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smarlow

Just Downloaded and Installed LabVIEW NXG.....

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I just downloaded and installed LabVIEW NXG.  At first I thought I installed LEGO NXT by mistake...

All kidding aside, I am just now poking around to see what is there, and there are definitely some things to be thankful for.  Other things...not so much.  Extremely radical changes to the graphics on the palettes and root functions, along with major palette restructuring.  Looks like navigation by sight will have to be learned all over again.

I will post more thoughts on this thread when I get the chance.  Oh, and manual tool selection is gone, along with the tools palette, if I am not mistaken.

nxg.jpg

nxt.jpg

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I'm mostly worried about what this means for the regular LabVIEW and its users. Does it leave us with a half-dead LabVIEW alongside an incomplete (and unfortunately in many respects less user-friendly) NXG for many years to come?

Do we have to choose between an old-fashioned/outdated parent, and an infantile NXG?:unsure: Eventually getting forced to the NXG due to the age of the regular version?

I was really hoping that they could transform the underlying technology in a few major jumps, but avoid alienating the current users by a) keeping the functionality (hardware support etc) and b) changing the GUI more gradually. Or just make a clean cut. As it is now I'm afraid we might get a division between the large user base which really needs the functionality only supported by LabVIEW 2017 (or earlier) for many years to come, and a smaller next generation of users which will adopt the new user interface easier as they do not have experience and investments in the regular LabVIEW already, but which will also limit itself due to the lack of hardware support etc. in NXG.

Perhaps someone attending NI Week can ease my worries (or reaffirm them)?

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1 hour ago, Mads said:

I'm mostly worried about what this means for the regular LabVIEW and its users. Does it leave us with a half-dead LabVIEW alongside an incomplete (and unfortunately in many respects less user-friendly) NXG for many years to come?

I have heard they plan to have both versions available for a while, but have not heard just exactly how long that "while" is going to be.  They also unveiled the beta version 2.0 of NXG is available for downloading.  I have not downloaded it.  One of the concerns I have over the possibility of being herded into NXG is it's based on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and so is a Windows-only program, there is no Mac or Linux version, and probably never will be.  I had hoped we would see more support for Linux desktop rather than less, since they are making a real effort to build out the instrument and DAQ hardware drivers on the Linux platform due to their transition to Linux RT.  A new face-lift for LabVIEW that is cross-platform (Qt, maybe?), and official support for Debian distros like Unbuntu and Mint would have been a much more welcome sight.  With that said, there are soem welcome and long overdue features in NXG, such as the tabbed window environment that should have been present in regular LabVIEW a long time ago.

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4 hours ago, Mads said:

I'm mostly worried about what this means for the regular LabVIEW and its users. Does it leave us with a half-dead LabVIEW alongside an incomplete (and unfortunately in many respects less user-friendly) NXG for many years to come?

Do we have to choose between an old-fashioned/outdated parent, and an infantile NXG?:unsure: Eventually getting forced to the NXG due to the age of the regular version?

I was really hoping that they could transform the underlying technology in a few major jumps, but avoid alienating the current users by a) keeping the functionality (hardware support etc) and b) changing the GUI more gradually. Or just make a clean cut. As it is now I'm afraid we might get a division between the large user base which really needs the functionality only supported by LabVIEW 2017 (or earlier) for many years to come, and a smaller next generation of users which will adopt the new user interface easier as they do not have experience and investments in the regular LabVIEW already, but which will also limit itself due to the lack of hardware support etc. in NXG.

Perhaps someone attending NI Week can ease my worries (or reaffirm them)?

Well. I was pleased to see that they finally created a NI package manager-I wasn't impressed when they opted for a 3rd party company to provide one (and, of course, said so).

That's about as far as I got, though.

Untitled.png

.LabVIEW 2017 installed fine!

Edited by ShaunR

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As I was saying in the previous post, there are definitely many things to be thankful for.  I for one like the fact that the palettes now dock in the tabbed environment, and they are much easier to use.  The palettes slide out neatly and stay out until you left-click on the diagram on empty space.  They also provide a back-track trail as they slide out.  They are much more usable than they were, even though they have been rearranged.  Having the cluster bundle/unbundle and "by name" functions be replaced by a property node is jarring, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about it long enough.  It just takes getting used to, like the complete graphics face lift. I can definitely see how a new user will fare much better learning NXG than the current LabVIEW.  The old geezers like me will adapt as we always have, albeit with a lot of yelling at the cloud.

