Electronic Design

The LabVIEW Style Book

By Peter A. BlumeISBN: 0-13-145835-3

National Instrument's LabVIEW is over 20 years old but most programmers have not had the benefit of using it. There are a host of UML (Unified Modeling Language) programmers but most tend to deal with text-based programming languages, with C and Visual Basic the top of the heap. As such, there are a host of books about programming style and methodology for these platforms. Like UML, LabVIEW has a graphical style all its own. It is possible to dive right in and use LabVIEW but there is a difference between doing it right and just doing it. This book is for those who want to gain from the experience of LabVIEW developers like Peter Blume, who helped work on LabView. The LabVIEW Style Book is not an introduction to LabVIEW per se, although it does run through the basics. Check out LabVIEW for Everyone, 3rd Edition by Jeffrey Travis, Jim Kring (ED Online ID #13842) for that. Instead, this book shows how to make LabVIEW programs that are easier to understand and maintain, to recognize design patterns and to efficiently and effectively lay out a LabVIEW program. The book starts out with multiple, contrasting presentation examples of the Virtual Instrument (VI) graphical code and front panel views. It begins presentation of rules that run throughout the book about how to improve the presentation of the program and its interface. What I liked about the presentation was that the incremental complexity did not stop with average examples, but showed complex systems that are common in real world designs. Presentation is not the only aspect of the book. It addresses error handling and other design patterns that are likely to show up in any application. The latter typically address basic concepts such as looping rather than more complex, application-specific patterns. The book wraps up with the issue of code reviews. This process is slightly different than a text-based review would be but the goals and general process remains the same. Blume highlights some of the things to look for during a LabView code review. If you are starting with LabVIEW, make sure this book is in your library. If you have been using LabVIEW for a while, you might still want to take a look. It will help if you learned LabVIEW while wading through the distraction of application development.

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