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NI abandons future LabVIEW NXG development


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So this was posted on the NI forums: https://forums.ni.com/t5/LabVIEW/Our-Commitment-to-LabVIEW-as-we-Expand-our-Software-Portfolio/td-p/4101878?profile.language=en  

The first time you mentioned this I thought it was a nice gesture, now I think you are just desperate for friends...or an alcoholic.  I'm down.

I don't really expect many new language features or UX improvements in LabVIEW just because they stop working on NXG. From what we know there are only a few knowledgeable people at NI who are int

Posted Images

One of the key differences in the IDE with NXG is the single window view.  It took some digging but I found an old LabVIEW 8 beta that had a similar design.

post-2-1101909122.jpg.ed9cb6ba4183cd7bbd4a39586f8d9263.jpg

I'm guessing they had usability issues or something as it obviously didn't end up like this.  Maybe similar to the ribbon interface and how that was only really used on the Web UI builder and an alpha.

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1 hour ago, hooovahh said:

One of the key differences in the IDE with NXG is the single window view.  It took some digging but I found an old LabVIEW 8 beta that had a similar design.

post-2-1101909122.jpg.ed9cb6ba4183cd7bbd4a39586f8d9263.jpg

I'm guessing they had usability issues or something as it obviously didn't end up like this.  Maybe similar to the ribbon interface and how that was only really used on the Web UI builder and an alpha.

 

Interesting...

I don't like the single VI view. I like to view multiple VI diagrams and panels when debugging and editing. I also don't like the menubar only reflecting the currently selected item ala Mac - it trips me up all the time.

However. The toolbars are another matter. You can kind of do the above by docking palettes and Project Explorer to the desktop sides (which is what I do). What you can't do is dock to the top and bottom of the desktop or dock the context help or dock windows to each other.

I really like the way Codetyphon/Lazarus works for toolbars etc. Each is a separate window (like LabVIEW toolbars) but you can dock and nest. So. Out of the box you have something like:

image.png.9bb8d2f54c627f38f9b56d9080e27335.png

You can grab the yellow bar below the title-bar and dock it to other windows (the blue shaded area in the source view shows you where it plans to put it, for example). You can do this with any window (there are a lot of them) to create split bars and even tabbed, split bars.

Ultimately. You end up with (my preferred layout) which is:

image.png.450672114651958e762a911830f9699e.png

It's only a tabbed page view in the middle which is a pain switching back and forth between FP design and source but the way it handles the ability to make your own IDE layout is great.

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1 hour ago, ShaunR said:

 

Interesting...

I don't like the single VI view. I like to view multiple VI diagrams and panels when debugging and editing. I also don't like the menubar only reflecting the currently selected item ala Mac - it trips me up all the time.

However. The toolbars are another matter. You can kind of do the above by docking palettes and Project Explorer to the desktop sides (which is what I do). What you can't do is dock to the top and bottom of the desktop or dock the context help or dock windows to each other.

I really like the way Codetyphon/Lazarus works for toolbars etc. Each is a separate window (like LabVIEW toolbars) but you can dock and nest. So. Out of the box you have something like:

 

You can grab the yellow bar below the title-bar and dock it to other windows (the blue shaded area in the source view shows you where it plans to put it, for example). You can do this with any window (there are a lot of them) to create split bars and even tabbed, split bars.

Ultimately. You end up with (my preferred layout) which is:

 

It's only a tabbed page view in the middle which is a pain switching back and forth between FP design and source but the way it handles the ability to make your own IDE layout is great.

Yeah, well, when was the last time NI asked users what they were expecting in a IDE UI? Or what they did or did not like in the mock up designs they were cooking up?

I am sorry, I forgot about the "Idea Exchange" forum, which had so many transformative effects on the development of subsequent LabVIEW versions...

Of course, ultimately this is probably not what killed NXG (the dislikes of a few old geezers for the IDE).

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14 minutes ago, X___ said:

Yeah, well, when was the last time NI asked users what they were expecting in a IDE UI?

Well at least every NI Week since a couple years before NXG was released up until the last one. Hackathons were a pretty open environment to give feedback.  You'd have the attention of some pretty important people in the design of the UI and UX decision making process.  And the IDE actually had a button in it where you could just send NI a message about something you liked or didn't like in it. Not sure if that stayed for the newest versions.  I can't say what NI did or didn't do with this information but they seemed to have plenty of places for users to give feedback on.

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17 hours ago, ShaunR said:

I don't like the single VI view. I like to view multiple VI diagrams and panels when debugging and editing.

This mistreatment of WYSIWYG was the worst of NXG.

