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Neil Pate

Some things about NXG which I like

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As seen in the other thread, I am pretty negative about NXG. However I would like to temper this with some things I have seen in NXG which I do like

  • Vector based GUI. I don't like the choice of colours, fonts, widgets or pretty much any of the iconography but I do think the switch to vectors is an absolute necessity for a modern application running in high DPI settings.
  • Zoom! I was pleasantly surprised when I accidentally zoomed on the Front Panel. In current gen to get pixel perfect GUIs sometime I find myself resorting to the windows magnifier or dropping down to 1024x768, so being able to zoom is a welcome addition.
  • The helper alignment hints when placing Front Panel controls. Anyone who has used any kind of vector drawing application in the last 5 years will be immediately familiar here. (I am not sure why this is not done when designing a typedef though).
  • The placeholder location for controls and terminals when dropped from the "other" view. No more weird and random location for new controls and terminals!
  • WebVIs. The WebModule is not ready for any heavy lifting, but for basic web pages it currently does the trick. As a LabVIEW developer I really do not want to ever have to learn JS or HTML5 and WebVIs are certainly many steps in this direction (now please port this to current gen!). Now that I know what I am doing I guess I could start from nothing and put together a simple web VI that communicates with something else via a REST API in a couple of hours. The build process turns the VI into a bunch of HTML and JS which you can serve up with any web server. This technology has potential!
  • The panel on the right hand side which can stay open and give you quick access to the properties of controls. It currently pretty ugly and unfriendly to usability with all its greyness, but the concept is quite sound. It can be hidden away when not needed. I am so used to the current gen properties window that it takes me a while to find anything but I expect that to diminish with more use.
  • The icon editor. The default size of the glyphs is much too large but in general this pane gets the job done. At a glance I can see the association of all the terminals. I am not so keen at having Inputs and Outputs as submenu items as this just slows things down a bit, but the concept of showing the user the "direction" of the control is welcome. I have not really used it to create banners and stuff like that yet so I cannot comment too much on that UX.
  • The Build Queue lists about 10 of the last builds which although I did not need in my experimental project I can see how this might be useful. If the build version number could be included in the table this would be most welcome. These bottom pane things can all be collapsed away when not needed which is good.

That is about it. My experiment only involved creating a WebVI, so it is possible I have missed some neat things that can be done when developing a traditional desktop application.

Does anybody have any others to add to this list?

Edited by Neil Pate
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Here are some of mine.

  • SystemDesigner - Although it is essentially MAX and only works with NI hardware, I like the fact that it provides an overview of the hardware, access to various documents (pinout, specs) and the ability to create and test measurement tasks from within LabVIEW. Not to mention the auto-generated code when placing tasks into VIs.
  • Captured Data - Finally I can easily capture, export and import data without having to write custom code. Capture data once and use it often. This is very useful for testing code in development and prevents misuse of "Make Current Values Default", which tends to bloat VIs. It is also possible to just drop data into any compatible control (i.e. graph) without any manual labor.
  • Build Queue - It is somewhat broken, but I like the fact that it can build packages in parallel. There is great potential for much faster builds when compared to CG, especially for large an complex projects.
  • Learning - I like the way NXG guides users through learning projects (of which there are quite a few). Highlighting elements in the UI is very helpful for self-paced learning.
  • Online Help - Not specifically a feature of NXG, but I like the way the new manual is structured. The context help could use some improvement though.
  • Controls and indicators - I like the design of NXG controls and indicators. They look much better than modern controls in CG, especially when used in combination with a Windows 10 theme. That said, I hope they add support for system controls soon.
  • Automatic File Organization - This is probably number one or two of features in NXG I really like. Moving files inside a project now automatically moves files on disk. No more housekeeping. Still, I miss virtual folders a lot.
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