Advantages of LabVIEW
Ease of first acquisition for DAQ
You can automate the capture and validate signals and take measurements with less effort than traditional programming environments. Of course you can capture signals and make measurements with various lab equipment (scopes, analyzers, multimeters), but if you have a need to take a wide range of types of measurements, like environmental temperatures along with a fast pressure signal, and/or you’re looking for a consistent way of programming to take those measurements, LabVIEW is your friend.
The NI ecosystem
The NI ecosystem is great when you have to interface to sensors and actuators.
- You’ve got hardware options (controllers, measurement modules, control modules, communication modules). See here for details.
- Real-time applications and desktop applications are developed in the same environment.
- A series of add-ons and plug-ins to help get the job done faster. See here for details.
You can roll your own for any of this and make your own custom thing. It’s just a matter of how much effort you want to put into building from scratch. Do you want to add a team of electrical engineers, software engineers, and mechanical engineers?
The dataflow nature of LabVIEW enables parallel processing naturally as part of the language. If you want your application to be doing multiple tasks at once, e.g., monitoring for a over-temperature safety condition while acquiring fast pressure data, LabVIEW programs this easily by dropping multiple parallel loops onto the block diagram.
Lowered barrier to entry for FPGA-based programming
If you need serious determinism, parallel processing, or number crunching, an FPGA can be your best friend. However, if you don’t know VHDL (or Verilog), that can be a barrier. LabVIEW FPGA abstracts a lot of the details away so you can focus on your algorithm and not the support structure. Note that this requires you to utilize NI hardware that supports LabVIEW FPGA.
Measurement data visualization. Graphs are super straightforward.
Let’s say you want to display a measured waveform or an FFT of a signal. With LabVIEW, this is as simple as placing a chart or graph front panel object and wiring the data to visualize to the indicator. 2D visualization (e.g., 2D surfaces and images) isn’t too bad either using the API provided by NI.
Ease of interfacing with instrumentation
Do you need to interface with lab instruments (e.g. analyzers, power supplies, DMMs, scopes, etc)? LabVIEW makes this easy. Vendors have standardized on LabVIEW and provide an extensive library of instrument drivers for download directly in LabVIEW.
Ease of interfacing over different communication links
Communicating over Ethernet, RS-232, USB, EtherCAT, CAN, RS-485, RS-422, LIN, 1553, ARINC, GPIB, and others. LabVIEW makes this easier than many other languages by providing APIs for these in the shipping product.