Having multiple front panels and block diagrams open at the same time, and being able to jump from run to edit mode quickly to do debugging and GUI-testing is one of the core strengths of LabVIEW.
The lack of understanding of this was also reflected in other changes, like the removal of the Run Continuously-button.

The front panels need to present themselves as close to what they will be during run-time as possible (greatly lowers the threshold for new users in understanding things, but also helps experienced developers maintain a healthy relationship to their GUI - and testing(!) during the whole development) , with a minimum of development-related real-estate wasted around them. It can be nice to have lots of stuff available around a window under active development, but only on that window and only when you want it.

Edited by Mads
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1 hour ago, Mads said:

This mistreatment of WYSIWYG was the worst of NXG.

Having multiple front panels and block diagrams open at the same time, and being able to jump from run to edit mode quickly and freely to do debugging and GUI-testing is one of the core strengths of LabVIEW. The lack of understanding of this was also reflected in other changes, like the removal of the Run Continoulsy-button.

The front panels need to present themselves as close to what they will be during run-time as possible (greatly lowers the threshold for new users in understanding things, but also helps experienced developers maintain a healthy relationship to their GUI - and testing(!) during the whole development) , with a minimum of development-related real-estate wasted around them. It can be nice to have lots of stuff available around a window under active development, but only on that window and only when you want it.

Agreed.

I was just staring at the MDI toolkit. If I can get the diagram windows reference I can probably create a region where we can contain multiple VI FP's and their diagrams along with things like tile, minimise etc. Might have to create a hack by using the Subpanel's ability to show diagrams but maybe worth having a look at for giggles.

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18 hours ago, hooovahh said:

Well at least every NI Week since a couple years before NXG was released up until the last one. Hackathons were a pretty open environment to give feedback.  You'd have the attention of some pretty important people in the design of the UI and UX decision making process.  And the IDE actually had a button in it where you could just send NI a message about something you liked or didn't like in it. Not sure if that stayed for the newest versions.  I can't say what NI did or didn't do with this information but they seemed to have plenty of places for users to give feedback on.

Sounds like King Louis the XIV's court. If someone had just pointed out that the natural next step of such an IDE was to introduce "text shortcuts" to diagram objects, they were quite a short distance from reinventing a text-based programming language. Brilliant!

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4 hours ago, Mads said:

This mistreatment of WYSIWYG was the worst of NXG.

Having multiple front panels and block diagrams open at the same time, and being able to jump from run to edit mode quickly to do debugging and GUI-testing is one of the core strengths of LabVIEW.
The lack of understanding of this was also reflected in other changes, like the removal of the Run Continuously-button.

The front panels need to present themselves as close to what they will be during run-time as possible (greatly lowers the threshold for new users in understanding things, but also helps experienced developers maintain a healthy relationship to their GUI - and testing(!) during the whole development) , with a minimum of development-related real-estate wasted around them. It can be nice to have lots of stuff available around a window under active development, but only on that window and only when you want it.

Removal of Run Continuously. Vomit.

I lost my voice trying to explain how removing this is a totally unnecessary modification.

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On 12/23/2020 at 11:49 AM, ShaunR said:

Agreed.

I was just staring at the MDI toolkit. If I can get the diagram windows reference I can probably create a region where we can contain multiple VI FP's and their diagrams along with things like tile, minimise etc. Might have to create a hack by using the Subpanel's ability to show diagrams but maybe worth having a look at for giggles.

Getting there :)

image.png.e7445565a61d4c51811ef5f7d3b1788c.png

Edited by ShaunR
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On 12/23/2020 at 5:04 AM, Mads said:

Having multiple front panels and block diagrams open at the same time, and being able to jump from run to edit mode quickly to do debugging and GUI-testing is one of the core strengths of LabVIEW.

I think that depends on the use case. That was cool for me back in the days where I would write mostly 1off test code or stuff to support lab work. Meaning mostly non reentrant stuff connected to some form of NI Hardware to go along with it.

But when building multi threaded applications with many reentrant shared clones etc. Having multiple windows pop up because of the  awkward breakpoint system LV has It feels like the IDE it's trying to obfuscate the problem rather than help me zero in on it.

It is quite difficult to have the dev system spawn 50 windows because a shared clone breakpoint has been hit, and since the wire values are not retained by default that is not even helpful in 98 % of the cases. So you either are going to click X a million time or go to cmd line and type taskkill /im LabVIEW.exe /f with great vengeance and furious anger.

At this point I usually rely on a custom log to file solution to try and decipher what just happened, instead of having a whack a mole session, trying to find the actual window that makes sense to you in the context of what you're trying to do. I think the front panels is useful sometimes, but in many cases that I face, I would say 90% I care more about the Block Diagram and the wire values found within it.

