JKI Blog

Opening up LabVIEW for Third-party Add-ons (like VI Tester)

Feb 19, 2009 7:29:51 AM Published by Jim Kring Leave a comment

Recently, National Instruments has been vocal about wanting to provide better support for third-party LabVIEW add-ons.  A huge demonstration of this commitment, recently, was allowing JKI to integrate VI Tester into the LabVIEW project environment.  In fact, it might seem surprising or even foolish for NI to do this, considering that it just released a competing product, the NI LabVIEW Unit Test Framework Toolkit.  But, if you look deeper, you'll see that NI's support of a competing third-party add-on for LabVIEW is a very smart, mature, and strategic move.

For a long time, I have had concerns about whether NI would be able to nurture a viable market and ecosystem for third-party add-ons for LabVIEW, because of the fact that NI sells its own add-ons for LabVIEW.  This creates a huge, short-term incentive for NI to compete directly against third-parties (like JKI).

But also, NI has a huge incentive to encourage third parties to innovate on its platform.  The more tools and solutions that exist on the LabVIEW platform to help users efficiently create working systems, the better it is for NI.  If NI were to compete aggressively against third-party LabVIEW add-on providers, it would starve the ecosystem and send third-parties running for the hills.  Small companies simply cannot compete against NI head-to-head.

At JKI, we are very excited about LabVIEW becoming an even more powerful, open platform for 3rd party tools.   As you might know, we love to create toolkits for LabVIEW, and our flagship product, VI Package Manager, is a powerful tool for packaging, distributing, and installing add-ons for LabVIEW.  We hope that NI continues to open up LabVIEW and we'll try hard to provide them with both our feedback and support.  And, of course we'll work hard to create more great add-ons for LabVIEW.

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