 

297.png

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8 minutes ago, smarlow said:

As I was saying in the previous post, there are definitely many things to be thankful for.  I for one like the fact that the palettes now dock in the tabbed environment, and they are much easier to use.  The palettes slide out neatly and stay out until you left-click on the diagram on empty space.  They also provide a back-track trail as they slide out.  They are much more usable than they were, even though they have been rearranged.  Having the cluster bundle/unbundle and "by name" functions be replaced by a property node is jarring, but it makes a lot of sense if you think about it long enough.  It just takes getting used to, like the complete graphics face lift. I can definitely see how a new user will fare much better learning NXG than the current LabVIEW.  The old geezers like me will adapt as we always have, albeit with a lot of yelling at the cloud.

Maybe. But is there now a proper Source Code Control? Can we make our own native controls? Or are we looking at just another BridgeVIEW-like environment?

Edited by ShaunR

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3 minutes ago, ShaunR said:

Maybe. But is there now a proper Source Code Control? Can we make our own native controls? Or are we looking at just another BridgeVIEW-like environment?

It's definitely LabVIEW.  As far as SCC is concerned, I use TortoiseSVN and TortoiseGIT shell environments, so a new version of LabVIEW does not affect that.

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It is still a very preliminary product. There is no mouse pan option, there are missing interfaces (HTTP? HTTPS?) 

Some shortcuts are missing.

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NG looks like it will be a solid modern development environment though it's too premature for me to jump on that bandwagon yet. None the less the long term plans address my major criticisms of the legacy platform should they come to pass-- I'm hoping they materialize soon enough before the platform as a whole fades from relevancy in my research.

The fact that you don't see mobs with pitch forks marching on Austin from core partners with a vested interest in the old platform should give some indication of their commitment. While there will be an end for the old environment, I don't expect it will be until NG is well matured.

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43 minutes ago, mje said:

NG looks like it will be a solid modern development environment though it's too premature for me to jump on that bandwagon yet. None the less the long term plans address my major criticisms of the legacy platform should they come to pass-- I'm hoping they materialize soon enough before the platform as a whole fades from relevancy in my research.

The fact that you don't see mobs with pitch forks marching on Austin from core partners with a vested interest in the old platform should give some indication of their commitment. While there will be an end for the old environment, I don't expect it will be until NG is well matured.

What are these long-term plans?

I did manage to get it working on another PC and whilst there were some nice IDE features (tabbed panes with split) I couldn't use it for proper work. it doesn't address any of the long standing features we have asked for, it is quite slow in responsiveness. Graphs are very basic (no antialiasing? No cursors?)  and, I believe, it is Windows only (was that C# I saw in its guts?). If they had added the MDI style of UI to LabVIEW 2017 I would have been over the moon!

 

As regards your comment about relevancy. Is it similar to Test and Measurement where, in the last year, Python has overtaken LabVIEW as the language of choice? (at least in the UK, that is)

Edited by ShaunR

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3 hours ago, ShaunR said:

What are these long-term plans?

(was that C# I saw in its guts?)

As regards your comment about relevancy. Is it similar to Test and Measurement where, in the last year, Python has overtaken LabVIEW as the language of choice? (at least in the UK, that is)

I'd like to know what the long-term plans are, as well.  Watching the keynote addresses via streaming didn't give me any comfort.  I kept hearing phrases like "as you migrate", and "when you migrate" rather than "if" you migrate.  I have heard timelines for the dual release from "at least a few years" to "maybe a decade".  While I am excited about improvements to the environment like integrated hardware interface testing (without programming), the properties pane that is always visible, and the vastly improved palette behavior (heck, I even kinda like the LEGO graphics), I am extremely concerned about the migration to Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) for the whole environment.  I was hoping for something cross-platform and open, so there could be big improvements to Linux and Mac support.  NI is putting a lot of effort into fully implementing their driver support for Linux for real-time sake, so it makes no sense they would throw all of their UI eggs into the Microsoft basket.  I would have thought they had learned their lesson with the WebUI Silverlight fiasco.  I was hoping for full-blown Linux support since with the advent of Win 10 privacy issues, I am trying to wean myself off of MS. 

