The LabVIEW Style Book (National Instruments Virtual Instrumentation Series) / Edition 1

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Overview

Drawing on the experiences of a world-class LabVIEW development organization, The LabVIEW Style Book is the definitive guide to best practices in LabVIEW development.

Leading LabVIEW development manager Peter A. Blume presents practical guidelines or “rules” for optimizing every facet of your applications: ease of use, efficiency, readability, simplicity, performance, maintainability, and robustness. Blume explains each style rule thoroughly, presenting realistic examples and illustrations. He even presents “nonconforming” examples that show what not to do—and why not. While the illustrations in the print book are in black and white, you can download full-color versions from the publisher web site for free.

Coverage includes

  • Significance of style: How good style improves quality and actually saves time over the full project life cycle
  • Before you code: Configuring your LabVIEW environment, and organizing your files on disk and in the LabVIEW project
  • LabVIEW project specifications: A specialized standard for specifying LabVIEW application requirements
  • Efficient VI layout and development: front panel, block diagram, icons, and connectors
  • Data structures: Choosing data types, efficient use of arrays and clusters, and special considerations with nested data structures
  • Error handling strategies: Trapping and reporting errors for robust and reliable applications
  • Design patterns: Standard VI architectures and application frameworks that promote good style
  • Documentation: Essential rules for source code documentation and streamlining the process
  • Code reviews: Enforcing a style convention using a checklist, the LabVIEW VI Analyzer Toolkit, and peer reviews
  • Appendixes: Convenient glossary and style rules summary

This book will be indispensable to anyone who wants to develop or maintain quality LabVIEW applications: developers, managers, and end users alike. Additionally, it will also be valuable to those preparing for NI’s Certified LabVIEW Developer or Certified LabVIEW Architect exams, which contain significant content on development style.

Foreword by Darren Nattinger

Preface

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Chapter 1 The Significance of Style

Chapter 2 Prepare for Good Style

Chapter 3 Front Panel Style

Chapter 4 Block Diagram

Chapter 5 Icon and Connector

Chapter 6 Data Structures

Chapter 7 Error Handling

Chapter 8 Design Patterns

Chapter 9 Documentation

Chapter 10 Code Reviews

Appendix A Glossary

Appendix B Style Rules Summary

Index

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780131458352
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 3/13/2007
  • Series: National Instruments Virtual Instrumentation Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 372
  • Sales rank: 1,060,735
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Blume is the founder and president of Bloomy Controls, Inc., a National Instruments Select Integration Partner that specializes in LabVIEW-based systems development. Since LabVIEW Version 2.5, Blume and his staff of engineers have solved more than a thousand industrial applications for customers throughout the northeastern United States. To promote consistent quality among multiple developers in multiple offices, Blume established and evolved the company’s LabVIEW development practices.

Blume has written and presented multiple LabVIEW style-related presentations, including Bloomy Controls’ Professional LabVIEW Development Guidelines at NIWeek 2002 and Five Techniques for Better LabVIEW Code at NIWeek 2003. He also has published technical articles in various trade publications, including Test & Measurement World, Evaluation Engineering, Electronic Design, and Desktop Engineering.

Blume holds a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Connecticut. He is a National Instruments Certified LabVIEW Developer and Certified Professional Instructor. The company has offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. For more information, visit www.bloomy.com.

Readers who want to contact Blume regarding style-related suggestions, questions, or comments may do so at the following email address: lvstyle@bloomy.com . Readers interested in contracting Bloomy Controls for a LabVIEW development project should call us directly or contact us through our website at www.bloomy.com/quote.

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Read an Excerpt

Preface

The LabVIEW Style Book is a comprehensive reference on recommended LabVIEW development practices. It contains guidelines designed to optimize the ease-of-use, efficiency, readability, maintainability, robustness, simplicity, and performance of LabVIEW applications. The book provides thorough explanations of each guideline, including examples and illustrations. The material leverages the work of the early pioneers of the LabVIEW community1, has evolved from many years of use by Bloomy Controls2, and has been reviewed by esteemed representatives of the LabVIEW community3. I invite you to learn from the experiences of myself and the staff at Bloomy Controls, Inc., by reading The LabVIEW Style Book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!Intended Reader

Intended readers include developers, managers, and organizations that develop or use LabVIEW applications. Developers that have learned and successfully applied the fundamentals of LabVIEW can use this material to learn LabVIEW best practices. Experienced beginners can use this book to form good programming habits early in their LabVIEW careers. You must have a working knowledge of fundamental LabVIEW principles and terminology, as instructed in a LabVIEW Basics I and II hands-on course4, and experience developing and deploying applications. Intermediate developers, who have mastered the fundamentals and are ready to take their skills to the next level, will learn the most from this material. No doubt you have experienced the power and flexibility of LabVIEW and are ready to concentrate on style. Advanced developers will strongly identifywith the contents, reinforce their knowledge and experience, and have a useful reference to share with colleagues. You might use The LabVIEW Style Book to help reduce the training and support burden you might have within your organization, to focus on your primary responsibilities. Managers and Organizations that employ multiple developers and users can gain maximum benefit by standardizing on these guidelines across the organization. Specifically, an organization might adopt the recommended guidelines and reference as its standard and require that all applications, whether received from internal or remote developers, consultants, or third-party systems integrators, conform to these guidelines. This approach ensures quality and consistency throughout an organization and helps satisfy industry quality standards.Organization

