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Christian Butcher

Plot Selection Overlay for XYGraph - Do I want an XControl?

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I'm writing some LabVIEW software to store and display data from a variety of data sources, mostly through an NI DAQ board.

I'm displaying the data (stored in an SQLite database) on an XYGraph.

I would like to have a toggle-able, probably semi-transparent box listing each of the plots on the graph, with the option to turn the plots on/off by clicking, along with some grouping of similar plots (all temperature measurements, or all measurements from experiment #5, etc).

The Bloomy post at http://www.ni.com/newsletter/51918/en/ gives me semi-transparent panels pretty easily (in fact, this can conceivably be tri-state, since I have on, off and invisible :D)

I've already programmed a simple multi-column listbox for something else in this project that switches symbols and handles double-click, mouse up/down, etc, so I could maybe use a modified version of that to hold my plots.

I have never successfully used an XControl for anything, but when I come to problems involving collections of strange custom controls, I always think, is this what an XControl is for?

So, do I need an XControl here? Or will I just be diving into another rabbit-hole leading to yet another unsuccessful XControl attempt? If so, what should I be using instead?

In case it matters, the bulk of the project uses NI's Actor Framework to handle separate sections, and the graph is inside a subpanel, inside another subpanel.

Some images of current pieces. The parent holds the scrollbar, and my current no-op (except show/hide on the little menu button bottom left) overlay (not at all transparent). The child holds the actual graph, and an ugly global variable mean (I needed it quickly for a colleague's use...). The child is embedded in a subpanel of the parent (above the scrollbar) and the parent is embedded in a subpanel of the MainUI's 'Actor Core.vi'.

 

parentGraphAC.png

childGraphAC.png

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The way I see it, XControls are for cases where you want to create a custom interactive "widget", and you plan to embed multiple copies of this widget in other front panels. (Unfortunately, it doesn't always work well, but that's a different topic.) So, do you want multiple copies of your custom box? If you don't, then you definitely don't need an XControl. If you do, then I'd consider it.

Also, does it have to be an overlaid box? Would you consider a separate pop-up dialog altogether?

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Probably just one per graph, so one. Guess that's XControls out?

I'm pretty sure I could make the things I want nicely inside a class, but don't know how I'd then run it. I saw in what I expected to be an unrelated thread here mention of transparent VIs, and looking at those makes me tentatively hopeful, but will take a bit more thinking to work out if that's what I want (especially given communication between the two VIs needed).

A separate popup is I suppose possible, since then I can use the VI appearance or property nodes or whatever to have it appear (and a button to end the VI to make it disappear), and that would allow reading of the 'results', I guess. But I was hoping to use it as a 'legend' of sorts, pop it up when I wanted to check which colour line was which result, that kind of thing.

If I use a modal popup, then my graph presumably won't update (?) and if I have the VI run asynchronously with call-and-collect, I'm probably adding a few different types of execution (Actor, reentrant subVI, maybe notifier/queue into async subVI, results from async subVI), which seems likely to cause problems (especially because I'm bound to mess it up the first N times).

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