LabVIEW and team development highlights from the European CLA Summit
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Attending CLA summits is one of the key benefits of becoming a Certified LabVIEW Architect. Not only are the presentations great, presented by some of the best brains in the LabVIEW community, but the general atmosphere of these summits is relaxed and free from prestige and hidden sales pitches that otherwise can be quite common at conferences like these. This enables great discussions and a great source for learning new things, and also quite a few laughs.

The setup is as follows: Every year two summits are held, one in Austin and one in Europe. For the third consecutive year, I attended the European event. The venue in Europe changes each year, previous years includes London, Paris and CERN in Geneva, this year it was time for Rome to be invaded by a small legion of devoted LabVIEW developers. The attendance is a mixture of CLAs from Europe, a few from the States and a number of representatives from NI R&D. The event used to last two and a half days, but this year it was decided that the event was two days, followed by sessions where NI presented the roadmap of LabVIEW.

The numbers of CLAs around the world is increasing, and naturally the CLA Summit grows as well. In Paris two years ago we were 53, at CERN last year 85, and this year 112.

LabVIEW Architects in front of Pantheon, more than 2000 years old with the worlds largest unsupported concrete dome. Good architecture lasts! Thanks Joerg Hampel for sharing the picture and Israel Ohiofudu for taking it, thereby missing to be in it. We counted 6 different mother tongues around a table of 8 this night.

So what was discussed? 17 presentations raised technical subjects such as Packed Project Libraries, techniques for bringing you LabVIEW code to the web, assertions and systems based on actors in various forms. But here were also many presentations and discussions on SW engineering processes within the LabVIEW environment. Levels of abstraction, people of different programming backgrounds working together, how to grow your relationship with those using your code and how distances between value and code affect your debugging were some of the subjects. It’s all too much to fit into a blog post. To be honest, it’s all too much to fit in my brain but fortunately the presentations tend to turn up on the CLA community pages after a while, which is very helpful.

One thing that was noticed is that the community has gone from discussions such as what Object Oriented Programming really is for four years ago to more philosophical discussion and even live code reviews with more than 100 of the leading LabVIEW developers in Europe by a very brave Richard Thomas.  In the presentations we could also learn about cool things like Swish, a toolkit for implementing touch screen gestures in LabVIEW (now well reviewed), a new wire in LabVIEW 2015 called channels and how agile projects affects your system design. Add some late night heated discussions on the best way to write APIs and LabVIEW geek Nirvana is reached.

Are you thinking of becoming a CLA? Then consider this:

1.     Yes, it will take you some time to prepare for the exam.
2.     Yes, going to the CLA summit will cost you time away from what you really are paid to do.
3.     Yes, it’s worth it.

Martin Peeker