Welcome to Our LVTN Guide
Some time ago I set about the task of developing an “Add-on” for LabVIEW that I could sell and market as a product. In my mind this would be a relatively simple process to go through, I assumed that the writing of the actual LabVIEW code would be the most difficult part of the process.
I was wrong.
What I found was a disjointed process that required — in my opinion — far too much time spent on searching for information that really should be readily available. There are over 450 products available on the Tools Network, so obviously all this information is out there somewhere. Indeed all the information is out there, but it is not very easy to find and in some cases very difficult to decide on the most suitable solution.
This process caused me so many unnecessary problems and cost me so much time that I took the major step to present my experience at the 2017 CLA Summit in Vienna. This is a major step for me as I am truly terrified of speaking to large groups of people, but I was motivated by my desire to set this right. The response to my presentation took me very much by surprise, it turns out that I am not the only one who found this process to be difficult!
While writing this guide I have tried to make the language informal and accessible to all levels of experience. If you find some of the descriptions a little too simple, please bear in mind that others may not. I am not trying to be condescending, I just want to create something that is usable by everyone and not just the business elite. On the other hand, if you feel that something is not adequately explained then please leave a comment and I will see if I can change this.
Who Should use this Guide
While this document is intended to guide the reader through the whole process from start to finish, due to the structure used it is also possible to skip the sections that do not apply to your use case.
So it can be used for various scenarios, some of these could be:
- You want to submit a product to the LabVIEW Tools Network and go through the Tools Network review/testing process.
- You want to sell a licensed (or unlicensed) product on your own or a partners website
- You want to develop a product that you require to be licensed
- You want to develop a product that you wish to distribute
- All of the above
The following terms are used within this guide and could potentially have multiple meanings, or be new to the user.
Basecamp – This is the online collaboration tool used by the LVTN people to keep track of your progress and the main channel of communication between yourself and the relevant person at NI. When you submit your product to LVTN via the online form, a Basecamp project will be created for you, keep a look out in your inbox/spam for the registration email.
License – For the purpose of this guide the term “License” shall refer to the file(s) used to protect the product against unauthorised reproduction and installation. It shall NOT refer to the license you agree to when installing a product (EULA, SLA , etc.)
LVTN – Abbreviation for the LabVIEW Tools Network, the department within NI that facilitates the whole process and runs the Tools Network
Product – For the purposes of this document the term “product” shall refer to any LabVIEW code that the reader wishes to license, distribute etc. This can be an Add-on, an application or any other type of code/program.
Project – The whole process of creating your product, as with all projects this should have clear outcomes and some kind of timescale. This does not refer to the Project explorer in LabVIEW.
TPLAT – Third Party License & Activation Toolkit. A free product from NI that wraps your code with a license that can then be used for activation.
Requirements – Unless otherwise stated, this will refer to the items listed in the document “LabVIEW Tools Network Software Requirements” and can be found here
It is very important to note that this document is intended to be used as a reference that will guide the user through the whole process of selling a product from start to finish. By following all the sections in this guide you will end up with a licensed, sellable product that is available on the LabVIEW Tools Network. It is NOT a definitive guide, there are other options that will achieve the same results that are not described within this guide. Where appropriate hints will be given to alternative methods.
While this is the sole work of the author some of the information has come from other sources, where this is the case it will be explicitly stated.
It is unavoidable that brand names and products are mentioned and described as part of this guide. No rewards or incentives have been received as a consequence of this, the author has no direct connection with any of the companies mentioned.
If you are from one of the companies mentioned within this guide and you wish for something to be amended then please contact us.
This guide is intended to be used by the whole LabVIEW community and I am sure that there will be many things I have missed out, failed to explain properly, etc. While I will endeavour to update the relevant sections as soon as possible, please keep in mind that this is a side project for me and not my main daily task.
Thank you for your understanding.