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NI LabVIEW Getting Started FAQ

Module by: Sam Shearman. E-mail the author

Summary: This module includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and answers related to getting started with National Instruments LabVIEW. Sections of this module address high-level questions such as: What is LabVIEW? • Who uses LabVIEW? / What are some applications of LabVIEW? • Why choose LabVIEW? • Is LabVIEW a programming language? • What is data flow? • Can LabVIEW handle my signal processing, analysis, and math needs? • For which operating systems is LabVIEW available? • Is LabVIEW localized in languages other than English? • Can I run LabVIEW programs on non-PC platforms? • How can I work with the virtual instrument (VI) files that I downloaded as part of a Connexions module? • What are the options for obtaining and installing LabVIEW? • How can I begin learning about LabVIEW?

What is LabVIEW?

NI LabVIEW is a graphical development environment available for creating flexible and scalable design, control, and test applications rapidly and at minimal cost. With LabVIEW, you can build simulations with interactive user interfaces; interface with real-world signals; analyze data for meaningful information; and share results through intuitive displays, reports, and the Web. To learn more about LabVIEW, please visit (http://www.ni.com/labview)

NI LabVIEW is a product of National Instruments, Inc. (http://www.ni.com) located in Austin, TX.

Who uses LabVIEW? / What are some applications of LabVIEW?

LabVIEW is used worldwide in both industry and academia for applications in a variety of fields: automotive, communications, aerospace, semiconductor, electronic design and production, process control, biomedical and many more. Applications cover all phases of product development from research to test, manufacturing, and service.

Why choose LabVIEW?

One reason for choosing LabVIEW is the speed that you can complete your application. In general, you can complete development in LabVIEW four to ten times faster than other programming languages. You achieve this speed because LabVIEW is easy to learn and use and provides tools to make science and engineering applications easier to build.

Is LabVIEW a programming language?

LabVIEW is a full-featured graphical programming language that includes all the standard features of a general-purpose programming environment, such as data structures, looping structures, event handling, and object-oriented programming. LabVIEW has a built-in compiler that compiles all code at edit time. However, unlike other general-purpose programming languages, LabVIEW is specifically designed for engineers and scientists and has built-in tools to meet their needs. These high-level functions, assistants, and tools make LabVIEW much more than a programming language.

What is data flow?

LabVIEW uses a patented dataflow programming model that frees you from the sequential architecture of text-based programming languages. The graphical code is highly intuitive for engineers and scientists familiar with block diagrams and flowcharts. The flow of data between nodes - not sequential lines of text - determines the execution order in LabVIEW, so you easily can create block diagrams that execute multiple operations in parallel. Additionally, the parallel nature of LabVIEW simplifies implementation of applications that include multitasking and multithreading.

Using the debugging tools available in LabVIEW, you can also watch as data moves through a program and see precisely which data passes from one function to another along the wires, a process known as execution highlighting. This differs from text-based languages, which require you to step from function to function to trace your program execution.

Can LabVIEW handle my signal processing, analysis, and math needs?

LabVIEW includes hundreds of powerful graphical and textual measurement analysis, mathematics, and signal processing functions that seamlessly integrate with LabVIEW data acquisition, instrument control, and presentation capabilities.

For which operating systems is LabVIEW available?

LabVIEW is available for Windows Vista/XP/2000, Mac OS, and Linux®.

Linux® is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds in the U.S. and other countries.

Is LabVIEW localized in languages other than English?

In addition to English, there are Japanese, German, French, Korean, and simplified Chinese versions of LabVIEW.

Can I run LabVIEW programs on non-PC platforms?

Yes, you can use LabVIEW to program a real-time operating system, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), handheld devices such as PDAs, touch screen computers, and even 32-bit embedded microprocessors. LabVIEW continues to add new targets as new computing technologies becomes available.

For more information on LabVIEW device targeting add-on software, visit http://ni.com/labview/family .

How can I work with the virtual instrument (VI) files that I downloaded as part of a Connexions module?

VI files downloaded as part of a Connexions module can be loaded, executed and modified in an locally installed copy of LabVIEW. See the “What are the options for obtaining and installing LabVIEW?” question below.

What are the options for obtaining and installing LabVIEW?

How can I begin learning about LabVIEW?

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