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LabVIEW NXG - when will we start using it

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1 hour ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

And as far as the new MDI style GUI goes, I simply hate it.

When I'm working with dual monitors, I usually have the diagram on one and the FP on another - lots of room to work and uncluttered. Even when I'm working on a single monitor, I usually have multiple virtual desktops, again with FP in one and diagram in another. You can kiss that workflow goodbye with MDI.

Edited by ShaunR

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38 minutes ago, ShaunR said:

When I'm working with dual monitors, I usually have the diagram on one and the FP on another - lots of room to work and uncluttered. Even when I'm working on a single monitor, I usually have multiple virtual desktops, again with FP in one and diagram in another. You can kiss that workflow goodbye with MDI.

It's unnatural and unneccessary to force everything into one single application window frame. I don't even like the left over MDI artefacts of MS office applications. They used to force every spreadsheet and word document into a single main window, probably because they hired the old filemanager user interface designer for their office products, but since got smarter by allowing at least a seperate application window for every document. That makes it at least usable on multimonitor setups.

Macs didn't even have any native support for MDI (and Microsoft and others spend lots of man hours to create this unneccessary "feature" on the Mac for their applications).

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter

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Really? I've always hated the multiple windows. The MDI is one of my favorite things. The inconsistency makes me laugh, though, like making context help floating (there is only one -- I'd really rather it be docked and always on) and making palettes docked (I want several instances, so floating makes sense or at least allocating space on each side of the diagram so you can have one thats pinned and one thats not).

41 minutes ago, ShaunR said:

 I usually have the diagram on one and the FP on another 

I'm genuinely curious about this one...why both? My only experience with having FP and BD side by side is when I accidentally hit the stupid tiling hotkey on a new install, just before I go into the settings and permanently remap it to something out of the way like ctrl+alt+shift+\. I honestly can't think of a time I've ever done this.

3 minutes ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

since got smarter by allowing at least a seperate application window for every document. That makes it at least usable on multimonitor setups.

NXG has this too. Admittedly last I checked it was slow and clunky, but...

Edited by smithd

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7 minutes ago, smithd said:

NXG has this too

You mean multiple projects? That's something, but I prefer to keep all the different windows wherever I put them even if they belong to one and the same project or application. And I defnitely never tile, my God what a mess. My windows have the size they need to have to show the code or frontpanel and that is seldem half of the screen in any direction. Artificially resize them to something dictated by the monitor size feels just as evil as being bound to MDI constraints.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter

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9 minutes ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

You mean multiple projects? 

Nope:

image.thumb.png.ea8fc39aca31d2c0a54f832a6d6177ec.png

And I can confirm both windows update correctly -- when I made the control it popped up in the panel side immediately.

The reason I say its clunky is that you have to open the VI, pop it out of the main window, open the VI again, pop it out, and then switch. They need to streamline this, but the functionality is definitely there.

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26 minutes ago, smithd said:

Nope:

image.thumb.png.ea8fc39aca31d2c0a54f832a6d6177ec.png

And I can confirm both windows update correctly -- when I made the control it popped up in the panel side immediately.

The reason I say its clunky is that you have to open the VI, pop it out of the main window, open the VI again, pop it out, and then switch. They need to streamline this, but the functionality is definitely there.

Hmm, well that is at least an improvement. Still what you describe is indeed clunky!

What I still not understand is that so many people complain about how last century LabVIEW Classic looks, but nobody finds the smooth baby rounded icons and light gray in more light grey colored controls in any way odd.  In some ways it reminds me of HPVee, which I thought was dead 😀. Did NI decide that HP might have done something not so bad after all these years of fighting it as pure evil?

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter

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1 hour ago, smithd said:

I'm genuinely curious about this one...why both?

Hmm. I'm not sure what your expecting me to say here.

For debugging I want to see the results (on the FP) whilst I go probing the diagram (or even sub diagrams) especially for intermittent bugs. Quite often I throw indicators up instead of using the probe window, which I've always detested as it gets in the way of everything and you can't resize controls. So the FP becomes my probe window (usually after I found the place with the probe window). I tend to make changes to the diagram then hit CTRL+R in a kind of micro test when I'm just tidying up so I make sure I get the same result on the FP after rewiring - I don't want to keep moving windows around between editing and viewing the result.

So I have all FPs are on the left screen and all diagrams are on the right screen. 

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2 hours ago, ShaunR said:

Hmm. I'm not sure what your expecting me to say here.

what you said worked :P

The probe window is indeed annoying, I just have never thought about making indicators since then you have to restart the application and that can get quite annoying esp on rt. Its kind of funny I never thought about it because thats the workflow you have to use on fpga, but 🤷‍♂️

3 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

What I still not understand is that so many people complain about how last century LabVIEW Classic looks, but nobody finds the smooth baby rounded icons and light gray in more light grey colored controls in any way odd.  In some ways it reminds me of HPVee, which I thought was dead 😀. Did NI decide that HP might have done something not so bad after all these years of fighting it as pure evil?

