Yesterday, I got an unexpected surprise in the mail — a complimentary copy of Peter Blume’s new book, “The LabVIEW Style Book”. I was very happy to see this book hit the shelves because Peter and I were both working on our books at roughly the same time and I can really relate to the experience he must have had trying to get it finished. When I was struggling with deadlines and a mountain of tasks, it was comforting to know that others out there were fighting the same good battle.
Now, about the book… I haven’t read the whole book (I only got it yesterday), but I have skimmed through it. I can tell already that it’s got a lot of great advice for LabVIEW developers. The book is organized by topics and each topic has several “rules” or style guidelines. As I skimmed through the rules, every one that I saw made good sense. After using LabVIEW for about 12 years, most of these rules seem obvious to me, but they weren’t obvious when I first started using LabVIEW. This means that by reading Peter’s book, you can save yourself a lot of time and learn from the decades of development and debate between LabVIEW developers.
I believe that this is a very important book for anyone using LabVIEW, and especially new developers and companies that are training new developers. Good programming style is probably one of the most important aspects of LabVIEW programming. It makes your code readable, maintainable, and helps you conform to best practices that have a deep importance beyond what might be visible at the surface.
Even if you don’t agree with Peter’s style guidelines, that’s OK. The debates that result from discussions about this book’s style guidelines are sure to be educational and of immense value to all those involved. In fact, you might be inclined, for yourself or your organization, to create amendments or an addendum to The LabVIEW Style book that contains your own LabVIEW style guidelines. Personally, I can’t wait to have a heated LabVIEW style debate with the rest of the gang at JKI. I definitely recommend that anyone who cares about the quality and professionalism other their software read “The LabVIEW Style Book”.
[update 3/24/2007] Peter has asked me to post a link to the book’s companion web site. It contains downloads to the resources described in the book, including an electronic summary of the style rules. The downloads are not fully functional yet, but will be in another week. Visitors must register in order to download.