LabVIEW (Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench) is a graphical programming language that uses icons instead of lines of text to create applications. In contrast to text-based programming languages, where instructions determine the order of program execution, LabVIEW uses dataflow programming, where the flow of data through the nodes on the block diagram determines the execution order of the VIs and functions. VIs, or virtual instruments, are LabVIEW programs that imitate physical instruments.
In LabVIEW, you build a user interface by using a set of tools and objects. The user interface is known as the front panel. After you build the front panel, you add code using graphical representations of functions to control the front panel objects. You add this graphical code, also known as G code or block diagram code, to the block diagram. In some ways, the block diagram resembles a flowchart.
You can purchase several add-on software toolkits for developing specialized applications. All the toolkits integrate seamlessly in LabVIEW.