Looking Back at 2015

As we approach the end of the year, it is all too easy to get caught up in planning the events and goals for 2016. However, it’s worth taking the time to look back on the year just gone and reflect on the achievements and lessons learned.

  1. Events of 2015

As National Instruments Alliance partners and extremely enthusiastic members of the LabVIEW community we try (workload permitting) to have a presence at the big 3 (2 x CLA Summits and NI Week) events.

March saw Delacor attending the CLA Summit (Americas) in Austin. As usual this event did not disappoint with some fabulous content and discussions occurring not only in the technical sessions but also continuing long into the evenings. The value of these events cannot be underestimated, and in five years of attending, both myself and Fabiola have yet to come back from a summit having not learned something new or been inspired by what we’ve seen.

We also believe our customers benefit from our interactions at these events, making sure we remain at the cutting edge ensures they get the best possible solutions.

This year Fabiola presented Five Tips to Modularise-Reuse-Organize and Bring Order to your Development Chaos.

We also took part in the lightning talks and gave a sneak preview of an application framework we were working on (more on this later).

One of the standouts for me this year was a lesson in Dependency Injection by Dmitry Sagatelyan.

The second highlight was seeing four engineers trying to disassemble a collapsible sleeping pod.

Here’s Chris Relf enjoying the comfort of said pod. Looking good, Chris!

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Hot on the heels of the CLA Summit Americas was the European CLA Summit

Without wanting to offend anyone by not calling them out there were several highlights. Fellow Brit Dr Richard Thomas presented Swish, an awesome “Apple style” gesture controlled UI.  Steve Watts reminded us how far ahead LabVIEW remains with his presentation on immediacy, something the Java script developers are still craving.

In June Luis Orozco officially joined Delacor as our first full-time hardware engineer.  He brings over fifteen years of experience in board-level analog and mixed-signal design.  This means that in addition to our software expertise, we can help our customers not only with system-level integration, but also do fully custom hardware when their needs justify it.

August saw us returning to Austin once more for NI Week where Fabiola presented:

Curing Cancer: Using a Modular Approach to Ensure the Safe and Repeatable Production of Medicine

5 Tips to Modularize, Reuse, and Organize Your Development Chaos

and I presented

Don’t Panic: LabVIEW Developer’s Guide to TestStand

This was particularly exciting for me as test automation (particularly RF) and TestStand are areas I’ve spent much of my working life involved in so it was great to be able to share some of this experience.

Fabiola took the extra step of bringing one of her customers along as a “guest” presenter to talk about the work they have done together, and as a member of the audience, I must say it was a real highlight for me to hear not only theory but the practical application of what we preach benefiting an end customer.

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2. Some of our 2015 Projects

It’s not all play and no work at Delacor, whilst all this was going on, we were of course satisfying the needs (and timescales) of our customers.

During 2015 we worked with a customer in a regulated industry. We found that even in such an environment, technical debt is all too common and that commercial pressures really do make their presence felt in terms of the engineering decisions that are made. This project also yet again proved that modularity in design truly delivers rewards in terms of testability, ease of deployment and maintenance.

We also worked with a company focused on improving their customers’ wellness and quality of life. We assisted on refactoring their large flagship application using modularization and unit testing resulting in a more efficient process. We reduced the time to find, troubleshoot and fix bugs, and enabled a team of 6 LabVIEW developers to work in parallel.
We worked with a large life sciences company to improve their cancer-curing drug production by showing them the value of modeling and designing before writing code.
We worked with two hardware-centric clients to design data acquisition and control systems from scratch, including requirements gathering, schematics and layout, testing, validation and documentation.

Finally we also worked with a small hardware startup, helping them take their product development to the next level by conducting hardware design reviews, automating their production tests and training their team to use and maintain LabVIEW/TestStand applications.

3. Products

Delacor achieved one of its highlights for the year with the release of our DQMH Toolkit on the LabVIEW Tools Network. The culmination of many hours of work, this framework has been our architecture of choice on many large projects. Finally seeing it published and available (free of charge) to others was a thrill.

We were particularly happy to hear that the scripting tools included with this toolkit are making developers lives easier. After all, that’s what using LabVIEW is all about, writing code faster.

We also developed some internal products to help our customers streamline and automate the code review process (via custom VI Analyzer tests), enforce LabVIEW best practices (via custom style guidelines for both LabVIEW and TestStand projects) and automate repetitive LabVIEW development tasks via custom LabVIEW scripting tools.  Although we have no current plans to make this publicly available, we are always happy to customize these tools for our consulting customers.

So, that pretty much wraps up our 2015. We hope you too had a great year, and all of us would like to wish you and yours a peaceful, successful and healthy 2016.

Happy New Year

Chris, Fabiola, Luis and all at Delacor

One Comment

  1. Gregory

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the blog and the DQMH toolkit. I’ve found the posts talking about user events very helpful in particular and want to continue following it. Thanks!

    Gregory

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