Or worst yet ... and I feel ashamed and dirty I use one button dialog to see where my code actually went ... in tricky debug sessions when dealing with reentrancy and AF.

We have multiple use cases, and many of us ( myself included ) are dinosaurs. We are used to LabVIEW's quirks and do stuff our own way. From NI's perspective I totally understand how it is hard to get feedback on what the IDE should do, as I think that where you have 2 CLAs you have 3 opinions.

I was really looking forward to NXG to take a clean break and trying to take a crack at the making something that will allow me to use in a modern way. 

I get it it wasn't working and had to be stopped, lets just hope that the stuff NI has learned during development of NXG can be somewhat applied to current gen as it has fallen behind as an IDE quite badly.
 

 

Edited by Maciej Kolosko
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1 hour ago, Maciej Kolosko said:

in tricky debug sessions when dealing with reentrancy and AF.

There's your problem, right there. AF. If you are going to use this type of architecture, I suggest using DrJPowels framework instead

The key to multiple simultaneous actor debugging is hooking the messages between them; not necessarily the actors themselves.

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1 hour ago, ShaunR said:

There's your problem, right there. AF

I was clumsy in my post. It was more about debugging clones, and the way the breakpoint system works in the IDE, and not about AF. I think AF is awesome, and fits well within LV. It is debugging of shared clones and multiple windows that drives me bananas sometime, and that is what I was trying to point out.

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On 12/30/2020 at 3:42 PM, Maciej Kolosko said:

But when building multi threaded applications with many reentrant shared clones etc. Having multiple windows pop up because of the  awkward breakpoint system LV has It feels like the IDE it's trying to obfuscate the problem rather than help me zero in on it.

It is quite difficult to have the dev system spawn 50 windows because a shared clone breakpoint has been hit, and since the wire values are not retained by default that is not even helpful in 98 % of the cases. So you either are going to click X a million time or go to cmd line and type taskkill /im LabVIEW.exe /f with great vengeance and furious anger.

Having the ability to work with multiple front panels viewed as they will look in the built application, and looking at multiple diagrams at the same time, has very little to do with break-points and reentrancy. It's about WYSIWYG, testing, and having a good understanding of multiple interacting parts of your system. Having a thin line between what you see in edit mode and what you get when running is invaluable, not just to the understanding for beginners (which is a great plus), but for anyone wanting to avoid surprises because they lost the connection between the code and the result...

As for break-points in reentrant VIs that is something  to avoid and handle in a different way...that's a minor issue.

Edited by Mads
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On 12/23/2020 at 5:04 AM, Mads said:

Having multiple front panels and block diagrams open at the same time, and being able to jump from run to edit mode quickly to do debugging and GUI-testing is one of the core strengths of LabVIEW.

Wasn't this something NXG could do though? One NXG window could contain multiple tabs of VIs but you could have multiple NXG container windows all open to the same project.

I had my own issues with NXG but I've seen this type of complaint brought up and never really understood the problem. I've been in the "tons of VIs open debugging mode" but I often wont even remember which window is which and will just Ctrl+Shift+E and open the VI from the project to force it to the front.

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11 hours ago, jacobson said:

Wasn't this something NXG could do though? One NXG window could contain multiple tabs of VIs but you could have multiple NXG container windows all open to the same project.

I had my own issues with NXG but I've seen this type of complaint brought up and never really understood the problem. I've been in the "tons of VIs open debugging mode" but I often wont even remember which window is which and will just Ctrl+Shift+E and open the VI from the project to force it to the front.

For the first versions of NXG it was not possible. Then it started to allow you to have multiple instances of the VI open and hence to see both the diagram and the front panel at the same time, but each window had so much development-stuff surrounding it that it was not practical to have much more than one or two open. Hiding any of it to free up space and/or to see something closer to what you would see in the built application was not an option.

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4 hours ago, Mads said:

For the first versions of NXG it was not possible. Then it started to allow you to have multiple instances of the VI open and hence to see both the diagram and the front panel at the same time, but each window had so much development-stuff surrounding it that it was not practical to have much more than one or two open. Hiding any of it to free up space and/or to see something closer to what you would see in the built application was not an option.

That's fair, I don't think I ever tried debugging a built application.

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3 hours ago, jacobson said:

That's fair, I don't think I ever tried debugging a built application.

Who said anything about debugging a built application, it's about seeing what you get without having to build it - because WYSIWYG.

Many applications have multiple windows that run in parallel, and I want to see them like that during development. And I want multiple diagrams and front panels open while tracking the data flow and/or inserting debug values. I even want to be able to have panels open just to see them while I am working on something related, because it helps me maintain the full mental model of the thing I am working on. I do not want to be bothered minimizing windows all the time just to clear the space either, there is enough of that in current LabVIEW.

