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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22 Responses to Announcing the JKI Right-Click Framework for LabVIEW

  1. Heiko Fettig says:

    Very nicely done guys. Can’t wait to try it out. :-)

  2. Ben Zimmer says:

    I saw the recursively disconnect typedef in there… reminded of the many hours accumulated over the years doing just that.

    Great, exciting, work!


  3. jed says:

    Rock On!

  4. Mike says:

    Will this functionality work in the project environment as well? Right click on a VI in your project and have a list of functions you can perform on it?

  5. Jim Kring Jim Kring says:

    Mike: supporting right-clicks in the project will not be difficult, and it’s definitely on the road map (I’ve asked about this feature, myself). That said, I’m not sure if it’s going to be included in the first release.

  6. crelf says:

    Will the RCF be distributable by third parties? For example, say I want to release a tool and I’d like it to be accessed through the right click menu, can I bundle your tool (silently) within my installer?

  7. Jim Kring Jim Kring says:

    crelf: The RCF will be distributed as a VI Package through the VI Package Network. You can make your tool a VI Package that depends on the RCF, and VIPM will automatically install the RCF when users install your tool. If you have special requirements or questions, please let us know.

  8. crelf says:

    Jim: thanks – I think that answers my question for now. Cheers on what looks to be a pretty damn useful extension to LabVIEW.

  9. Jim Kring Jim Kring says:

    crelf: Thanks. I can’t wait to see the RCF plugins you and your team create — I know that you’ve all been using scripting for quite some time and probably have a lot of great ideas cooking. Cheers!

  10. crelf says:

    True. We have some great tools, but the integration into LabVIEW has always been the stumbling block. I think they’re intuative, but I just haven’t been able to find a good way to get them into the standard workflow. Hopefully, once your RCF is released (with project explorer integration) then it’ll all fall into place…

  11. Kurt says:

    Very cool work guys, cant wait to play with this and contribute to plugins.

  12. Ashish says:

    pretty neat…..I liked the auto wire tunnel feature….especially having in that situation recently.
    Thank you.

  13. JDave says:

    Jim, I love how cleanly you integrated this stuff into the native environment. I have wanted to have that for quite a while, and made a few of my own tools to do some of that (Was that some PasteReplace stuff in there? :). It’s great to see a nice professional product coming out to fill this need.

    Now I just need to get more LabVIEW programming opportunities at work to take advantage of it!!! Great Work!

  14. Jim Kring Jim Kring says:

    JDave: Thanks for the kind words. I’m happy to hear that the RCF is something that you’re looking forward to. In fact, some of the RCF plugins that we’re using, internally, at JKI (like the Paste from Clipboard and Auto-wire tunnels) is derived from code that we’ve found elsewhere (like LAVA) and adapted into the RCF environment (so, perhaps the “Paste from Clipboard” plugin uses *your code*). Rest assured that when we release the RCF framework to the public that we’ll contact authors before we redistribute any of their code and give them full credit — the whole point of the RCF is allowing the community to create great plugins :)

  15. Jim Kring Jim Kring says:

    JDave, I’ve just confirmed that it’s your code that was adapted for this RCF plugin. I’ve posted a comment on the LAVA thread where you posted this code. Thanks!

  16. Dave: As Jim allude, we have been converting tools posted by other (On LAVA for example) to be able to be used in the RCF. You suspect right that the PasteReplace (renamed as “replace with clipboard content”) was derivated from your work that you posted on LAVA ( As Jim say, we will contact the respective authors before we release he RCF.
    I have been pretty excited working on this for a few years, and it is nice to finally be able to talk about it openly.

  17. JDave says:

    I bet you guys are excited. It was sorely needed and you guys did, of course, a superb job! It is exciting for me to have my tool included in the first release — and your intro video at that! Keep the awesomeness coming.

  18. cbolin says:

    This rocks. Way to go guys!
    (Chris Bolin, LabVIEW R&D)

  19. Jim Kring Jim Kring says:

    The JKI team wants to let everyone know that we are working hard to get the right-click framework released, now that scripting has been publicly released! We’ve got a few loose strings to tie up, but hopefully it won’t take long, so stay tuned. We’re totally motivated by all the excitement and great feedback we’ve already received from everyone — thanks!

  20. panfilero says:

    Where can I find these plug ins? They didn’t come with my JKI RCF, and I don’t see them in the VIPM or the JKI site….

  21. Jim Kring Jim Kring says:

    panfilero: there are some plugins shown in the video that we didn’t make publicly available for various reasons (such as code JKI may not be able to redistribute to the public). Which plugins were you interested in?

  22. Nagrajan says:

    it would be grateful if it is available for LabVIEW 2013 64 bit .. But VIPM throws error as this package is not compatible with LabVIEW 2013 64bit and 32 bit

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