For many years, the LabVIEW graphical programming language, with its integrated graphical user interface, has been known as an easy-to-use development tool for building data acquisition and instrument control applications and is especially well suited for quickly prototyping systems. However, in some ways, the simplicity and speed of developing a system with LabVIEW has hidden the fact that LabVIEW is in fact a complete programming language, suitable for handling the biggest and most complex applications that engineers and scientists face today.
LabVIEW has many components that are similar to C and is flexible enough to allow developers to incorporate existing C code or other external code modules in their LabVIEW applications. In addition, LabVIEW provides a streamlined development experience that reduces time to measurement due to various ease of use and built-in measurement features. This paper outlines the similarities in functionality of C and LabVIEW and how to use these standard programming structures and methods. Since this paper discusses the general programming capabilities of LabVIEW, the examples below are not industry-specific.
- Performance: Although performance is mentioned when appropriate, this paper is not designed to be a performance comparison between C and LabVIEW.
- User interface: Many C development tools include user interface editors. However, the ANSI C examples used in this paper do not include a user interface in order to allow for maximum portability. For reference, this paper also includes LabWindows/CVI executables that include ANSI C user interfaces comparable to the LabVIEW user interfaces.