C programming questions and other

I’m the head programmer and I’m most familiar with Labview since that was what we used on our bot last year, but I’m always looking to learn more about it via workshops, presentations, slide-shows, step-by-steps, or even a manual. I know about some of the more common places to look for this online such as LVmastery, and the NI website.

but I’m wondering if anyone knows of any other Labview and/or C tutorials/training websites that are geared specifically to FIRST and include help programming stuff used in FIRST such as encoders, gyros, etc.?

Last year at regionals and the championship I noticed that most teams used C programming and when we needed help with programming they couldn’t help much since they weren’t using labview. I highly doubt this but I was wondering is there is any way of taking a finished program in labview and then converting it to C with a converting program or anything?

I don’t think that is possible, considering LabView writes G Code.


Nope. That being said, I suspect more teams will dabble in Labview as time goes on, as teams have had more time to learn it. So if being able to get help at competitions becomes a primary concern in picking a language this year, don’t fret about picking Labview. I know for your regionals in particular, 1714 has several members who now know how to work with Labview who would love to help at competition time, if you guys need assistance.

Team 2502 will also assist in any way possible. We used LabView last year. We decided to go C++ this year. We’re already liking it much better…

Our reason was for the following (but not exclusive to):

  • Source control*
  • Diff*
  • Build time*
  • Mentor expertise
  • Student experience
  • Cross Platform workspace**
  • Preference
  • I realize the new version of LabView has them built in. However, two things. 1. We decided long before we knew of the new LabView versions. 2. We have way more student/mentor expertise in C++ than in LabView.

** I know that in order to build, it requires WindRiver on a PC. However, any OS with a basic text/code editor can edit, merge, commit, and push changes to a repository (Git, in our case). Then we have a dedicated station where we pull all the changes, patch, build, and download. It’s impossible to do that with LabView…

But truly to be honest, any language could get the job done equally well…

If I’m correct there’s a nice little FRC manual for LabVIEW hidden away in the Program Files/National Instruments/LabVIEW directory which explains a bit on how to use x sensor, edit the dashboard, etc…


You’ve already mentioned the better sites that I know of. There are several LV specific forums, but they are not specific to FRC. One of the things that was redone this year was all of the LV examples were updated and lots added. They now include electrical wiring diagrams, and that would probably be one of the best ways to learn sensor related concepts. For general LV programming, there are quite a few books available. It has been awhile since I’ve reviewed any, so I don’t have any specific suggestions except that I always liked the Gary Johnson ones. I also thought that the WPI documentation about the APIs was also really good.

Regarding the percentage of teams using LV. The informal polls NI did last year indicated that it differed greatly by region. Established teams, lower numbered teams, seemed more likely to already have programming and to use C/C++. Newer teams, lower numbered ones seemed more likely to use LV. There were of course lots of exceptions. Regions in the NE were often 85% C++. I don’t remember where it was, but one regional was I think 92% LV. I believe in Atlanta, it wound up 65% LV and 35% C/C++.

Hopefully, all of the languages will be well supported, and the teams with knowledge of more than one language will continue to rise.

Greg McKaskle