best of both -- have a probe watch window that shows all the probe values but optionally let the probes float freely, by default.

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If the text portion of the default probe does not show you the information that you are most interested in, one workaround is to create a custom probe. There's a new output from custom probes, a string, that is the string that will be displayed in the text portion of the probe watch window.

This is a very good feature (the string output), unfortunatly it doesn't play well with old versions of LabVIEW. At least in 8.5 a probe witht the new layout (string added) will not load in LabVIEW 8.5 as a custom probe.

After playing around with the new probe watch window, I'm on the fence about it. I find it useful to have a centralized location with all my probes, but I also find it to be "not the way I'm used to doing it". I sort of think that I'd like the best of both -- have a probe watch window that shows all the probe values but optionally let the probes float freely, by default.

Ditto.

Ton

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To the best of my knowledge, there is no undocumented config token to change the behavior of the probe watch window.

That's a shame.

From a quick trawl through the LabVIEW folder it doens't look like the probe window is implemented in G which would have given some chance of replacing it with customised code.

My particular irritation (aside from the lack of option to change the default float/non-float) is that having floated the window, closing it re-embeds the probe rather than having it remove the probe like it used to. I was looking for something like a toggle on the context menu on the probe watch window to re-embed the probe window which seemed like the more obvious place to go...

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*sigh* I wish we had heard about this during the beta program...

It might be a good idea to have (re)design discussion in a more public setting (like the idea exchange or here on LAVA) prior to reaching the beta phase, since:

  • It's harder to change something that's already implemented
  • The time window for the beta program is relatively short
  • The conversation isn't visible to a wide audience

Of course, the flip side of it is that you don't get real usability feedback until people can actually use the feature (when it hits beta). I guess that I would also add is that it would be great if features like this would have a setting/option that allows users to revert to the original/legacy behavior. And, I think that this is one of the guiding principles of the new annual release cycle of LabVIEW -- features should be implemented in such a way that allows them to be switched ON/OFF, based on whether they are ready at the time when the product is scheduled to ship.

I hope this is helpful :)

Thanks,

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In his opening post, PJM_LabVIEW says he wants to see multiple probes at the same time. The text view in the Probe Watch Window does show you the value of the probe, and for all the use cases that we heard about, this was not only acceptable for that use case, it was preferred because it meant that all the probe values were lined up in a column where it was easy to monitor which value didn't match the other values in the list, instead of having probes scattered all over the screen.

I also like the probe window (I like the centralized location).

For the use case I mention, for some reasons (even when I have enough room to read the entire value) this does not work for me. I am trying to change my habit, (but so far I still have to detach the probes) when I look at the stuff in a table it is very quickly very difficult to figure out which probe is what. For instance I put probes on the same cluster wire after and before I operate on it. With floating probe I basically put on probe on the left (the "before") and on probe on the right (the "after"). from that point on I don't have to use any brain cell to figure out which probe is what (I visually very quickly "know"). When it is on the table, I can't find them as efficiently and I have to float them out of the probe watch window (Note: alternative row color my help find these probe better).

If the text portion of the default probe does not show you the information that you are most interested in, one workaround is to create a custom probe. There's a new output from custom probes, a string, that is the string that will be displayed in the text portion of the probe watch window.

Are you suggesting to create a custom probe for every data type so I can format the string to my liking? I don't think that this will improve my productivity.

*sigh* I wish we had heard about this during the beta program... the only feedback during the beta program was that this was a great feature and a major improvement to the usability of probes. We discussed a popup option on wires "Create Probe Inside Watch Window" and "Create Probe Outside Watch Window", and we decided that was loading up the popup menus too much. We talked about the multiple-select to pop probes out of the watch window, but the feature wasn't implemented because there didn't seem to be any desire for it from our users, so the developer spent time on other aspects.

I agree that it would have been a lot nicer to have that feedback during the beta.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no undocumented config token to change the behavior of the probe watch window.

This is too bad.

From a quick trawl through the LabVIEW folder it doens't look like the probe window is implemented in G which would have given some chance of replacing it with customised code.

I found the probe watch window UI and it is part of the lvdialog.rsc and hence is beyond our (non NI people) customizing capabilities.

On a side note: Today I noticed a significant slowdown when putting a probe on a very large cluster . Fortunately the slowdown occurred only for the first few iterations.

PJM

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I just want to jump on here again to bitch about this new "improved" Probe Watch window. I've just been through an intense LabVIEW debug session and have to beg NI, Please for all that you hold dear, add the ability to not dock the probes automatically!

Just so I don't have to wait until next August, put this in a 2009.1 release. Please, Please Please!

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FWIW I'll jump in and say I like the new probe window. I think it can use a few tweaks to improve it but I find it much easier to deal with.

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Your new best friend in 2009.1:

openProbesInOwnWindows=True

As with all NI features that haven't shipped, I'm not promising anything, but we've been listening and the developer that owns the probe watch window has added the ini token.

-Brady

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Your new best friend in 2009.1:

openProbesInOwnWindows=True

As with all NI features that haven't shipped, I'm not promising anything, but we've been listening and the developer that owns the probe watch window has added the ini token.

-Brady

Thank you VERY much.

I guess I have been so disappointed by this new feature that I did not post all the issues I found with it.

I will do that quickly here:

  • If you have an array the direction key use to navigate the array are not working properly (only the down one is working).post-121-12553650197_thumb.png
  • If you try to use the navigation key to navigate a long string or long path (not completely visible) this work badly (all keys are not working).
  • When you detach a cluster that is small enough to completely fit on your screen, you now get scroll bar on the detached probe where there should be none (this is very annoying).post-121-125536537635_thumb.png
  • Finally, when I probe a very large cluster data structure I experience performance issue [sever slow down] on the first run (it might be an issue link to updating the data value [or tip strip] on the left side of the probe window).

Again, thanks a lot for that ini key.

PJM

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Your new best friend in 2009.1:

openProbesInOwnWindows=True

As with all NI features that haven't shipped, I'm not promising anything, but we've been listening and the developer that owns the probe watch window has added the ini token.

-Brady

Woohooo.:thumbup1:

Next question. When can I download 2009.1.....tomorrow?

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the developer that owns the probe watch window has added the ini token.

Yes, but did they also add code which acts on that token? wink.gif

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Yes, but did they also add code which acts on that token? wink.gif

For some reason I imagined a NI employee randomly reading LAVA and being like "Oh I knew I forgot something" and frantically writing code.

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For some reason I imagined a NI employee randomly reading LAVA and being like "Oh I knew I forgot something" and frantically writing code.

I imagined you imagining a NI employee randomly reading LAVA and being like "Oh I knew I forgot something" and frantically writing code and then you writing a post about it -- crazy.

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