I think people conflate style and functionality on this topic. The style of labview controls is kind of old, but not any worse than wxwidgets or gtk+ or qt or windows forms. The stuff that makes labview stand out to me is resizing failures (lol @ trying to get splitters positioned nicely), composability failures (lol...xctrls), and the inability to instantiate new controls at runtime (now resolved in nxg).

For contrast, its not like these (wx or gtk or this stark example of modernity) are all that more attractive, they just have features that allow for their developers to create better functionality. My favorite example is I think audacity which looks like complete garbage, but would be very difficult to develop in labview for..well look at it.

Edited by smithd

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9 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

but nobody finds the smooth baby rounded icons and light gray in more light grey colored controls in any way odd

Here's a minirant to NI I made in May:

Quote

 Oh and an unrelated NXG comment, since this is the first time I've really looked at NXG:

It's 2018.  The current UI trends is "Flat 2.0", which is basically minimalism.  Only include decoration that actually aids the User in identifying things.  Rounding the corners of every single element on the block diagram carries no information.  All the shadow/highlight effects on frames of cluster/arrays are unnecessary and make the product a bit dated.  Simplify

Rounded corners on icons could be useful, if it indicates something, but rounding every single graphic element is silly.

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12 hours ago, smithd said:

I think people conflate style and functionality on this topic. The style of labview controls is kind of old, but not any worse than wxwidgets or gtk+ or qt or windows forms. The stuff that makes labview stand out to me is resizing failures (lol @ trying to get splitters positioned nicely), composability failures (lol...xctrls), and the inability to instantiate new controls at runtime (now resolved in nxg).

For contrast, its not like these (wx or gtk or this stark example of modernity) are all that more attractive, they just have features that allow for their developers to create better functionality. My favorite example is I think audacity which looks like complete garbage, but would be very difficult to develop in labview for..well look at it.

I"m not sure it's conflation only. Many seem to be focused specifically on the fact that LabVIEW GUIs don't look like the latest hyped Office version, which of course will be again different over 2 years when yet another modern style design guide claims that everything needs to be high contrast again, or maybe alpha shaded with psychadelic animations (you need to find reason to sell high end GPUs to spreadsheet jugglers).

Your second point is indeed one thing I feel LabVIEW could have made more advances. Dynamic control creation while indeed complicated to get into the dataflow paradigma of LabVIEW would be possible with the VI Server reference model, although it would not be classical dataflow programming anymore for such GUIs at least for the part that you use such dynamic instantiation in. XControls was a badly executed project for an in principle good idea, Splitters are a God send for more dynamic UIs together with Subpanels, but to try to edit splitters once they are placed on a frontpanel really can be an exercise in self control. In doing so I feel the same frustration as when I'm forced to edit some Visio drawings. The editor almost seems to know what you want to do, because it always does the opposite of that, no matter what.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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13 hours ago, smithd said:

The probe window is indeed annoying, I just have never thought about making indicators since then you have to restart the application and that can get quite annoying esp on rt. Its kind of funny I never thought about it because thats the workflow you have to use on fpga, but 🤷‍♂️

I never really liked the new combined probe window. The old one I used frequently, yes sure you could get into a real mess with probe windows all over the place and it could be hard to find the one with the new value from the wire you were just single stepping through. But the new probe window doesn't solve that at all, you still need to find the specific probe entry in the list, click on it to see its value in the graphic probe view and then get that damn probe window out of the way again ASAP as it covers so many other things. I usually decide then that I can just as well get rid of it, except "Are you really sure you want to close this window?" Damn it! No of course not, I clicked on the upper right corner by accident and never ever would think about getting rid of this huge monster window on my desktop screen.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter

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On 12/21/2018 at 5:56 PM, smithd said:

I don't want to have to flip back and forth between byte arrays and strings. I want to be able to index characters out of strings, and I want to be able to search for a subset within a byte array, etc. The shift towards saying all strings are unicode without enhancing the features associated with binary byte array seems like a mistake.

I think it makes sense to have separate APIs for text strings and byte array "strings". However, both are still incomplete at the moment.

The feature I miss most from LabVIEW Classic is "hex mode" on a string indicator for inspecting the contents of a byte array.

 

14 hours ago, smithd said:

The style of labview controls is kind of old, but not any worse than wxwidgets or gtk+ or qt or windows forms. The stuff that makes labview stand out to me is resizing failures (lol @ trying to get splitters positioned nicely), composability failures (lol...xctrls), and the inability to instantiate new controls at runtime (now resolved in nxg). 

For contrast, its not like these (wx or gtk or this stark example of modernity) are all that more attractive, they just have features that allow for their developers to create better functionality.

I find the Silver palette quite decent :) Simply setting the background to white (as opposed to "LabVIEW Grey") also does wonders.

