Author Topic: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.  (Read 9380 times)

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Offline AlanS

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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #51 on: May 02, 2020, 01:51:34 am »
I was a beta tester and while I have downloaded the released version, I have yet to install and try it out.   I hope to give it a try over the weekend and see if I run into any problems with it.   Keeping my fingers crossed that they have not crippled it in any way and provide the application builder.   If it's all there, this is going to be a really nice setup. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:
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Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #52 on: May 02, 2020, 02:45:14 am »
I was a beta tester and while I have downloaded the released version, I have yet to install and try it out.   I hope to give it a try over the weekend and see if I run into any problems with it.   Keeping my fingers crossed that they have not crippled it in any way and provide the application builder.   If it's all there, this is going to be a really nice setup.

Yes the Application Builder is included.

 
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Online joeqsmith

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #53 on: May 02, 2020, 02:53:37 am »
That's very good news.  What's up with the 365 day license?  Is it free or isn't it?   If say someone uses this to develop a bunch of applications, what happens at the end of the year?  Are they fucked?  If so and it's really just an extended trial, IMO, that's even worse.  Are they being upfront about it or is it hidden top secrete info like daves $150 meter?     
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:
https://github.com/joeqsmith
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #54 on: May 02, 2020, 03:05:34 am »
That's very good news.  What's up with the 365 day license?  Is it free or isn't it?   If say someone uses this to develop a bunch of applications, what happens at the end of the year?  Are they fucked?  If so and it's really just an extended trial, IMO, that's even worse.  Are they being upfront about it or is it hidden top secrete info like daves $150 meter?     

You need to activate the product with your NI account. So I guess you could always renew the license.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #55 on: May 02, 2020, 04:24:52 am »
If they require you to renew after a year, they may force you to change over to NXG, start charging you for it or any other number of possibilities.  I was reading what they have published and I am not so sure now what they are offering.   It seems like if a person was going to invest the time required to learn a new tool like LabView, they would want to make sure it was going to be around. 

Don't get me wrong, I really like the product and it's saved me a lot of time but I own a license and it's not required to phone home or renew.   It just works. 

If you find out more details,  please post them. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:
https://github.com/joeqsmith
 
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Offline AlanS

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #56 on: May 02, 2020, 08:12:53 am »
Like Joe says, learning is an investment in time.

I'm slowly ramping up the license level I pay for with Eagle as I now use it more, getting more efficient and can afford it. But it, like LabView is still only a tool and a small part of what I do.
 

Offline SilverSolder

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #57 on: May 02, 2020, 12:09:27 pm »
Like Joe says, learning is an investment in time.

I'm slowly ramping up the license level I pay for with Eagle as I now use it more, getting more efficient and can afford it. But it, like LabView is still only a tool and a small part of what I do.

Imagine if you had to subscribe to every little tool in your garage and/or shed...   -   it just isn't a useful business model unless the product actually is a service,  rather than pretending to be a service.
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #58 on: May 02, 2020, 02:23:31 pm »
That's very good news.  What's up with the 365 day license?  Is it free or isn't it?   If say someone uses this to develop a bunch of applications, what happens at the end of the year?  Are they fucked?  If so and it's really just an extended trial, IMO, that's even worse.  Are they being upfront about it or is it hidden top secrete info like daves $150 meter?     

So today I now have 364days left. When you install and then activate the community edition, they give you a year of usage. Look like they are using a license scheme similar to Fusion360 and they left the door open to change the details of the usage contract along the way.

Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much. It's in their best interest to foster and support the hobbyist community. And extending the license after a year is probably going to be possible.

Btw, the Home edition is also phoning home when you install it. The unlocking is done with a serial number and not via your NI account. Still use the same NI license server and etc ...
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #59 on: May 02, 2020, 02:29:03 pm »
Like Joe says, learning is an investment in time.

I'm slowly ramping up the license level I pay for with Eagle as I now use it more, getting more efficient and can afford it. But it, like LabView is still only a tool and a small part of what I do.

