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LabVIEW Champion: John Lokanis

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John Lokanis


Redmond, WA USA


Certified LabVIEW Architect (CLA)


BSEE from Michigan Technological University


LabVIEW, .NET, C#, C, ASM, JavaScript

Used LabVIEW Since:

Over 23 years.  Starting with version 3.0

Application Areas:

Automation, Test Systems, Database Architecture, Hardware Driver Design (cRIO, PXI, VXI, GPIB, RS-232, TCP/IP)

User Groups:

Seattle LabVIEW User Group (SLUGs) - President

Active Forums:

LAVA, Actor Framework, LabVIEW Architects, Continuous Integration, Center of Excellence, GDS, Pacific Northwest LabVIEW Users


     I started using LabVIEW in 1993 by reverse engineering a beta of a test executive NI was developing.  I dove headfirst into the LabVIEW pool, having only programmed in text based languages before. Within weeks I had the test executive running with several custom modifications to support testing of our implantable medical device product.  I also developed LabVIEW drivers for all the hardware on our test station.  The next challenge was to create a printer driver for a standard dot matrix printer to generate test reports.  LabVIEW had no means of doing custom printing like we needed in our application so I figured out how to write to the LPT port using the COM drivers and wrote all the code to manage page feeds and custom formatting.  Eventually I rewrote the entire test executive using all the skills I had accumulated.

     After seeing the success we were having in test engineering with LabVIEW, the design engineering group asked me to automate their DVT process.  I built them a system to perform all their tests and capture the data to a database.

     Meanwhile, I was showing my roommate at the time this cool new language I was using at work.  I started teaching him the basics in the evenings and eventually he was able to convince his boss to buy a copy of LabVIEW and start using it to develop test systems. Twenty years later he is still using LabVIEW every day and at 4 previous employers.

     Next, I was contracted by a telecomm company to design a test executive using LabVIEW.  This would be the second time I had written a fully featured test executive.

     After 9 years in the medical device field, I decided to move on to a different industry.  My next challenge was to regression test a software development tool for an embedded SoC.  At first, I tried to use the scripting languages the new company favored but after a few months of frustration I changed tactics and built a complete software regression test system using LabVIEW in one weekend.  This was my third ‘test executive’.  This introduced me to .NET programming in LabVIEW, which I use to great effect even today.  Next, I used LabVIEW to help build characterization systems for the SoC product we were developing.  I spend the next few months teaching three engineers LabVIEW and helping them get started with the project.  Two of those engineers are still at the company using LabVIEW every day to build DVT test systems.  One of the engineers moved on to other opportunities bringing LabVIEW with him.  I still see him at the local user group meetings.

My next position with this company was to create customer demos of the product.  This required programming the SoC in assembly and C, but for the PC side of the interface, I used LabVIEW again.

     Eventually I moved on to my current company and back to a manufacturing role.  Except this time, the challenge was to create an entirely new type of test executive.  Instead of testing a single unit at a time, this application needed to be able to test 100’s of units simultaneously and asynchronously.  It also needed to allow for parallel testing within each unit.  Add in tight integration with a database and a fully data driven interface and it quickly became one of the most complex applications I have written in LabVIEW.  Normally this would take a team of developers several months to complete in a traditional programming language but I completed the project on my own in half the time.

     In addition to this, I have achieved and maintained my CLA status.  I am a member of the CAB group and I recently took over the admin role for our local LabVIEW user group.  I am also an active member of LAVA and NI forums.  I have submitted multiple ideas to the Idea Exchange and one of them was recently implemented and released in LabVIEW.