Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Less can be more

I admit to spending much more time than seems reasonable reading Slashdot. Is following commentary on Apple’s new MacBook Pro (horrible name but I want one anyway) really that good a use of my time? Sometimes, your brain just needs a break. Other times, you stumble across really good articles (check out Guy Kawasaki’s new blog). Joel on Software is running an update to the book he wrote years ago on design. In the introductory article, he mentions

Every new feature is a tradeoff, between the people who could really use such a feature and the people who are just going to get overwhelmed by all the options.

...even if you think your new feature is all good and can't hurt because "people who don't care can just ignore it," you're forgetting that the people who allegedly don't care are still forced to look at your feature and figure out if they need it.

LabVIEW is running into a bit of this. After 15 years, we’ve added a heck of a lot of things that are useful or even necessary for developers. They hopefully make your job easier or allow you to get things done faster. However, for those of you who are brand new to LabVIEW, all of those cool little options must be overwhelming. Sometimes we get a bit nostalgic for “LabVIEW 2” because it was simple.

Well, we’ve gotten a chance to think about what LabVIEW would be like if you strip it down to the basics and you can get your hands on it real soon now. My latest secret project is finally starting to reveal itself with the announcement of the Lego Mindstorms NXT. There are very few public screenshots of the software, but here are a few

It will be very interesting to see the difference between a 12-year old using LabVIEW (via RoboLAB) and that same child using the Mindstorms product. I’ll bet we’ll learn how to make your lives easier too.

Technocrati Tags: User Interface, LEGO, Mindstorms, LabVIEW


At 8:19 AM, Blogger sachsm said...

How much of the Labview metaphor has been recast? It looks like they will have something like sequences and loops. Will there be any compatibility with standard Labview? I noticed that the release date for the lego system is in August, is the ni software still in the works (i.e. beta)?

At 4:20 AM, Blogger Joel said...

At this point, I'll defer comment until the software actually comes out since it's Lego's product. Just as there were other ways of programming the RCX besides Lego's tools, I expect you will see additional ways of programming the NXT :-)


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