The third day of NI Week 2012 proved the age old adage that the third day of a conference is always the best. If you read my first NI Week post, you probably knew that this was coming, and even though there were only 2 sessions that really appealed to me today, both were focused on using NI with .NET.
Anyone with a significant .NET background who has also worked with LabVIEW has probably stumbled on NI’s .NET tool, Measurement Studio. I know to some that NI providing .NET tools sounds kind of like Twitter having a Facebook page, but the fact is that .NET does a lot of things really well and becomes ultra-powerful when coupled with NI’s unbeatable hardware.
I had looked into Measurement Studio some in the past but had never gotten the chance to try it out, so I was as giddy as Ken working on a new Geek Challenge questions. Fellow Pollock Anna Kozminski showed within the first few minutes that a simple DAQ application could be written in just 6 lines of code! In addition, it integrates with DAQ Assistants to configure channels, works with NI-MAX, and even has a TDMS API.
Even if the features and functionality of Measurement Studio alone hadn’t been enough to convince me, today also offered a session on WPF tools for Measurement Studio new in 2012. If you aren’t familiar with WPF, it’s a Microsoft platform that facilitates rich, user-friendly UI’s and extensive use of the MVVM architecture to cleanly separate program logic from visual presentation. As a developer, WPF and MVVM allow you to code in the best way, creating clean, streamlined program logic; pretty, user-friendly screens; and a manageable view model to glue the two together.
Well, NI seems to have imbibed the Kool-Aid too because, with the new 2012 release, Measurement Studio now includes WPF controls. These new, professional, modern controls let you use NI hardware with a brand new, totally customizable look that far exceeds what you can do natively in LabVIEW and definitely blow LabVIEW 1.0 out of the water.
With the WPF controls and Measurement Studio, you can create outstandingly usable interfaces that increase user productivity, reduce operational errors, and differentiate your applications from the rest of the field. Last but not least, the NI team made sure to go all the way with WPF, implementing data binding and dependency properties, meaning that a true MVVM implementation with Measurement Studio is tantalizingly accessible.
Now, I’m sure that none of this means that LabVIEW is going to be phased out, as FPGA, RT, and vision applications are still better implemented in LabVIEW, and there will always be customers who prefer one over another. However, I am very much looking forward to opportunities to implement Measurement Studio and WPF.