LabVIEW Express VI Development Toolkit Offers Custom Express VIs

8/13/2003 - National Instruments announced the LabVIEW Express VI Development Toolkit, new add-on software for LabVIEW 7 Express that developers use to create interactive Express VIs to simplify development of test, measurement, and control applications for colleagues and customers. Express VIs significantly reduce development time and the learning curve associated with software tools by encapsulating the functionality of five to 15 standard virtual instruments (VIs) in single, interactive VIs that require little or no programming to configure.

Often, developers need to transfer expert LabVIEW software knowledge to less experienced programmers who possess advanced domain knowledge of an application. Express VIs provide an interactive, easy-to-use interface for users whose understanding of the application or concept is high, but whose programming experience and comfort level is low. For example, custom Express VIs enable developers to share software expertise with colleagues on a common project, create academic laboratory exercises for high school and college students, design customizable OEM applications, or create flexible driver software for custom hardware devices such as robotics.

Randy Schmidt, system architect at Randy Schmidt Consulting, used Express VIs to create an easy-to-use driver for a robotic prober with a color camera that attaches to a frame grabber for his client. "The ability to create Express VIs for the Huntron Access gave me the ability to make the control of the device easier for my customer to shorten their software design cycle," Schmidt said. "Express VIs provide a convenient and simple way to control and monitor the Huntron Access robotic prober."

With the LabVIEW Express VI Development Toolkit, developers can create Express VIs by modifying an existing standard VI or one of the 38 Express VIs that ship with LabVIEW 7 Express, or by customizing a blank template. The toolkit features built-in validation tools to ensure correct construction of the Express VI. Developers can use LabVIEW debugging tools, including custom probes and conditional breakpoints, to further increase programming productivity by pinpointing any errors. Additionally, for each Express VI, developers create custom Help to walk the end user through VI configuration.

"This toolkit extends the power and versatility of LabVIEW to users of all experience levels," said Ray Almgren, NI vice president of product strategy. "LabVIEW developers can reduce the learning curve for their colleagues and customers by abstracting the low-level details of LabVIEW development. Once a developer has designed an Express VI, users can easily create and customize their application's functionality."

The LabVIEW Express VI Development Toolkit is available on Windows, Macintosh, Sun and Linux platforms.

About National Instruments
National Instruments ( is a technology pioneer and leader in virtual instrumentation -- a revolutionary concept that has changed the way engineers and scientists approach measurement and automation. Leveraging the PC and its related technologies, virtual instrumentation increases productivity and lowers costs for customers worldwide through easy-to-integrate software, such as the NI LabVIEW graphical development environment, and modular hardware, such as PXI modules for data acquisition, instrument control and machine vision. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, NI has more than 3,000 employees and direct operations in 40 countries. In 2002, the company sold products to more than 25,000 different companies in more than 80 countries around the world. For the past four consecutive years, FORTUNE magazine has named NI one of the 100 best companies to work for in America.

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