NIDays Benelux 2017
On Tuesday 14 November it was NIDays Benelux, once again located at the Van de Valk Hotel in Eindhoven. For those who don’t know, NIDays Benelux is an annual event hosted by National Instruments where they showcase the latest hardware on offer and also present what they have planned for the future of their flagship software product, LabVIEW.
This year was no exception, with the announcement of LabVIEW NXG 1.0 and the upcoming NXG 2.0 there was a lot to discuss. From the hardware side the biggest announcement was regarding the new ATE Core Configurations system, along with the related VST updates. The new VST was quite interesting as we are involved with developing test systems for RF products and often the NI VSTs are used.
Why 2017 was Different
This year however was a little different for me, I was also presenting in one of the sessions. After overcoming my fears at the CLA Summit earlier this year (you can read about that here), I am trying to give something back to the community and share some of my experience. As the Netherlands now has an official user group – DutLUG – there was a track especially designed for slightly more technical topics. This is where I would be presenting.
My presentation would discuss the “LabVIEW Ecosystem”, the collection of tools and services that can be used to help with your software development. The submitted abstract was:
“As a LabVIEW developer, having a good understanding of architectures and design patterns is essential, however it is only half of the story. Without the surrounding support services such as source code control and requirements tracking, you are developing in isolation. As applications grow larger, utilising this ecosystem becomes ever more important to the success of your project. This presentation will show the theory, the practice and the benefits of the “LabVIEW Ecosystem”.”
I designed the presentation specifically so that it did not provide any answers. It was intended purely as a “hey, did you know about this tool…” kind of discussion and not a “this is what you should be doing” lecture. If the attendees went away and simply Googled one of the topics, then I consider it a success.
Something else that was different to other years is that I had the privilege of driving down to Eindhoven with Danielle Jobe, an American who has recently moved to Rotterdam. Danielle works for JKI, a LabVIEW development company based in California, USA and moved here with her partner in June.
To be honest it was nice to have someone to share the ride with, as normally I travel alone to these things because (as far as I know) there are no other people from Rotterdam attend. As well as the obvious LabVIEW based discussions we also spoke about the current political situation in the USA, apparently they have a new president or something, maybe I’ll have a look to see if he’s on Twitter…
Anyway, back to the main event… As usual at NIDays Benelux there were several different tracks, each offering a different theme of discussion. This year the tracks were:
- Test and Measurement
- DAQ and Test Cells
- Software Development (the DutLUG track)
- Control and Embedded Design
- Academic Summit
These titles are mostly self explanatory, with the Academic Summit being the only one I have not really seen before. This seems to be aimed at getting people interested in engineering and specifically in the NI Academic Program.
The full agenda can be found here
After looking through what was on offer I decided to attend the presentations listed below, along with a short review:
Simplify Standardisation and Reduce Risk with ATE Core Configurations – Joris Donders (NI)
This was interesting to me as I have worked quite extensively with the NI Semiconductor Test System and this new product is along the same lines. Presented by Joris Donders – who I have met many times before – it was quite interesting to see how NI are trying to get into different markets, leveraging the flexibility of their hardware and software.
Practical Guide to Connecting LabVIEW to Cloud Platforms – Erik van Hilten (NI)
I chose this as I will soon be starting a project what involves LabVIEW pushing data to the cloud for storage and sharing with others. To be honest I had no idea what the capabilities of LabVIEW are with regards to the cloud, and this was a great introduction. It started with the technical lingo and showed several different toolkits that are available for free download.
LabVIEW in the Cloud – Dries Crauwels (Indusol)
This is similar to the above presentation, however it was focussing on a specific application rather than the generic possibilities. The main platform discussed was the various Amazon services, including S3 (storage) and the AI platforms. There was also a magic trick, that while lacking the theatre and drama of David Copperfield, highlighted the opportunities offered by cloud computing.
Caraya: A New Take on LabVIEW Unit Testing – Danielle Jobe (JKI)
As my projects are starting to grow and become more complex, I am always looking for ways to improve my process and develop smarter and faster. The main focus was “Caraya”, a simple, lightweight toolkit for implementing effective Unit Testing directly within you LabVIEW VI’s. As Unit Testing is something I don’t usually do, its ease of use opened up the possibility of them become a standard part of my development.
Normally there would be 5 presentations (excluding the keynotes) however as I was giving one of them, I could only attend 4.
At the end of the event there are always drinks and nibbles to enjoy while networking and catching up with people. During this closing “wrap up” there is also a prize draw, where business cards are drawn from a bucket. It was with great shock that I was one of the lucky winners!! My prize was a free training course from NI, which I will look forward to taking.
Overall it was a great day and I really enjoyed seeing many old faces, while also seeing new ones. The presentations were really good this year and it was a happy coincidence that some of them were directly related to my projects.
Next stop, the CLA Summit in
Thanks for reading folks!