A note on your last link: That "stark example of modernity" depicts an old widget technology, basically unchanged for over a decade -- it's still maintained today, but only in bugfix mode. Here's an actual example of modernity.

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1 hour ago, JKSH said:

You mean it's "dark"? 😋

You can already do similar stuff like that with LabVIEW (although it could be a lot easier). What you can't really do is skinning.

Edited by ShaunR

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10 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

The editor almost seems to know what you want to do, because it always does the opposite of that, no matter what.

😢

Sometimes I just remove an entire splitter section and start over

9 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

except "Are you really sure you want to close this window?" Damn it! No of course not, I clicked on the upper right corner by accident and never ever would think about getting rid of this huge monster window on my desktop screen.

Theres a checkbox :P One of the first things I do on a new labview install, along with disabling the tiling shortcut, setting terminals to required, and removing that stupid number from new VI icons :) 

7 hours ago, JKSH said:

I find the Silver palette quite decent :) Simply setting the background to white (as opposed to "LabVIEW Grey") also does wonders.

A note on your last link: That "stark example of modernity" depicts an old widget technology, basically unchanged for over a decade -- it's still maintained today, but only in bugfix mode. Here's an actual example of modernity.

Ughhh. I hate the silver controls. Too much chrome. I generally use a combination of drjdp's flatline along with system and a collection of internal controls which includes a giant amount of scripted booleans using feather and iconic.

To your second point -- I knew it was old based on the version number but I couldn't find a standalone screenshot of similar quality anywhere so I decided to punish them. Presumably thats why wikipedia still uses such an old screenshot. For what its worth I also include your example in this because the part thats attractive about it is really just PNGs. It doesn't demonstrate the core widget library that most people would use. And if you look at the designer, its seems like some stuff (type and ID in the middle of the right side for example) is just a hasty skin over top of an old library -- or at least thats how I interpret it because the weird left-side justification is the sort of artifact you get when you try to fiddle with labview controls in a similar way. On the theme of punishing them, I like this one, technically part of the help for the current major version (qt5).

Edited by smithd

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You convinced me not to try NXG at this time.

My main concern is not being able to open a large project without it being broken.

Should we start a new NXG thread with failed migration attempts so that NI will make sure that we'll be able to migrate smoothly in a year or two?

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On 12/23/2018 at 1:36 AM, 0_o said:

My main concern is not being able to open a large project without it being broken.

In current gen? Well, that's a different problem. You could elaborate on that in a separate thread and we could help.

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I refer to the migration tool between LabVIEW and LabVIEW NXG.

If there are features that are not yet supported or if my code uses an old llb, for example, that won't be supported or if the migration tool is not working properly and can't migrate correctly some features that means I won't be able to move to NXG even if I wanted to.

A new thread here with NXG issues will make sure NXG is ready for us in a year or two when we have to migrate.

I'm going to try to migrate a very big project (just to check in theory what happens) and list the errors I get, should I post it to the dark side or here? 

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Oh man how I hate it when I don't check LAVA for some amount of time and interesting discussions take place.  Maybe interesting discussions take place because I take a break?...

Anyway the killer feature in my eyes is WebVIs.  Be able to run G code in a browser!  On paper that is awesome.  But NI choosing to make this an add-on at an additional cost makes it less accessible.  But to answer the first question I do use NXG on a current project...but it is just for the web stuff.  The large part of the application runs in a current gen LabVIEW EXE which publishes data where the NXG web VI can perform requests and show formatted data.  Pretty minor of a project and several work arounds for things that were missing.  As for when do I think I will have a real full application in NXG?  Maybe 2021, but it will all depend on feature set.  And honestly with 2018 now being stable, and having all the features I want I don't see wanting to upgrade.  I don't know of any new feature planned for the future that would make me have to upgrade.

I do like the flat UI look, and NXG is decent with that.  Having NXG style in 2018 is nice, and my UI's lately are a mix of system, NXG style, JKI Flat, and Flatline.  NXG is quite limiting at UI design still which is just another reason to stay in current gen.

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21 hours ago, hooovahh said:

Be able to run G code in a browser!  On paper that is awesome.  But NI choosing to make this an add-on at an additional cost makes it less accessible. 

Yeah its not super high in the grand scheme, but $2k for an addon to a product thats already $3k or $5k (not clear if you need the app builder license for building web apps?) seems pretty steep. Probably more to the point, it doesn't seem to be bundled with anything (not even software platform bundle). They seem to be deliberately targeting only people who really for sure want that functionality, which is kind of interesting within the context of NXG as a whole which they are literally giving away to try to get people interested in using it.

Edited by smithd

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One of the reasons I heard that NI is making this a separate add-on is that the bundle also comes with some NI cloud hosting functionality.  I'm not sure what it is, and I'm currently not interested in it.  But there is probably some additional overhead for every user that takes advantage of that part of the toolkit.  It wouldn't be as profitable but NI should have made the WebVI part of NXG, and had the cloud hosting be a separate toolkit on its own.

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