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Building an Installer for an API

LabVIEW Add-on Dev Center » Distributing an Add-on » Building an Installer for an API


In this example we will use the LabVIEW Application Builder to build an installer for a VI-based API.  The recommended process for distributing an API, assuming palette menu (.mnu) files and the Example Finder linking file (bin3) have not been created yet, is the following:


**Note: This is the recommended process for developers who have developed/stored their code in a location outside of the LabVIEW directory structure (National Instruments\LabVIEW\).  For developers who already have their API files stored in the correct deployment directories as outlined in the File and Folder Names for Integrating into LabVIEW document, skip steps 1-3; these developers will only need to create the palette (.mnu) file(s), Example Finder (.bin3) file, and finally create a source distribution and installer as outlined below.


  1. Build a Source Distribution from your development folder
  2. Build an Installer for your Source Distribution     
    • Deploying the Source Distribution to the LabVIEW directory or [LVDIR]
  3. Install this on your development machine
  4. Create palette and Example Finder files by linking to the files you've installed to the LabVIEW directories.
  5. Copy/Paste the palette and Example Finder files from the My Documents\LabVIEW Data folder back to your development folder into folders replicating the LabVIEW directory structure for deploying to the menus\Categories and examples folder locations (for example, c:\dev\menus\Categories\Company\Product and c:\dev\examples\).
  6. Add the palette and Example Finder files to your LabVIEW Project and Source Distribution
  7. Build your installer and test it on another machine

Note: Remember to uninstall the installer on your build machine to remove your toolkit.


We recognize this process is not ideal, but for plugging into LabVIEW this is a safe method to follow.  Part of the reason for this complexity is the palette files and Example Finder files must be linked to files already within the LabVIEW directory structure; since the majority of developers will develop APIs outside of the LabVIEW directories, the process outlined above is absolutely necessary.  Alternatively, if you were to develop within the LabVIEW directory structure, you could build your source distribution and installer directly from the LabVIEW directories.  For this approach, you would need to configure your SCC application to sync to the directories where you store your files, and the example below will still outline the process for building the source distribution and installer as the directory structure in the example matches that of the LabVIEW directory.


For this example, a .zip file is provided (link at the bottom of the page) containing a set of source files representing the status of a typical development folder after step 6 above.  Extract these files to a location on disk.  We're going to walk through the process of creating a source distribution and installer for this API.

Source Distribution

  1. Open the project file (located within the 'API Installer Project' folder in the .zip file), which contains all of the API files included with this example in a hierarchy mapped to the hierarchy of the files on disk.
  2. Browse the file/folders included in the example project, notice most every piece of an API is included.
  3. Right-click 'Build Specification' and select New > Source Distribution.
  4. Under Source Files, select each of the top-level folders in the Project Files pane and click the blue arrow to add them to the 'Always Included' pane (tip: You can hold shift to select multiple folders at once).
  5. Under the Destinations category, check the box for 'Preserve disk hierarchy' for the Destination Directory.
  6. Under Preview, observe the output files for the Source Distribution.  Notice, the hierarchy is preserved in the output.
  7. Select Build
  8. Save the project (File > Save).


  1. Right-click 'Build Specification' and select New > Installer.
  2. Under the Source Files category, first right-click the [LVDIR] directory in the Destination View and select 'Set as default'.
  3. Delete the 'API Installer' folder under [ProgramFilesFolder] in the Destination View (Right-click > Delete Folder).
  4. Select the Source Distribution in the Project View pane and select the [LVDIR] folder in the Destination View pane, click the blue arrow to add the Source Distribution.
  5. Under the Additional Installers category, uncheck all selections.
  6. In the Advanced category, uncheck the box for 'Install custom error code files'. We are doing this already by installing the custom error code file (in the project\errors\English folder in the project).
  7. Select Build
  8. Save the project


You now have an installer to test on a deployment or test machine.  I recommend opening LabVIEW on the machine you install this example to verify your installer has worked.  See if you can find the features we installed for the ATX Simple Math example API.


  • Palette
  • Example (hint: Analyzing and Processing Signals > Mathematics)
  • Help Document
  • Custom Probe (hint: probe one of the wires in the example)
  • Custom Error Code (hint: error code -400000)
  • Template