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Unread 10-22-2008, 01:11 PM
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cRIO: Traditional or LabVIEW?

Hey guys. I've been following this stuff about the new control system and I have a couple questions, mainly pertaining to the programming aspects of it. Now, I may have overlooked something simple in reading about the document, but here's what I would like to know.
Since our team is small, and lost our chief programmer to graduation, is it still possible to use MPLab in any way (Mainly, I mean the C programming codes of old.)?

Or will we have to learn to use labVIEW, which none of us know how to use?

A subquestion of the one above: what is the best way to learn how to operate labVIEW?

(I'm having to reteach myself the old C+ codes that we used last year to get a hold on the concept so i can teach it to the new programmers, but I don't want to go too far and then have to dramatically shift gears)
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Unread 10-22-2008, 01:18 PM
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Re: cRIO: Traditional or LabVIEW?

You could conceivably use mpLab as you Development Environment but the code would basically be useless. The new controller will either use C++ OR Labview. Now, C and C++ are very similar but I doubt any old code will work.

Onward and Forward, the quickest and possibly easiest way to learn labview is to play with it. It is available from the FIRST website. NI has many tutorials out specifically for FRC teams to learn.

Now if you wanted to use C++ the best thing to do NOW would be start learning it.
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Unread 10-22-2008, 01:58 PM
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Re: cRIO: Traditional or LabVIEW?

Preparing for this year in programming is particularly difficult since with the exception of the Beta Test teams, no one has access to or experience with the FIRST Libraries/VIs. In the 04 change from PBASIC to C teams were given a special EduBot controller to practice. Once the testing is done, we should all get the libraries and a cRIO (if pay for shipping) shortly before the season.

Until then at MOEU we have the students practicing with both LV and C++. For C++, we are using Eclipse with MinGW toolchain. I am thinking about making dummy classes to resemble the new WPILib and having the students practice with them. For classes methods that get an input I am thinking about reading from a file or calculating based on past output. Then just print out output methods.

MPLAB is not very useful IMHO now (and never was a great IDE). I recommend you:
  • Download Eclipse for C/C++ since this year's IDE WindRiver Workbench uses an Eclipse plugin (from my understanding).
  • Download MinGW if you use Windows so you can complile your programs. Both are open source free programs.
  • Look through the WPILib Documentation to get a sense of how to use it.
  • Also download free FIRST Labview 8.5.1 and get a feel for it
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Unread 10-22-2008, 07:43 PM
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Re: cRIO: Traditional or LabVIEW?

I attended a workshop hosted by WPI on the use of C++ last month. The good news is that it isn't as scary as you might think. I also have a team without strong programming skills, I will have to learn this system and teach to my students and I am not that strong in programming.

The basic package will have a step by step with screen shots for the set up. The classes as shown on wpi's doxygen page form the basic structure. Code will still go in autonomous and tele sections. We were told that you will be able to run a robot out-of-the-box with the default code. I asked!

I am hoping that someone will start posting C++ sample code so that those of us that are not using labview will see what to expect
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Unread 10-22-2008, 09:32 PM
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Re: cRIO: Traditional or LabVIEW?

If you go to the Wind River site you can download a trial version here.
This is a special version of Eclipse with all the necessary goodies. I don't think you'll need MinGW. I installed this version and it was completely painless. I'm very excited about getting started with Wind River.

To be fair, I also downloaded LabVIEW. I'm not sure if I like the idea of programming this way, I'm a little "old-school" you might say. Never-the-less I hope to get a good understanding of it before we get too involved this year. I plan to give our team the opportunity to try both environments.
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Unread 10-23-2008, 04:08 PM
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Re: cRIO: Traditional or LabVIEW?

One of the purposes of the beta teams was to help develop default code that all teams could use to at least have a functional robot. We are working hard t o make that happen. We have been able to make everything on last years bot run with Labview.
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Unread 10-23-2008, 04:18 PM
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Re: cRIO: Traditional or LabVIEW?

Dave,
Thanks.
Not being in the loop as a non-beta team has got the rest of us all ancy waiting to get our hands on the control system (late November I guess).

-Glenn
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