They have put a lot of effort into Python compatibility recently, seemingly an acceptance of the inevitable rise of the Python programmer.  It's as if they aren't even trying to win anyone over anymore.  It's sad, really.

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The only public document I'm aware of discussing long term plans is their road map at http://www.ni.com/pdf/products/us/labview-roadmap.pdf. It is unfortunately light on details.

Yes, I think Python is a serious contender. I was shocked when they announced DAQmx support for it on Tuesday which will further strengthen the Python position.

For me the relevancy is the relative ubiquity of microcontrollers, the tools to program them, and the cheap cost for low volume PCB manufacturing. I'm hard pressed to find any need in my research group where I'd prefer to use the NI RT platform over rolling our own design with bare metal programming in C. Cortex-M devices are capable as hell and the cost of printing/populating several custom PCBs is usually cheaper than a single NI RT chassis. I'd still go to NI if an FPGA application sprang up, but those are few and far between in my line of work. As for the desktop, LabVIEW has been losing ground for quite some time, but I still touch it from time to time.

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Oh boy lots to take in (my own fault for not checking LAVA enough)

Timelines are not published.  If I had to guess (and I do cause NI didn't tell me) I'd say the current LabVIEW as we know it will be around for several more years.  I wouldn't be surprised if the current LabVIEW still sees releases with new features and bug fixes through 2022, but again just a guess and NI them selves may not even know.

There is a pane tool (at least on 2.0 beta I don't have 1.0) and you need to hold spacebar.

Yes auto tool is the only option.  I'm not thrilled with this but I understand and think I can get used to it.

I was told by NI the 2.0 beta stuff can be discussed since it is in a public beta which doesn't require SSP or NDA so with that...it does have the HTTP functions in VIs and more importantly webVIs, but yes it is missing several other communications.

Yes NI has a package manager and it seems to work pretty well so far with driver information and other larger installers.  I'd assume you can have local repositories meaning offline installs. There is apparently some kind of command line interface for the package manager which will be useful for automated builds.  

As far as I know this is Windows only.  Not sure if that will change in the future but certainly leveraging Windows UI components is going to make going to other OSs difficult.

I did notice sluggishness but was told that might be a sign of VISA not installing properly, or thinking it is installed when it isn't.  Hopefully a good install, with a several thousand VI project doesn't break things.

This version of NXG probably isn't for the target audience of LAVA.  We can use it and probably should if we want to give NI feedback, but don't try to migrate a huge project to it, it just isn't ready for most things yet.  Still the Data Grid control is awesome (still needs work), WebVIs are awesome (in 2.0 beta but generates working HTML), and a vector based UI is greatly appreciated.

Reception from people seems good.  I think most get the message that current LabVIEW isn't dead, and that this is new but will be getting better.

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6 hours ago, mje said:

Yes, I think Python is a serious contender. I was shocked when they announced DAQmx support for it on Tuesday which will further strengthen the Python position.

For me the relevancy is the relative ubiquity of microcontrollers, the tools to program them, and the cheap cost for low volume PCB manufacturing. I'm hard pressed to find any need in my research group where I'd prefer to use the NI RT platform over rolling our own design with bare metal programming in C. Cortex-M devices are capable as hell and the cost of printing/populating several custom PCBs is usually cheaper than a single NI RT chassis. I'd still go to NI if an FPGA application sprang up, but those are few and far between in my line of work. As for the desktop, LabVIEW has been losing ground for quite some time, but I still touch it from time to time.

 

It would be cool if LabVIEW could gain some ground in the embedded world, instead of becoming more and more a high performance high cost niche. I think Python support is the right move. There are plenty of other DAQ manufacturers out there that support it and NI would lose out if they didn't. I'm learning python and am pretty impressed with how easy it is to get back to text programming with it after many years of LabVIEW. Text programming has come a long way from the days of the DOS based IDEs and C++ I learned back in high school.  

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On 2017-5-24 at 6:25 AM, smarlow said:

One of the concerns I have over the possibility of being herded into NXG is it's based on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and so is a Windows-only program, there is no Mac or Linux version, and probably never will be.  I had hoped we would see more support for Linux desktop rather than less, since they are making a real effort to build out the instrument and DAQ hardware drivers on the Linux platform due to their transition to Linux RT.  A new face-lift for LabVIEW that is cross-platform (Qt, maybe?), and official support for Debian distros like Unbuntu and Mint would have been a much more welcome sight.

