Announcing the JKI Right-Click Framework for LabVIEW

JKI is excited to announce the upcoming release of the JKI Right-Click Framework for LabVIEW in the JKI Labs.  This amazing tool allows you to create new features in LabVIEW and use new features created by other developers.  It does this using the power of LabVIEW Scripting (using LabVIEW to programmatically edit LabVIEW code).

How it Works

The JKI RCF manages plug-ins (we call these “right-click plug-ins”). Each plug-in adds right-click menu options for different types of Block Diagram and Front Panel objects (functions, structures, controls, etc) in LabVIEW.  When the user chooses one of the right-click menu options, the JKI RCF passes the LabVIEW object references into the plug-in associated with the context menu, and the plug-in performs its operations on those objects.

How to Use It

To use the JKI RCF, simply:

1) Select one or more LabVIEW functions, structures, controls, etc., on the Front Panel or Block Diagram of a VI.

2) Activate the JKI Right-Click Framework by pressing the configurable ”hot key.”

3) Right-click on the selected objects and choose the operation you want to execute.  The JKI RCF knows what type of object(s) you have selected, and automatically shows you the plugins that can operate on the current selection.

This video shows the JKI RCF in action:

How to Extend It

The JKI RCF will come with several useful plug-ins pre-installed.  But its open architecture will also allow you to create your own plug-ins that can be shared with other users.

How to Get It

We’re working hard to get the JKI Right-Click Framework ready for release.  Stay tuned, because it’s coming soon to the VI Package Network.  That means that when it arrives, you’ll be able to install it in just a few clicks, using VI Package Manager!

History of the JKI Right-Click Framework

For years, JKI has been using LabVIEW’s under-the-hood Scripting capabilities to create software engineering and development tools for the LabVIEW environment.  One of the challenges that our team faced was making our tools easily accessible to the developer, at the time they were needed.  The solution was the right-click menu and, circa LabVIEW 8.0, the JKI Right-Click Framework was born.  Since then, it has remained an internal tool at JKI, due to the uncertainty about whether public use of LabVIEW’s scripting features would ever be officially condoned by NI.

In December 2008, we noticed a post on Darren Nattinger’s blog, describing exactly what we’d already built.  So we showed the JKI RCF to Darren (who is on the LabVIEW R&D team) and then to others at NI.  The consensus was that the JKI Right-Click Framework should be released to the public, along with LabVIEW Scripting and other LabVIEW APIs, so that LabVIEW developers could work together to create new features that make LabVIEW better and help people solve common programming challenges.

We’re very proud that the JKI Right-Click Framework has played a role in demonstrating to NI the enormous potential of LabVIEW Scripting in the LabVIEW Community, and we’re thankful that NI has worked hard to bring LabVIEW Scripting support to the public in the NI Labs.  We think the JKI Right-Click framework and LabVIEW Scripting make up a powerful combination that will allow LabVIEW users to create and share all kinds of innovative features and tools in LabVIEW.

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