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Title: LabVIEW Graphical Programming

Author: Gary W Johnson
Pub: McGrawHill

ISBN: 0-07-032692-4
Price: 40-42 UKP
Disk: Included


This book is aimed at those who have (or intend to use) the National Instruments LabVIEW package. It is written by a non NI user who started with the first version (1896) and has been an enthusiastic user ever since. The book goes as far as LabVIEW Version 3 (1993). There is a forward by the NI LabVIEW team saying this is the book that they would like to write but have never had time. So much for the pedigree what about the contents and who is it aimed at? The answer is anyone who is going to (or thinks they might) buy LabVIEW and all new users. Experienced users will probably not need this book but may appreciate it as a second opinion from an experienced user.


There is a fascinating history behind the development and philosophy of the system. It gives an insight into why many of the choices were made and how the external personal computer industry shaped the product. Of more practical use is a discussion on the features and limitations of the system. This section with the guide on IO hardware and test platforms will enable one to decide how to use LabVIEW to best effect for one’s own problem.


There are discussions and tutorials at a high level on how to use various aspects of LabVIEW that are (as far as possible) platform independent. Where required there are comments on the differences between the platforms that are Mac, PC and Sun. This will help one make a decision as to the best platform to use for the problem(s) at hand or what to expect as possible on the platform one has.


There are many useful tips woven in to the text from a user how has “been around the block a few times." These tips alone could save many hours of frustration. There are examples of things like timers, averaging, extracting numbers and strings, circular buffer. Things that will be useful utilities on most project and are all supplied on disk (in the back of the book) along with a simple data acquisition program.

There is a hardware contacts section (by chapter) which, unfortunately, is US based and only gives postal addresses, no email or web addresses.


Conclusion: A very useful book that will help fill in the philosophy behind the system as well as being of direct practical help. Whilst the book is not cheap the advice and “free” software could repay the cost of the book several times. I would buy this book before I bought LabVIEW as a guide to what I really need in the way of hardware, IO and basic platform, to solve my problem. Recommended.