Using Build Specifications

LabVIEW 2018 Help

Edition Date: March 2018
Part Number: 371361R-01
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Use Build Specifications in the Project Explorer window to create and configure build specifications for LabVIEW builds. A build specification contains all the settings for the build, such as files to include, directories to create, and settings for VIs. The following table lists the LabVIEW requirements for each build specification.

Build Specification Requires
Stand-alone application Application Builder or Professional Development System
Installers Application Builder or Professional Development System
.NET interop assemblies Application Builder or Professional Development System
Packages Application Builder or Professional Development System
Packed libraries Application Builder or Professional Development System
Shared libraries Application Builder or Professional Development System
Source distributions Base Development System or Full Development System
Web services Base Development System or Full Development System
Zip files Application Builder or Professional Development System
Note   You must have the Application Builder installed to build stand-alone applications, shared libraries, installers, and zip files. The LabVIEW Professional Development System includes the Application Builder. If you use the LabVIEW Base Development System or Full Development System, you can purchase the Application Builder separately by visiting the National Instruments website. If you have already purchased the Application Builder, select Help»Activate LabVIEW Components to activate the product.

The build specification interface is a set of dialog boxes that allow you to customize your build specification type. Each dialog box has pages unique to each build specification type. For example, when building a stand-alone application, the Application Properties dialog box allows you to select which VIs launch at startup and which VIs are always included.

Note  If you previously hid Build Specifications in the Project Explorer window, you must display the item again to access it in the Project Explorer window.

You can create and configure the following types of build specifications:

  • Stand-alone applications—Use stand-alone applications to provide other users with executable versions of VIs. Applications are useful when you want users to run VIs without installing the LabVIEW development system. Stand-alone applications require the LabVIEW Run-Time Engine. (Windows) Applications have a .exe extension. (macOS) Applications have a .app extension.
  • Installers(Windows) Use installers to distribute stand-alone applications, shared libraries, and source distributions that you create with the Application Builder. Installers that include the LabVIEW Run-Time Engine are useful if you want users to be able to run applications or use shared libraries without installing LabVIEW.
  • .NET interop assemblies(Windows) Use .NET interop assemblies to package VIs for the Microsoft .NET Framework. You must install the .NET Framework 4.0 to build a .NET interop assembly using the Application Builder.
  • Packages(Windows 64-bit) Use packages to distribute source distributions, packed project libraries, shared libraries, .NET assemblies, or executables to clients. You can distribute packages to clients through NI Package Manager or SystemLink. Your clients can use Package Manager or SystemLink to subscribe to a feed to find and install your packages. Packages have a .nipkg extension. (NI Linux Real-Time) You can also create opkg packages (.ipk) on NI Linux Real-Time targets if you install the LabVIEW Real-Time Module. Your clients can install packages through SystemLink or from the command line on the NI Linux Real-Time target. Package Manager does not support .ipk files.
  • Packed project libraries—Use packed project libraries to package multiple LabVIEW files into a single file. When you deploy VIs in a packed library, fewer files deploy because the packed library is a single file. The top-level file of a packed library is a project library. Packed libraries contain one or more VI hierarchies that compile for a specific operating system. Packed libraries have a .lvlibp extension.
  • Shared libraries—Use shared libraries if you want to call VIs using text-based programming languages, such as LabWindows™/CVI™, Microsoft Visual C++, and Microsoft Visual Basic. Using shared libraries provides a way for programming languages other than LabVIEW to access code developed with LabVIEW. Shared libraries are useful when you want to share the functionality of the VIs you build with other developers. Other developers can use the shared libraries but cannot edit or view the block diagrams unless you enable debugging. (Windows) Shared libraries have a .dll extension. (macOS) Shared libraries have a .framework extension. (Linux) Shared libraries have a .so extension. You can use .so or you can begin with lib and end with .so, optionally followed by the version number. This allows other applications to use the library.
Note  (Linux) Visit and enter the Info Code exjze4 for more information about the library that installs with LabVIEW.
  • Source distributions—Use source distributions to package a collection of source files. Source distributions are useful if you want to send code to other developers to use in LabVIEW. You can configure settings for specified VIs to add passwords, remove block diagrams, or apply other settings. You also can select different destination directories for VIs in a source distribution without breaking the links between VIs and subVIs.
  • Zip files—Use zip files when you want to distribute files or an entire LabVIEW project as a single, portable file. A zip file contains compressed files, which you can send to users. Zip files are useful if you want to distribute selected source files to other LabVIEW users. You also can use the Zip VIs to create zip files programmatically.

You can distribute these files without the LabVIEW development system; however, to run stand-alone applications and shared libraries, users must have the LabVIEW Run-Time Engine installed.

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