The key to be able to design modular and scalable software is the way information is exchanged between its components (e.g., data acquisition module, data logging module, user interfaces etc). Essentially, it is the answer to the question: What information is available where and when?

This need for information exchange also creates dependencies or coupling between the components. Such issues are commonly resolved through the use of queues, notifiers or user events but these implementations are often specific to the software being developed and have to be recreated for each new software. An alternative tool is the Actor Framework, which is a great generic solution but it's also quite hard to master and has a steep learning curve.

I will be presenting a much simpler and more intuitive alternative to the Actor Framework, called the Application Messaging Manager or AMM, which is based on the principle of a network with star topology and addressing using the nodes' names. It comes in the form of a library which contains a single class through which all functionality is implemented. Each component of a software instantiates an object of this class and specifies an AMM name. All components which specify the same AMM name will become nodes in the same network, managed by that AMM. Each component goes live in the network by registering with the AMM and specifying its own name and optionally, a list of notifications to which it wants to subscribe. After this, each component can perform point-to-point communication by using another component's name (Command and Response messages), send Broadcast messages intended for all registered components or send Notification messages intended for all registered components which have subscribed to a particular notification. The communication protocol (attributes of messages, including type of data they carry) is completely user defined.

Using the Application Messaging Manager, it's possible to easily create fully independent components which can work as part of a software, without them having to be aware of what other components are part of that software. This allows for modularisation of the software and ease of adding additional components when new functionality is required.

Alex Bugnar

In his previous role, Alex spent 5 years managing the Precision Metrology Lab of a scientific research facility near Oxford (UK), called Diamond Light Source. There, among other activities, he used LabVIEW to develop a software for automation of high precision measurements, which integrated scientific motion devices and a suite of metrology instruments.

Over the past 3.5 years Alex has been working in the automotive industry, in Marelli?s R&D centre in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). There he leads the development of various PC software in LabVIEW, some of which is used internally during the R&D process for new products and other to control automated benches which are part of the mass production lines.