Electronic Design

LabVIEW: 19 Years Old And Brand-Spanking New

The latest version of LabVIEW—the enduring software tool for designing test, measurement, and control systems—has received a major renovation with hundreds of new features. For example, its distributed intelligence capability simplifies the design of systems with multiple processors. A project-based environment supports the development and management of largescale applications. And, additional Express technology simplifies instrument control.

Version 8 extends LabVIEW's graphical programming further into test and control systems, from rack-and-stack test solutions to networks for plant automation. A simplified, scalable interface makes it easier to communicate with and synchronize remote intelligent devices like real-time processors and FPGAs. Designers can develop, execute, and debug LabVIEW code on multiple Windows, real-time, FPGA, and PDA targets simultaneously.

The project-based environment makes it easier to manage large programming applications. These tools generate debuggable executables and dynamic link libraries, source distributions, and zip files. They also allow designers to create user-defined user-interface objects with complete LabVIEW functionality.

In instrument control and data acquisition, the Instrument Driver Finder automatically recognizes connected instruments. It then searches for, downloads, and installs the appropriate driver from more than 4000 available on the NI Instrument Driver Network (www.ni.com.idnet). Or, users can create custom drivers.

The Base Package is for developing basic data-acquisition, instrument control, and data-presentation applications. The Full Development System adds libraries for digital signal processing, measurement analysis functions, and linear algebraic and math functions, as well as other features. The Professional Development System includes all this and adds tools to facilitate the development of high-end, sophisticated instrumentation systems.

Prices start at $995. LabVIEW 8 is available for Windows 2000/XP, Mac OS X, and Linux platforms.

National Instruments

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