With NXG having more than one front panel or diagram per display was barely possible, no matter how small the actual front panel or diagram was.

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On 12/21/2020 at 5:33 PM, ensegre said:

I see. Thanks Rolf. In fact I am so used to see Qt used by vanilla OSS, that I overlooked the issue of licensing. All technical potential showstoppers aside, in any case.

https://www.theregister.com/2021/01/05/qt_lts_goes_commercial_only/

One more issue about using QT unless you are fully commercial already anyhow.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A new chapter in the NI saga?

Found in a recent SEC disclosure (I was trying to figure out whether the slow increase in NI stock value since last November was due to something else than the recent announcement that they were firing 10% of their employees to increase the shareholder happiness):

"On January 3, 2021, Carla Pineyro Sublett, the Company’s Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, and General Manager of the Portfolio Business, and a named executive officer, notified the Company of her intent to resign from the Company, effective February 1, 2021, to pursue other opportunities."

Who is Carla? Well, she is Mrs Super Green in the flesh: Carla Piñeyro Sublett - NI, first ever Chief Marketing Officer for NI.

Intrigued, I looked around and found a couple of (moderately) interesting podcasts:

Carla Piñeyro Sublett - Top podcast episodes (listennotes.com)

in which she sounds like a very capable lady, and confess that she "discovered" that the company was in need of not just a rebranding (which she carried out brilliantly, we will all agree) but a complete reform. Her decision seems to indicate that that opinion might not have sounded too great to her top brass colleagues...

I want to believe she was sincere when she says (said) that her customers are amazing people (a little bit emphatic, are we not?), and that they should be empowered (hence the picture of someone I assume is a customer "engineering ambitiously" on the  landing page). I am not sure whether that meant "listened to", but if that was it, she definitely was onto something.

NI: if your customers don't think you have what it takes to provide them with the tools they need to stay on the top, what do you think will happen? And if you don't want this to happen, what do you think you need to do?

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3 hours ago, X___ said:

and that they should be empowered (hence the picture of someone I assume is a customer "engineering ambitiously" on the  landing page). I am not sure whether that meant "listened to", but if that was it, she definitely was onto something.

Nah. That's just one of those vague marketing place-holders like "synergy" or "convergent" that is deliberately obtuse so that the customer interprets it in their own context.

Edited by ShaunR
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I would agree with Shaun. Looking at the link you provide, the podcasts on that page are typical marketing speak. Many nice words about a lot of hot air. Now, I'm not going to say it is unimportant in nowadays time. Much of our overhyped and overheated economy is about expensive sounding words and lots and lots of people wanting to believe them. In so far it certainly has influence and importance, no matter how artificial it may be. The problem I see with that is that there is little substantial content in the form of real assets that back the monetary value of the whole. It's mostly about abstract ideas, a strong believe system in them much like a religion and very little real substance. Anyone remembers the Golden Calf from the bible?

I sometimes wonder if we would have seen something like the 1999 and 2008 crash already, if we hadn't been all consumed with the pandemic instead. The current financial hausse in light of all the people complaining about how bad the economy got hit by the pandemic is nothing else but perverse in that respect.

Edited by Rolf Kalbermatter
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3 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

Anyone remembers the Golden Calf from the bible?

Are you suggesting we should grab a sword for the next visit to the sales and marketing dept.? :D 

I can see some merit in the idea :P

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9 hours ago, Rolf Kalbermatter said:

I would agree with Shaun. Looking at the link you provide, the podcasts on that page are typical marketing speak. Many nice words about a lot of hot air.

I am reading through that lingo and am trying to extract the substance. What I read is that she was hired by NI for a specific job, did (or not) do it and was, if not fired, at least forced into a situation which led to her resignation after about a year on the job. That sounds rather short to me, but it is true that I am not privy to the way things are working on modern corporate boards. Maybe that is the new trend. I suspect there is more to it, and that her opinion that the business was run in a very outdated manner (saying that on a podcast sounds to me very non-politically correct) may have been the main reason. After all, her title is/was Chief MARKETING Officer, not Chief OPERATING Officer. Then there is the question of whether the "Good Ol' Boys" club might have reacted unkindly to a female outsider (I am not clear what her Dell and Rack Space background means in terms of her tech-savvyness. After all, she appears to have a BA in architecture and seems to only have held marketing positions).

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On 1/22/2021 at 1:58 PM, ShaunR said:

Are you suggesting we should grab a sword for the next visit to the sales and marketing dept.? :D 

I can see some merit in the idea :P

While I prefer non-violence, I definitely feel more for a sword than a gun. It has some style. 😎

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