This year, NI Week has a "Breakfast with the Execs" session, which lets attendees sit down with a high-ranking NI official and talk about specific topics. Omid Sojoodi, the Vice President of R&D for Application and Embedded Software, was taking questions about LabVIEW and SystemLink.

I asked him about the Windows-centricity of LabVIEW NXG, and whether NI has considered cross-platform GUI toolkits. This is what he said:

  • NI is currently concentrating their resources on maturing NXG on Windows, because it is by far their largest market.
  • As of today, they haven't picked a solution for macOS and Linux, but are considering using web technologies (HTML + CSS + JS).
  • During the early stages of NXG planning, the R&D team evaluated 7-8 cross-platform GUI toolkits. However, none of them were satisfactory.
  • NI does use Qt internally, so they are familiar with it. It is one of the toolkits they evaluated. According to Omid, it didn't look native enough, so they went with a native toolkit (WPF).

Personally, I'm surprised by this; I've used Qt lots and it produces very native-looking GUIs to me. In any case, I would've thought the cost of minor deviations from full nativeness (if any) would be dwarfed by the cost of maintaining separate code bases for different platforms. I also think trying to tack on cross-platform support after the maturation of the Windows version will be a very steep uphill battle, compared to doing it from the get-go.

However, Omid did also say (in a different discussion) that LabVIEW NXG is very modular, and the front-end is quite separate from the business logic. Perhaps this means NI is confident of their ability to swap front-ends easily?

Edited by JKSH

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1 hour ago, JKSH said:

However, Omid did also say (in a different discussion) that LabVIEW NXG is very modular, and the front-end is quite separate from the business logic. Perhaps this means NI is confident of their ability to swap front-ends easily?

I also heard information like this.  No one at NI specifically said this, but I got the impression that the extensibility will one day (hopefully) be at the point that a completely different IDE could be made replacing the existing one.  If this is true then maybe this is what NI plans to do for the other platforms.  I too am a bit surprised more importance wasn't put on cross platform up front, especially if his reasoning was for native looking UIs when NXG doesn't have a single system control.  And yes I already gave this feedback to NI in person, and at the expo floor where there was a board to make UI suggestions.

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10 hours ago, MarkCG said:

It would be cool if LabVIEW could gain some ground in the embedded world, instead of becoming more and more a high performance high cost niche. I think Python support is the right move. There are plenty of other DAQ manufacturers out there that support it and NI would lose out if they didn't. I'm learning python and am pretty impressed with how easy it is to get back to text programming with it after many years of LabVIEW.

 

Node Red FTW :D

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"Node Red" is just HTML+JS+CSS and Python's dick for the RPi is like a fart in comparison to LV NXG1.

I am most pleased with this most useful feature which will be never in the standard Labview.

 

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Yeah I haven't heard of Node-RED either but I saw it in action on the Teensy Audio System Design tool which sorta blew my mind when it first came out.  It is a some what dedicated set of needs (audio processing) so the blocks are pretty intuitive and kinda does for audio what I think Vision Builder AI does for vision.  And just like Vision Builder AI you can export into code which in this case is the Teensy C++ for the Arduino IDE.

Interestingly enough 7 years ago NI already had a graphical programming language that ran in your web browser but it didn't catch on called Web UI Builder.  I remember the first time seeing it and being confused why NI was developing what seemed to be a separate graphical programming interface which was vector based UI and had zoom of all things.  Now we know, since Web UI Builder (as far as I know) was the first thing NI made which NXG was built off of.  Interestingly enough Web UI Builder still works and runs in your browser but depends on Silverlight so IE only.  It's also nice to see that NI didn't continue with the ribbon interface as shown in Web UI Builder.

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On 5/25/2017 at 11:13 AM, smarlow said:

I kept hearing phrases like "as you migrate", and "when you migrate" rather than "if" you migrate.

I also heard phrases like "once nxg reaches parity" and similar. I can't imagine there would be any reason to keep using labview over nxg once that critical point is reached. Its a new IDE for the same language.

