Software transforms the PC and the data acquisition hardware into a complete data acquisition, analysis, and presentation tool. Without software to control or drive the hardware, the data acquisition device does not work properly. Driver software is the layer of software for easily communicating with the hardware. It forms the middle layer between the application software and the hardware. Driver software also prevents a programmer from having to do register-level programming or complicated commands to access the hardware functions. NI offers two different software options:
· NI-DAQmx driver and additional measurement services software
With the introduction of NI-DAQmx, National Instruments revolutionized data acquisition application development by greatly increasing the speed at which you can move from building a program to deploying a high-performance measurement application. The DAQ Assistant, included with NI-DAQmx, is a graphical, interactive guide for configuring, testing, and acquiring measurement data. With a single click, you can even generate code based on your configuration, making it easier and faster to develop complex operations. Because the DAQ Assistant is completely menu-driven, you make fewer programming errors and drastically decrease the time from setting up your data acquisition system to taking your first measurement..
NI-DAQmx is available for Windows and Linux distributions. NI-DAQmx on Linux® only supports PCI, PCIe, PXI and PXIe hardware. For OSX support and USB or CompactDaq support on Linux® please consider the NI-DAQmx Base driver. To investigate specific device support read the readme of the specific driver version, or reference this page http://www.ni.com/product-documentation/6909/en/.
The application layer can be either a development environment in which you build a custom application that meets specific criteria, or it can be a configuration-based program with preset functionality. Application software adds analysis and presentation capabilities to driver software. To choose the right application software, evaluate the complexity of the application, the availability of configuration-based software that fits the application, and the amount of time available to develop the application. If the application is complex or there is no existing program, use a development environment.
NI offers three development environment software products for creating complete instrumentation, acquisition, and control applications:
· LabVIEW with graphical programming methodology
· LabWindows™/CVI for traditional C programmers
· Measurement Studio for Visual Basic, C++, and .NET
With DAQExpress, NI has introduced a configuration-based software environment where programming is no longer a requirement. Using DAQExpress, you can make interactive measurements with NI Express technology.