Hidden Gems in LabVIEW

January ALARM Meeting Summary

I recently made apresentation on Wednesday the 20th at the ALARM meeting.  ALARM stands for Advandced LabVIEW Architects of the Rocky Mountains.  This is a NI sponsored LabVIEW users group.    We meet every other month alternating between Loiusville and Golden, Colorado.  There is free food.  Lots of people show up.  There is a website for the group with more information https://decibel.ni.com/content/groups/alarm.  Also see the previous blog post for more information on the ALARM group.    At the meetings, various local LabVIEW users take turns making presentations.  This month it was my turn to present and I made a presentation about Hidden Gems in LabVIEW.  There was also a presentation by Buddy Haun on some related hiddens vis that he had found useful.  Peter Weibring started off the night with a presentation on the Current Value Table (CVT), which is worth another whole blog post in its own right.

Hidden Gems in LabVIEW

Hidden Gems are vis that ship with LabVIEW but don’t appear on the pallettes and are therefore  “hidden”.  These are pieces of code that NI has written for various internal uses and thought that they were useful enough to include in the final shipped versoin of LabVIEW. However they are not fully supported, that is why they don’t appear in the palettes.  They are also not as well documented.   These vis are located in various locations inside vi.lib.   The key to using the hidden gems is to know that they exist and where to find them.

Hidden Gems VI package

Even though these vis are normally “hidden”, it is possible to put them on the palettes by installing a vi package.  If you are unfamiliar with using JKI’s VI Package Manager (VIPM) software, here is a link to the JKI website http://jki.net/vipm.  Package manager ships with LabVIEW version 2013 and later, or you can download a version of VIPM for earlier versions of LabVIEW.  If you are familiar with using VIPM, then installing the hidden gems package is straightforward.

Overview of My presentation

The main point of my presentation is to make people aware of these vis and how to add them to the palettes.  Everyone who uses LabVIEW already has access to these vis and to the vi package to put them on the palette.  It’s already there so you might as well make use of it instead of reinventing the wheel.  My presentation talks about what the hidden gems are, how to install the hidden gems package.  It then goes through the palette installed by the package and points out a few vis that i thought were very useful.  I then go through a few examples of where one might use those vis.  I posted my presentation on the ALARM website.  Here is a link.  https://decibel.ni.com/content/docs/DOC-46715

More Information About Hidden Gems

There is a whole NI community group about the Hidden Gems located at https://decibel.ni.com/content/groups/hidden-gems-in-vilib  If you look at the group site you will find a powerpoint presentation by Darren Nattinger (who is a pretty famous engineer at NI).  It describes a lot of the hidden gems in detail and there is forum for asking questions about them.