Imagine if you had to subscribe to every little tool in your garage and/or shed...   -   it just isn't a useful business model unless the product actually is a service,  rather than pretending to be a service.

Who's talking about subscription ? you can buy a license for LabVIEW and it's yours. You can use it as much as you want. I still have a licence for LabVIEW Home Edition 2014 and can install it when I want and use it as much as I want.

The Community Edition seam to be a bit different where they don't give you a permanent licence. Usage condition can change along the way but Hey … it's free  ;D
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #60 on: May 02, 2020, 02:40:19 pm »
Anybody can tell me the big difference between LabVIEW and LabVIEW NXG ?

I started with LabVIEW but I'm wondering if I should switch to LabVIEW NXG.
 

Offline moore

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #61 on: May 02, 2020, 05:14:32 pm »
Anybody can tell me the big difference between LabVIEW and LabVIEW NXG ?

NXG is a start from scratch version.  LabVIEW has gotten extremely bloated and complex, many people like me just gave up on it years ago because we weren't using it full time, and it was impossible to keep up with all of the changes year/year and the nuances.   NXG maybe less capable but is much simpler to get started with.   Sometimes all I want to do is grab some analog input levels and graph them.  I can do this in a couple of minutes with NXG, total no-brainer.  With old LabVIEW, if I didn't have appropriate old code, I would mess around for 30 minutes trying to do the same, looking up things along the way, and sometimes it... .just wouldn't work.... oh, forgot to set this or that abstracted variable to the right thing, forgot to make that wire right, forgot to error trap properly.... now it works.   OG LabVIEW is aggravating if its the sort of thing you do 3 times a year, IMO.

I think NXG is free to try if you have current service.  I love it personally, perfect for "I need to control/measure this now" use.
 
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Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #62 on: May 02, 2020, 06:37:48 pm »
Thanks.

BTW, they also offer a community edition of LabVIEW NXG for free. I guess I will start with NXG since I have 0 experience with the old labview.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2020, 06:49:29 pm by Kosmic »
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #63 on: May 02, 2020, 07:02:30 pm »
I looked at NXG and saw they had removed some features I use a lot.  Similar to their 64-bit version of LabView.   This is why I am still running the older 32-bit version. 

I am currently using 2011 for home.  I did pick up the 2014 home edition with the watermark which has helped me port code but that's pretty much all I use it for. 

I would upgrade more often if I saw any need for it but really my projects are fairly simple so I just stay with what works.  That and I have been burned by upgrading.   Typically, they will drop support for hardware.   At one point they redid all their serial communications which rendered it useless.   How you mess up a serial port, when the OS is handling it for you, I have no idea but someone there figured it out.  NIs response was buy our USB serial adapters.    Changing to 2011 was fine, until I went to Windows 10.  This broke the GPIB interface for my controllers.   I still have to run a virtualbox for some of my code but I am slowly porting it over to use direct TCP calls.   They managed to screw up PCI interface at one point.  It took me a long time to hunt this one down.  I had it narrowed down to a single DLL or something.  Finally their tech support came through.  Turned out the had added something and rather than appending it to some table, they stuck it in the middle which broke all the calls below it.  Some crazy BS like that.   

So yea, I cringe when I have to "upgrade" from something that I at least know what the problems are and how to work around them.   That's not just with LabView. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:
https://github.com/joeqsmith
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #64 on: May 02, 2020, 07:57:40 pm »
Well i'm back to LabVIEW standard. Tried NXG and was not able to connect it to my AWG via GPIB.
 

