The Splitters Sentinel
I wrote many times about the necessity to use and abuse panes and splitters in a LabVIEW front panel. Once you start enjoying those, a whole new world opens up! Sliding menu panels, custom toolbars or tiered front panels shall be your next friends.
However, repeated and tedious back-and-forth operations and often needed when developing and testing these UIs. Setting the position or the sizing type, changing the color, locking/unlocking splitters... This is very common and it only gets worse with complex UIs.
VI Scripting to the rescue
Where normal people just read "repeated tedious interactions" and keep on reading, scripting aficionados' minds get bugged right away. As most panes/splitters adjustments are done during edition, their properties can be programmatically set.
For 90% of the properties, this is true. However, some are unfortunately not available (or must heavily be worked around). Examples:
- accessing the adjoining panes references from a splitter reference
- setting a pane to resize its scaling objects while resizing
- setting the width/height of a splitter
A Quick Drop to Rule Them All
Some tools available on ni.com or lavag.org give the ability to save or load a front panel layout. I haven't found one that focuses on splitters and panes and that allows an interactive edition.
As a possible solution to this whole problem, I've come up with a quick drop, namely the Splitter Manager Quick Drop Keyboard Shortcut (let's abbreviate - SplitMan QD). It's a simple quick drop that displays a semi-transparent UI (see above) where you can find the main properties of the splitters and the panes in the launching VI front panel. You can also tune these properties, so that the target front panel instantly updates (much like WYSIWYG).
Here are a short list of typical tasks you can achieve in no time with the SplitMan QD:
- Mass lock/unlock splitters
- Set a splitter color when it is tough to click on it (when its height-width is minimal)
- Diplay/dismiss pane scrollbars in no time
- Rename & find panes/splitters! It's sometimes difficult to look them up in an event structure. Renaming and/or highlighting them makes it far easier.
Where do I get the SplitMan QD?
How do we install/use it?
Download the zip file, and follow the instructions on the same page! Once properly unzipped, the default shortcut is Ctrl+Space, Ctrl+S.
Hope that SplitMan will help you as much as it's been helping me!