This year the LabVIEW (LV) graphical programming language celebrates its 30th anniversary. Using a number of basic components as blocks and wires to draw a program rather than typing hard-to-read code in a text based language like Python or C, LV is especially intuitive for people who are not programming experts. Although you might expect that after thirty years of evolution all the basic components of LV had been established, the latest version LV 2016 introduces a new wire.

The Channel wire, as the new wire is called, allows data flows between parallel processes to be represented in a graphical way. Everything it does can, of course, also be achieved in other ways but without making it visually explicit and very easy. Simply drawing a wire to implement inter-process communication greatly improves code understanding. Usually well informed sources told us that work is currently in progress to extend the Channel wire to FPGA-to-microcontroller communication, a rather revolutionary simplification indeed, that may (or may not) become available in LV 2017.

Development of the Channel wire was started ten years ago by National Instruments’ co-founder and LV creator Jeff Kodosky, but computer technology only started to make it practical a few years back. Actually, Jeff’s wire was already secretly available in LV 2015, but hidden in such a way that only few users knew about its existence. With LV 2016 it finally has become a new basic language object.