On 5/24/2017 at 7:43 AM, ShaunR said:

Can we make our own native controls? 

https://github.com/ni/nidevlabs is I believe what you're looking for, although it doesn't appear to be up to date (last updated with the feb beta)

On 5/24/2017 at 4:25 AM, smarlow said:

One of the concerns I have over the possibility of being herded into NXG is it's based on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and so is a Windows-only program, there is no Mac or Linux version, and probably never will be. 

Microsoft has been moving towards cross platform csharp in leaps and bounds with the purchase of xamarin, the .net core/standard separation, etc. I have read the same thing that WPF itself won't ever be supported, but I'm assuming thats something NI has kept in mind. If you play with the ngx editor and make it hang with a diagram it doesn't like, you'll see statuses along the lines of "background compilation is still running" (gist of it) which seems to support the comment that "the front-end is quite separate from the business logic".

On 5/25/2017 at 5:34 PM, MarkCG said:

It would be cool if LabVIEW could gain some ground in the embedded world, instead of becoming more and more a high performance high cost niche.

They've been gunning for the mid-range stuff with the sbRIO/SOM releases but yeah, still pretty pricey especially since with the SOM you need to make your own board anyway (or I suppose use something like what cyth was showing off on the demo floor, but they've apparently opted not to share baseline pricing so I don't know how the cost compares). 

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11 hours ago, hooovahh said:

Interestingly enough 7 years ago NI already had a graphical programming language that ran in your web browser but it didn't catch on called Web UI Builder.  I remember the first time seeing it and being confused why NI was developing what seemed to be a separate graphical programming interface which was vector based UI and had zoom of all things.  Now we know, since Web UI Builder (as far as I know) was the first thing NI made which NXG was built off of.  Interestingly enough Web UI Builder still works and runs in your browser but depends on Silverlight so IE only.  It's also nice to see that NI didn't continue with the ribbon interface as shown in Web UI Builder.

Silverlight was definitely the stake through the heart of Web UI bulder just as (I think) C# will be the same for LabVIEW. I've been actively moving over to Linux for a while now and .Net has been banned from my projects for donkeys' years. So doubling down with a Windows only .NET IDE is a bit perplexing. Especially since at this point, I consider Windows pretty much a legacy platform for T&M, IoT, DAQ and pretty much everything else LabVIEW is great for. When Windows 7 is finally grandfathered; Windows will no longer be on my radar at all.

Edited by ShaunR

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As for "Web UI Builder" it should already be open source.

One can launch without a browser.

Download: uibuilder.niwsc.com/webuibuilder/WebUIBuilder.xap

After installing Silverlight set system variable PATH= <Disk>:\<Path> to sllauncher.exe and launch   sllauncher /emulate:"WebUIBuilder.xap" /origin:"<Disk>:\<Path>\WebUIBuilder.xap" /overwrite

 

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14 hours ago, ShaunR said:

Silverlight was definitely the stake through the heart of Web UI bulder just as (I think) C# will be the same for LabVIEW. I've been actively moving over to Linux for a while now and .Net has been banned from my projects for donkeys' years. So doubling down with a Windows only .NET IDE is a bit perplexing. Especially since at this point, I consider Windows pretty much a legacy platform for T&M, IoT, DAQ and pretty much everything else LabVIEW is great for. When Windows 7 is finally grandfathered; Windows will no longer be on my radar at all.

I would assume its due to c# being the nicest of the top languages to use for a desktop program and everyone wants to make development more efficient. Python and JS I think you can easily throw out for large projects, PHP is web, and java's popularity is with back-end applications not desktop programs (I don't have java installed at home or at work, and I'd have to really want to use the program to install it). So that leaves c++ or c#, and I think you'll have trouble finding people who think they are more productive in 'cross platform' c++ vs c#. 

Linux has its own cross-platform problems. I don't know how you navigate these issues, but when I want to try out programs that are linux-only I constantly have issues where instructions for install are restricted to 1 or 2 flavors of linux (presumably 'the developers run fedora so we have instructions for fedora' and the other flavors have either no instructions, out of date instructions, or out of date builds. So I end up with several VMs of different linux types rather than 1 VM for playing around. I know bigger projects like the dbs, xilinx, etc don't have these issues, but big project have support everywhere.

9 hours ago, lordexod said:

As for "Web UI Builder" it should already be open source.

Something tells me that NI is reluctant to provide the source code to an alpha-alpha version of their whole new platform they've been investing in, but you're right I can't imagine why :P

Edited by smithd

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