Offline jjoonathan

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #65 on: May 02, 2020, 09:20:52 pm »
I love my AD007 Ethernet->GPIB adapter. Since VXI11 is standardized, all you need is a python module, so installation takes, well, let's see:

Code: [Select]
jjoo:/$ time pip install python-vxi11
Collecting python-vxi11
  Using cached https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/c7/d9/7b9cd149295be9ade54e7d29f5ab09af1a4aefdbdc425c577522f3fc7d18/python-vxi11-0.9.tar.gz
Building wheels for collected packages: python-vxi11
  Building wheel for python-vxi11 (setup.py) ... done
  Created wheel for python-vxi11: filename=python_vxi11-0.9-cp37-none-any.whl size=18194 sha256=45274cde25f596a450e785c9122878eebc1a1ef1c10769b0fb74b3a1907e8b08
  Stored in directory: /home/jon/.cache/pip/wheels/a6/db/4a/d98e940537b436c3d9f1d555f433cf053d9f692b09ea577d8f
Successfully built python-vxi11
Installing collected packages: python-vxi11
Successfully installed python-vxi11-0.9

real 0m3.475s
user 0m3.120s
sys 0m0.222s

3.5 seconds, and I don't even have to make a yearly ritual of digging up every SD card and every pi I've install it on and feeding it a fresh activation code. Jupyterlab, ipywidgets, and holoviews aren't as slick as labview, but they're good enough and they're not *just* free-as-in-beer.
 

Offline jjoonathan

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #66 on: May 02, 2020, 09:24:27 pm »
Aw heck, it was cached! For posterity I need to retroactively add
Code: [Select]
jjoo:/tmp$ time curl -O https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/c7/d9/7b9cd149295be9ade54e7d29f5ab09af1a4aefdbdc425c577522f3fc7d18/python-vxi11-0.9.tar.gz
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100 19967  100 19967    0     0   141k      0 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:--  142k

real 0m0.145s
user 0m0.020s
sys 0m0.000s

0.145 seconds to that figure.
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #67 on: May 02, 2020, 11:17:04 pm »
The GPIB driver is easy to install for me too  :)

The LabView instrument driver, not so much. Since old LabView instrument drivers are not compatible with NXG, you can only find drivers for relatively recent instruments. Since I pretty much only have old instruments around and I don't really want to rewrite all those drivers because I'm lazy, I will stick with the old LabView.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #68 on: May 02, 2020, 11:50:08 pm »
Are you saying that NXG can't import LabView code?  If so, that's a big mistake IMO. 

I never understood the whole "driver" name.  It's just code like any other VI.  GPIB, that's a driver.  Example code to talk with my arb over GPIB, not so much.     
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:
https://github.com/joeqsmith
 

Online Kosmic

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #69 on: May 03, 2020, 12:01:02 am »
Are you saying that NXG can't import LabView code?  If so, that's a big mistake IMO. 

I never understood the whole "driver" name.  It's just code like any other VI.  GPIB, that's a driver.  Example code to talk with my arb over GPIB, not so much.   

Yep, it need to be converted. They have a tool to do that apparently but it's not completely automatic.

That's really unfortunate. I kind of liked the new C node in NXG. I need to check how hard it is to create a C# node in LabVIEW.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2020, 12:08:27 am by Kosmic »
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #70 on: May 03, 2020, 12:18:36 am »
That's too bad as I can't see porting my old code and most of it gets reused time and time again for various projects.  After all, for the most part I use LabView to collect and post process data.  My test equipment doesn't change so it's normally a matter of just putting together some bits of code to get something working.  It's proven to be very efficient. 

I used to use C and assember with LabView to gain some speed.   I gave up my P4 and bought a new PC about 4 years ago.  This thing is so fast, I now just use Labview. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:
https://github.com/joeqsmith
 

Offline JohnG

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #71 on: May 06, 2020, 09:08:10 pm »
The subscription model combined with proprietary files makes it a non-starter for me. If you do this for a living, you will get burned eventually. The following can happen, in no particular order of severity:

-You can lose access to the software application, period, and all work you did with it, with no recourse.

-You can lose access to your data because you can't justify continuing to pay a subscription, either to your manager or yourself.

-You can be forced to maintain a separate computer or multiple computers to maintain access to your data, either because the company quit supporting your application, got swallowed by another company, went out of business, etc.

-You can need to pay back maintenance fees for software that you have not used for years, just to gain access to your data or make it usable again.

-You can be pestered by salespeople endlessly.

