Friday, August 28, 2009

Changes to the LabVIEW 2009 Getting Started Window

I made a few changes to the Getting Started window in LabVIEW 2009.

On the right-hand side, the top section is now Latest from These links monitor feeds from*, notifying you of new content by displaying a number in parentheses to show how many articles have been posted in that category since the last time you clicked the link.**

If you mouse over these links, a tip strip previews the titles of the new articles.

On the left-hand size, there is now a dividing graphic that appears in the recent files list, between the projects and other files.

Also, it's not in Tools>>Options yet, but LabVIEW 2009 supports a config token for changing how many recent projects appear on the Getting Started window. Example: "MaxGSWRecentProjects=10" (The default is 2).

I hope you find these changes useful!

* - The web feeds are available only in the English version of LabVIEW 2009.
** - You might actually see more links when you click the link, because we filter out posts for modules that you're not using when determining the Getting Started window count. If you don't want LabVIEW to check the web for this information, you can disable the updates in Tools>>Options.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Improved Block Diagram Cleanup in LabVIEW 2009

One of my favorite features in LabVIEW 2009 is the improved Block Diagram Cleanup. We first saw Cleanup in LabVIEW 8.6. It worked well, but had a few limitations that caused me to use it only on small, simple VIs.

The improvements in LabVIEW 2009 have made Cleanup much more useful to me. It's a huge time-saver!

The most noticeable change is that you can now cleanup selections instead of entire diagrams. I use this frequently, selecting a loop or case structure and then clicking on the Cleanup button (the icon of a broom).

Another significant change is that LabVIEW handles free labels more intelligently. Instead of treating them the same as functions and moving them arbitrarily, LabVIEW attempts to keep free labels with the items that they probably describe. This is especially useful when you have labels on top of wires describing their data.

Finally, there is the ability to exclude individual loops and structures from the block diagram cleanup. This allows you to "lock down" sections of the code while still using the diagram-wide automatic cleanup. To use this feature, right click on the frame of a loop or structure and choose "Exclude from Diagram Cleanup."

No more spaghetti code!


Monday, August 10, 2009

Hi, I'm Christina

I had a great time at NIWeek 2009! It was so cool to meet with NI customers and see the amazing things they accomplish with our products.

One thing that surprised me is how many people were curious about me, the person who writes Eyes on VIs.

So I thought it would be good to take a moment to introduce myself.

Q: Who are you?
A: I'm Christina Rogers, a senior software engineer in the LabVIEW R&D group at National Instruments.

Q: What do you do?
A: Part of my job is that I'm a proponent of usability and user interface design. I help other developers design the UI for their features, including dialogs and such. I also implement LabVIEW features, both in C++ and in LabVIEW VIs (a.k.a. G).

Q: What kinds of things have you worked on?
A: I've been on the LabVIEW team for 12 years, so I've worked on all kinds of things, including the Getting Started window, the Navigation window, report generation, printing, the multicolumn listbox, type definitions, and other things I'm probably forgetting at the moment.

Q: And the "Eyes on VIs" blog?
A: I started this blog as a way to share my LabVIEW knowledge directly with LabVIEW users.

Q: Is it part of your job?
A: No. Although folks at NI appreciate that I run this blog, it's not what they pay me for.

Q: Who else works on "Eyes on VIs?"
A: Just me. I write the content, make the videos, do the graphics, do the web development, etc. Well, except for that time I had Norm as a guest blogger.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to leave me a comment!

Monday, August 03, 2009

LabVIEW 2009

It's NIWeek, and that means (you guessed it!) a new release of LabVIEW!

As you probably know, we changed the version number scheme so this release is LabVIEW 2009.

To see the new features, you should check out There is a nice video (click "See what's new") that's in Flash, so you can easily navigate to sections that interest you.

One change that isn't big enough to be listed as a new feature (and that I happened to work on) is a revised Edit Events dialog for the event structure:

This new design addresses numerous problems with the previous version of the dialog.
  • Grouping events in a tree structure helps keep the Event list browsable, and makes the commonly-used "Value Change" event visible without scrolling.
  • The flow when using the dialog is left-to-right, which should be easier for new users to understand.
  • The full label of the event case is visible instead of just the number.
  • The "Lock front panel" text includes "defer processing" to give a better indication that locking does not discard user actions while the panel is locked.

What are your favorite new features of LabVIEW 2009?