Top 5 signs you’re not in control of your reusable VIs.
# 5 – You (and your team) aren’t using the reuse library.
You used to have big plans for your reusable VIs. You organized them. You had meetings to review them. You assigned someone the job to clean them up and create a great big library for everyone to share. But, that was years ago and, after an initial burst, progress and interest tapered off. You realized that reusable VIs were either too much trouble to find or too much work to maintain. You’re not really sure what went wrong, but something did go wrong because your reusable VIs (and all the effort that was put into them) aren’t being reused.
# 4 – You haven’t added new VIs to your reuse library in years.
Something killed the fun and/or productivity gain you thought would be realized when you started your reuse library. You’re not really sure what it is, but you know that it’s just too much work to reuse VIs. Sure, you’re reusing a VI here and there, but your grand reuse library isn’t really growing — it’s just too much work add new VIs to it.
#3 - You’re missing VIs when you open your project and palettes.
You write a great reusable VI for project A, so you copy it over to project B. Then, you find and fix a bug in a reusable VI while working on B, so you copy the fixed VI over to project A. When you try to open your project after copying your reusable VIs, you’re missing some important subVIs. Or, maybe they are missing from your LabVIEW palettes after you spent hours getting the palettes just the way you like them. You spend even more hours trying to find the missing VIs and put all the pieces back together. In the time you spend, you might as well have just rewritten the VIs from scratch.
#2 - You have multiple copies of your reusable VIs in several projects, but they’re all slightly different.
When projects are started you always grab the latest and greatest version of your reuse library. Why wouldn’t you? Then, as you work on your project, you find and fix a few bugs, and add a few useful VI inputs and features. Like most people you tend to work on one or two main projects at a time and do occasional maintenance on a handful of others. But, when you’re working on a project you’re more focused on getting the job done, than you are in making sure that your “main reuse library” gets updated (or that the copies of it in various projects are kept in sync). As a result, each project has a slightly different copy of your reuse library. In fact, you might have even fixed the same bug multiple times in different projects. And, you’re not really sure which projects have the fix and which ones still have the bug.
1) You’ve rewritten the same VI over a dozen times!!!
You have had ambitions to create a reusable VI library, but you never really got around to it (or, you’ve tried and not gotten very far). It’s way easier to just rewrite that VI than to find the one that you already wrote, because you have no idea where that other one is. But, you’re rewritten that same VI at least a dozen times and it’s driving you crazy. You’ve just about had it. You wonder, “I’m an engineer, so why you keep reinventing the same wheel?”
So what now? Should you give up on the idea of reusable VIs?
Of course, we should not give up. One great solution is VI Package Manager. Stay tuned for my follow-up article The 5 steps to take control of your reusable VI library where I’ll tell you everything you need to know to regain control.