-The correlation between money spent on proprietary software and its quality is rather weak.

-You can go grey or lose your hair before your time (or maybe that's from the flux fumes...)

All of the above have happened to me at one point or another. If any of these happen to you, you may need to move to new software. This will likely cause pain, cost serious money, etc. Starting many (15?) years ago, I have moved to open source software with open data formats where possible. It can range wildly in quality, but some of it is really good. It has it's own set of problems, but I have yet to permanently lose access to data. This is not a religious thing for me (for example, I use Altium because that's what my employer has, and it mostly works), it is just my defense against the above. Seems to be working fairly well for me.

For instrumentation reading and control, we use Python quite a lot. It does what we need, has an acceptable footprint, and our experience with it has been good. We feel we have saved money and time with it, so the experience has been good. It also has made it much easier to spend money on software that we do buy. Altium's not cheap... If it does not meet your needs, well, then, it doesn't. But, even if you start on this road, and later find out you want to invest in Labview, you will enter that situation with a lot more knowledge about what your needs are. Any Python skills you develop may be useful for other things, though.

By the way, "free" does not imply "open-source". If you are using "free" software and you are violating its license, be aware that updating it is an ideal way to telegraph to someone that you are likely to be using it. This can give the supplier some pretty strong leverage over you if they feel they would benefit from such.

John
« Last Edit: May 06, 2020, 09:58:56 pm by JohnG »
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Offline jjoonathan

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #72 on: May 06, 2020, 09:55:26 pm »
The GPIB driver is easy to install for me too  :)

The LabView instrument driver, not so much. Since old LabView instrument drivers are not compatible with NXG, you can only find drivers for relatively recent instruments. Since I pretty much only have old instruments around and I don't really want to rewrite all those drivers because I'm lazy, I will stick with the old LabView.

Ok, let's install some instrument drivers in python. Packages are separate by subject area, so let's use RF as an example, because that's what I've been hacking on recently.

Code: [Select]
jon@jcomp:/$ time pip install scikit-rf
Collecting scikit-rf
  Downloading https://files.pythonhosted.org/packages/0f/c7/18a46bf8205f0b0b8f3c35e24fe844cd48538af6eb55245c3d947827dcc1/scikit_rf-0.15.2-py3-none-any.whl (2.0MB)
     |████████████████████████████████| 2.0MB 920kB/s
Installing collected packages: scikit-rf
Successfully installed scikit-rf-0.15.2

real 0m2.950s
user 0m2.249s
sys 0m0.200s

Not only did it install instrument drivers, including those for my old instruments, in 3 seconds, it also installed some feature emulation code that I wrote years ago and contributed back. I didn't have to dig it up on an old hard drive, or in an old account, and I didn't have to maintain it in the meantime, it was just there, and if you have the same old instrument, it would be just there for you too, even though the commercial world stopped caring about these instruments 20 years ago.

Like JohnG said, licensing headaches go far beyond the money you pay. That's still probably the strongest argument for open source, but being plugged into an ecosystem where you can see code and tweak code and fix the one place where the platform lets you down is also fantastic.

Well, at least so long as the open source infrastructure is close enough to being complete that it really is just one issue and a handful of setup headaches in your way. There are certainly places where open source still isn't competitive, but when it comes to instrument control, it's viable. It's not as slick, but it is viable, and it has some major advantages.
 

Online joeqsmith

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #73 on: May 06, 2020, 10:00:20 pm »
... If you do this for a living, you will get burned eventually. ...

If you did this for a living, you would not be using the home edition.  Well unless your ethics are in the shitter. 
How electrically robust is your meter?? https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsK99WXk9VhcghnAauTBsbg
Software, documentation and test reports for the low cost NanoVNA & V2 Plus 4 may be found here:
https://github.com/joeqsmith
 

Offline jjoonathan

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Re: Advantages/Disadvantages NI, LabView, etc.
« Reply #74 on: May 06, 2020, 10:25:53 pm »
Which of JohnG's complaints apply only to the home edition?
 


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