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The Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench (LabVIEW) is a graphics-based programming language developed by National Instruments in 1986, and still under active development.

LabVIEW is also a system-design platform and integrated development environment. Sometimes the IDE platform is referred to as being separate from the visual programming language behind it, named G, but most often it is considered to be one system, LabVIEW.

Originally released for the Apple Macintosh, LabVIEW is now available for a variety of operating systems, including Apple macOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and most versions of Unix.

Its graphical nature makes LabVIEW ideal for tasks such as automation, data acquisition, data analysis, instrument control, and test and measurement applications. National Instruments focuses on its test and measurement capabilities.

The programming paradigm behind LabVIEW, sometimes called G, is based on data availability. In LabVIEW, a virtual instrument (VI) is a programming element that consists of a front panel, block diagram, and an icon that represents the program. The icon is a visual representation of the VI, with connectors for program inputs and outputs. Where programming languages like C and BASIC use functions and subroutines as programming elements, LabVIEW uses the VI. Multiple VIs can be used to create larger applications, and large-scale applications may have several hundred VIs.

The graphical nature of LabVIEW allows non-programmers to build programs by dragging and dropping virtual representations of lab equipment with which they are familiar. Examples and documentation in its programming environment facilitate the creation of small applications. However, complex algorithms and large-scale projects require programmers who have extensive knowledge of LabVIEW syntax, as well as its memory management. LabVIEW is capable of producing stand-alone applications as well as distributed applications, which communicate via a client-server model, which are easier to implement.

LabVIEW applications are most often designed through the use of design patterns, which are well-known architectures. National Instruments has included extensive support for interfacing to various devices, like cameras and other instruments, as well as hardware platforms like CompactDAQ and CompactRIO. The company also makes thousands of device drivers available for download.

LabVIEW is proprietary software. However, National Instruments offers a low-cost Student Edition, as well as a Home Bundle edition. NI also offers a product called Measurement Studio, which includes many of the test, measurement, and control capabilities of LabVIEW, as a set of classes for use with Microsoft Visual Studio.

LabVIEW, as well as tools that were designed for use with the system, are the focus of this category. Tutorials, guides, user groups, and forums focused on LabVIEW are also appropriate for this category.



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