For the past few months I’ve been working on a very interesting project together with Endevo from Sweden with Jim Kring from JKI. I have had the opportunity to design open source OpenG Class Templates for LabVIEW Object-Oriented Programming. Endevo has developed a GOOP Development Suite that allows developers to create classes from these OpenG templates directly from LabVIEW user interface. OpenG templates together with Endevo GOOP Development Suite has the potential to fundamentally change the LabVIEW object-oriented development process.
OpenG Class Templates
When LabVIEW Object-Oriented Programming was released about a year ago, I had a lot of expectations. Unluckily the features of LabVIEW OOP didn’t meet with my development needs. I needed by-reference classes to be able to represent complex data structures and encapsulate storage interface to classes. I needed user definable constructor and destructor for my classes to guarantee initialization and clean-up. With these needs I started to think of the ways how I could best implement these features on top of native LabVIEW OOP.
The aim of the OpenG Class Templates is to overcome the above mentioned shortcomings of native LabVIEW object-oriented programming by including features lacking from native LabVIEW OOP to OpenG class templates. Two most interesting OpenG templates are without doubt a queue based by-reference class template and a class template for active asynchronous objects.
Queue based by-reference class template allows developers to create by-reference classes with user defined object construction and destruction steps and with asyncrhonous parallel data access and data locking. By-reference classes are the proper choice when one needs to create objects with indentity and lifetime. Numerous use cases include encapsulation of instrument drivers, file handling, database access, network interface and urser interface components.
Template for active asynchronous objects combine by-reference objects with a thread of their own. Each object includes a parallely executed VI that is started during object construction and closed when object is closed. This parallely executed VI can receive and reply-to asyncrhonous messages from other parts of the program. Active objects can be considered to provide an active state-machine based service that other parts of the program or external components can communicate with using the object methods.
OpenG class templates are based on OpenG class template specifications. These specifications define a standard which allows all developers to create new class templates either from scratch or based on existing class templates. Furthermore developers can use these templates with any LabVIEW tool that confroms with the template specifications. Currently the only tool available is Endevo GOOP Development Suite.
OpenG wiki provides instructions on how to get and install OpenG class templates.
Endevo GOOP Development Suite
Endevo GOOP Development Suite (GDS) has an opportunity to revolutionize LabVIEW object-oriented programming based development. Being integrated directly to LabVIEW project environment Endevo GDS makes it very easy and fast to work both with native LabVIEW classes and with template based LabVIEW classes. The speed-up of the development process is actually enormous when the development suite takes automatically care of things like creating method icons etc.
Endevo GOOP Development Suite supports three kinds of classes; native LabVIEW classes, classes based on OpenG templates and classes based on Endevo templates. All of these alternatives are based on native LabVIEW object-oriented programming. Actually Endevo GDS allows users to create and add their own class templates that meet OpenG class template specifications.
GOOP Development Suite comes in two editions, limited functionality free Community Edition and in Professional Edition. Both versions of GOOP Development Suite can be downloaded directly from Endevo web site.
OpenG Class Templates together with Endevo GOOP Development Suite have a lot of potential to change the way LabVIEW object-oriented programming is beign used. I’ll keep blogging on the usage the templates. Subscribe to the feed not to miss any of these future articles.