Watch your step

But who’s watching the watchers?

Some development environments have a concept called “watching”, where you choose a variable to watch and you see a continuous display of that variable in some window.  This is very useful during debugging, as you can step through your program and find out where this variable is being changed.

LabVIEW has no such built-in feature, but it doesn’t really need one.  You can construct your own watch windows, have them run independently of your main code and accomplish the same thing.

Simply make a new VI with a WHILE loop and a STOP button.  Add a WAIT for 200 mSec (or something) inside it (so you don’t hog the CPU).  Each time thru the loop, grab your watch variable, process it, and display it.

The “processing” can be unbundling a single item from a complicated cluster, or picking an element out of an array, or anything you need to display the item in question.  Perhaps you need to call a VI to get it. Perhaps you need to query an I/O port, or a TCP instrument. Whatever you need to do to watch your troublesome variable.

SUGGESTION:  When you’re done with it, save it in a folder called “Miscellaneous Stuff” or something, so you can get at it easy next time.  There will be a next time.

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