The chapters of The LabVIEW Style Book present guidelines and examples organized by topic. Chapter 1, "Introduction," discusses the significance of style, including its relationship to ease of use, efficiency, readability, maintainability, robustness, simplicity, and the performance of the completed application. Chapter 2, "Prepare for Good Style," presents considerations that influence style before you begin programming, including specifications, configuration of the LabVIEW environment, and project and file organization. Additionally, it presents a specialized standard for LabVIEW project specifications. Chapter 3, "Front Panel Style," Chapter 4, "Block Diagram," and Chapter 5, "Icon and Connector," present the basics for VI layout and development. Chapter 3 provides guidelines for layout, text, color, and navigation. It distinguishes separate guidelines for the front panels of GUI VIs and subVIs, where appropriate. Chapter 4 presents guidelines for layout, wiring, and data flow, along with techniques for optimizing data flow. Chapter 5 discusses good icon development practices and editing shortcuts, and covers standard connector terminal patterns, assignments, and conventions.

Chapter 6, "Data Structures," provides guidelines on data type selection and array and cluster development. A methodology is integrated with several useful reference tables for simplifying data type selection and configuration. Guidelines and examples for optimizing VIs involving complex data structures also are presented in this chapter. Chapter 7, "Error Handling," Chapter 8, "Design Patterns," and Chapter 9, "Documentation," expand upon the basics. Chapter 7 presents comprehensive guidelines for thorough error handling, along with special considerations for error handling within subVIs. Chapter 8 discusses common VI architectures that promote good style, beginning with simple subVI design patterns and progressing to single and multiple loop design patterns. It also describes several variations of the LabVIEW state machine. Additionally, Chapter 8 presents three complex application frameworks, including a dynamic framework that uses plug-ins, a multiple-loop framework, and a modular multiple-loop framework that uses loop-subVIs. Chapter 9 provides a summary of guidelines to facilitate source code documentation. Chapter 10, "Code Reviews," presents manual and automated methods of reviewing source code and enforcing style rules. The LabVIEW VI Analyzer Toolkit, an add-on tool that integrates with the LabVIEW environment for analyzing VIs, is discussed. An analysis task is configured and an application is evaluated using the VI Analyzer.

Appendixes include a glossary, a style rules summary, and a bibliography. Appendix A, "Glossary," provides a list of terms and definitions; many LabVIEW and software industry terms are evolutionary and context sensitive. Any term that seems specialized or ambiguous is defined where it first appears within the book and used consistently in successive chapters. The definitions are repeated in the glossary for ease of reference. Appendix B, "Style Rules Summary," lists the style guidelines presented in each chapter. Finally, additional references are noted throughout the book where they apply to the material, and each is described in Appendix C, "Bibliography." These include online documents and downloadable materials, books, and resources.

  • See the "Acknowledgments" section for a list of reviewers, contributors, and people who have helped advance the science of LabVIEW Style.
  • Bloomy Controls is a National Instruments Select Integration Partner with offices in Windsor, Connecticut; Milford, Massachusetts; and Fort Lee, New Jersey. Information is available at http://www.bloomy.com.
  • LabVIEW Basics I and II is a one-week hands-on course offered by NI Certified Training Centers. More information is available from http://sine.ni.com/nips/cds/view/p/lang/en/nid/2236.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Darren Nattinger xv

Preface xvii

Acknowledgments xx

About the Author xxii

Chapter 1 The Significance of Style 1

Chapter 2 Prepare for Good Style 21

Chapter 3 Front Panel Style 47

Chapter 4 Block Diagram 87

Chapter 5 Icon and Connector 129

Chapter 6 Data Structures 157

Chapter 7 Error Handling 203

Chapter 8 Design Patterns 239

Chapter 9 Documentation 299

Chapter 10 Code Reviews 319

Appendix A Glossary 339

Appendix B Style Rules Summary 349

Index 357

Read More Show Less

Preface

The LabVIEW Style Book is a comprehensive reference on recommended LabVIEW development practices. It contains guidelines designed to optimize the ease-of-use, efficiency, readability, maintainability, robustness, simplicity, and performance of LabVIEW applications. The book provides thorough explanations of each guideline, including examples and illustrations. The material leverages the work of the early pioneers of the LabVIEW community1, has evolved from many years of use by Bloomy Controls2, and has been reviewed by esteemed representatives of the LabVIEW community3. I invite you to learn from the experiences of myself and the staff at Bloomy Controls, Inc., by reading The LabVIEW Style Book. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Intended Reader

