SUNNYVALE, Calif. National Instruments Tuesday (Aug. 8) observed the 20th anniversary of LabView's introduction by releasing a major revision of the venerable software environment. By combining an open design platform with an advance in graphical system design, LabView 8.20 embraces multiple tools and design approaches.
Market watchers said the changes move National Instruments (NI) deeper into The Mathworks' territory and could open doors for LabView in the modeling and system development portion of the tool market.
The revision "delivers powerful, custom measurement capabilities that can streamline product development through an integrated design, prototyping and deployment platform," said James Truchard, president, CEO and co-founder of NI (Austin, Texas).
As designers integrate more functionality into their products, previous-generation design and simulation tools from different domains have had to be made to work together. In the integrated environment of LabView 8.20, designers have a graphical system design platform for test, control and embedded-system development.
The enhancements address the "architectural workbench," or the tools that will be used for ESL design, according to Gary Smith, vice president of research at Gartner Dataquest (San Jose, Calif.). "This release will let National compete with, as well as complement, the tools offered by The MathWorks," said Smith. "Both tools have different genealogies, but they are both now addressing system designers and embedded design."
According to Matt Volckmann, a senior analyst at market analysis firm Venture Development Corp. (Natick, Mass.), the LabView upgrade moves National into competitive position in the dynamic design tool market. Volckmann sees a solid opportunity for the company to move into the modeling and system development segments.
In addition to MathScript, LabView 8.20 includes object-oriented programming constructs that improve code modularity and reuse, as well as the ability to back up and recover virtual instruments automatically.
Also included are a Web services wizard, for transforming any .Net Web service into a library of virtual instruments, and an interface wizard, which creates wrapper virtual instruments from shared libraries and header files.
A more comprehensive version of this story is available in the print edition of this week's EE Times.