LabVIEW is all about reuse. Have an existing analysis function built in C or .m file? The Library Function Node or the MathScript Node is your friend. Starting on a new project? Make use of the new templates and sample projects.
Programmers are lazy efficient. There is always some new pressure to get things done better, faster, or with less resources (entropy, anyone?) so striving for efficiency is in programmers' DNA.
To help you be even more efficient, here is a list of LabVIEW add-ons and tools that will help save you time.
All of these can be found in the LabVIEW Tools Network online or in LabVIEW itself:
- (Free) TSVN Toolkit by Viewpoint Systems Inc. - If you are using TortiseSVN (one of the most popular free Subversion clients) for Source Code Control (SCC), then this tool is for you. It brings all of functions of SCC right into the LabVIEW Project. If you don't use Source Code Control at all, I highly suggest you change your mind before you experience the heartache of completely losing all of your work to a crashed hard drive. Here is more information on how to set up SCC in LabVIEW and other software engineering best practices.
- (Free) OpenG Libraries by OpenG - Hundreds of free, reusable VIs from the OpenG community. The community has been adding useful VIs to this collection for years. This is a must-have for LabVIEW developers.
- (Cost) EasyXML Toolkit by JKI - Make use of a standard XML schema to easily exchange data with external services. Using XML data in LabVIEW is also made easier by using a cluster. Any developer using XML in any way with LabVIEW would save development time by using this toolkit.
- (Free) MGI Library by Moore Good Ideas - Another great collection of useful VIs that all LabVIEW developers spend time creating themselves. Stop building your own and use these.
- (Free) VI Box XControls by SAPHIR - Don't you wish that Tab controls in LabVIEW operated a little more like the Chrome web browser's tabs where you can click-to-dismiss, reorder, and pull them off to make them their own window? This does just that. This is an awesome UI tool
- (Free) UI Control Suite: System Controls 2.0 - Speaking of UI, this gives you additional controls and indicators to help make your front panels more professional and up-to-date.
- (Cost) Deploy by Wirebird Labs - If you ever compile your LabVIEW code into an executable and send it somewhere else to run, you need this tool. This completely automates the process of sending your executable to others in a professional way and also has automatic update alerts.
- (Cost) VI Package Manager (VIPM) by JKI - If you are building or using reusable libraries, you need this tool. This makes sure that everyone is using the most up-to-date library without the pain of relying on zipping up the files and emailing it to people. The LabVIEW Tools Network even uses VIPM to send the libraries to your machine.
- (Cost) GOOP Development Suite by Symbio - Object-oriented developers in LabVIEW need this tool. It allows you to automatically generate a design description so you can visualize dependencies and state machines (something that is quite difficult normally with object-oriented architectures). This is the only UML tool that integrates directly with LabVIEW.
- (Free) Code Capture Tool by LAVA - Another great tool from the greater LabVIEW community. This allows you to quickly capture and annote code to be saved as images. This is useful if you are needing images for help documentation or posting them online.
Now that is just a quick list of some of the many useful tools that are out there for LabVIEW developers.
Have a favorite tool or add-on that wasn't on this list? Add yours to the comments below.