Intended readers include developers, managers, and organizations that develop or use LabVIEW applications. Developers that have learned and successfully applied the fundamentals of LabVIEW can use this material to learn LabVIEW best practices. Experienced beginners can use this book to form good programming habits early in their LabVIEW careers. You must have a working knowledge of fundamental LabVIEW principles and terminology, as instructed in a LabVIEW Basics I and II hands-on course4, and experience developing and deploying applications. Intermediate developers, who have mastered the fundamentals and are ready to take their skills to the next level, will learn the most from this material. No doubt you have experienced the power and flexibility of LabVIEW and are ready to concentrate on style. Advanced developers will strongly identify with the contents, reinforce their knowledge and experience, and have a useful reference to share with colleagues. You might use The LabVIEW Style Book to help reduce the training and support burden you might have within your organization, to focus on your primary responsibilities. Managers and Organizations that employ multiple developers and users can gain maximum benefit by standardizing on these guidelines across the organization. Specifically, an organization might adopt the recommended guidelines and reference as its standard and require that all applications, whether received from internal or remote developers, consultants, or third-party systems integrators, conform to these guidelines. This approach ensures quality and consistency throughout an organization and helps satisfy industry quality standards.

Organization

The chapters of The LabVIEW Style Book present guidelines and examples organized by topic. Chapter 1, "Introduction," discusses the significance of style, including its relationship to ease of use, efficiency, readability, maintainability, robustness, simplicity, and the performance of the completed application. Chapter 2, "Prepare for Good Style," presents considerations that influence style before you begin programming, including specifications, configuration of the LabVIEW environment, and project and file organization. Additionally, it presents a specialized standard for LabVIEW project specifications. Chapter 3, "Front Panel Style," Chapter 4, "Block Diagram," and Chapter 5, "Icon and Connector," present the basics for VI layout and development. Chapter 3 provides guidelines for layout, text, color, and navigation. It distinguishes separate guidelines for the front panels of GUI VIs and subVIs, where appropriate. Chapter 4 presents guidelines for layout, wiring, and data flow, along with techniques for optimizing data flow. Chapter 5 discusses good icon development practices and editing shortcuts, and covers standard connector terminal patterns, assignments, and conventions.

Chapter 6, "Data Structures," provides guidelines on data type selection and array and cluster development. A methodology is integrated with several useful reference tables for simplifying data type selection and configuration. Guidelines and examples for optimizing VIs involving complex data structures also are presented in this chapter. Chapter 7, "Error Handling," Chapter 8, "Design Patterns," and Chapter 9, "Documentation," expand upon the basics. Chapter 7 presents comprehensive guidelines for thorough error handling, along with special considerations for error handling within subVIs. Chapter 8 discusses common VI architectures that promote good style, beginning with simple subVI design patterns and progressing to single and multiple loop design patterns. It also describes several variations of the LabVIEW state machine. Additionally, Chapter 8 presents three complex application frameworks, including a dynamic framework that uses plug-ins, a multiple-loop framework, and a modular multiple-loop framework that uses loop-subVIs. Chapter 9 provides a summary of guidelines to facilitate source code documentation. Chapter 10, "Code Reviews," presents manual and automated methods of reviewing source code and enforcing style rules. The LabVIEW VI Analyzer Toolkit, an add-on tool that integrates with the LabVIEW environment for analyzing VIs, is discussed. An analysis task is configured and an application is evaluated using the VI Analyzer.

Appendixes include a glossary, a style rules summary, and a bibliography. Appendix A, "Glossary," provides a list of terms and definitions; many LabVIEW and software industry terms are evolutionary and context sensitive. Any term that seems specialized or ambiguous is defined where it first appears within the book and used consistently in successive chapters. The definitions are repeated in the glossary for ease of reference. Appendix B, "Style Rules Summary," lists the style guidelines presented in each chapter. Finally, additional references are noted throughout the book where they apply to the material, and each is described in Appendix C, "Bibliography." These include online documents and downloadable materials, books, and resources.

  • See the "Acknowledgments" section for a list of reviewers, contributors, and people who have helped advance the science of LabVIEW Style.
  • Bloomy Controls is a National Instruments Select Integration Partner with offices in Windsor, Connecticut; Milford, Massachusetts; and Fort Lee, New Jersey. Information is available at http://www.bloomy.com.
  • LabVIEW Basics I and II is a one-week hands-on course offered by NI Certified Training Centers. More information is available from http://sine.ni.com/nips/cds/view/p/lang/en/nid/2236.

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2007

    many recommendations apply to any GUI design

    Labview has grown so complex and powerful that the necessity has arisen for a book like this. Inevitable, I suppose. A lot of the recommedations by Blume are applicable to any GUI designer. Like minimising the text in labels. Few users want to or will read large paragraphs or long sentences pasted into labels. These act instead to clutter up the real estate of the display, and often will confuse the new user or irritate the experienced user, who does not need such a laborious elaboration. Another tip is to avoid string controls unless really required. The problem here is that the user then has many ways to enter a badly formatted string. Perhaps it should be a decimal integer. But she sticks a letter in it. In general, you should make the input widgets as robust as possible against faulty user input. Of course, many tips are specific to Labview. Try to have data flowing mostly in one direction in a circuit diagram. And not left to right, right to left, up and down. More generally, whenever you have wires, minimise the number of bends. Makes the overall picture much clearer for a user to grasp. All of which makes this book well worth it for a Labview designer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2009

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