4. VISA in Programming Languages

There are many programming languages offering the possibility to remotely control Test & Measurement instruments.

In this guide, we focus on:

  • Python in R&S Forum
  • Python in PyCharm
  • MATLAB®
  • C# in Visual Studio Development Environment
  • LabVIEW™
  • ANSI-C in LabWindows/CVI™

In the following sub-chapters, we discuss advantages and disadvantages of each language. Included ready-to-use example for each of these languages should help you getting started. The screenshots emphasize simple code change in case you change physical connection to your instrument. They also show used layers between the application and VISA.

An installation of VISA is the common precondition for all the examples below.

Python in R&S Forum

Advantages: Easy to use, specially developed for instrument remote control, multi-platform, also offers interactive console.

Disadvantages: Difficult to develop GUIs, the environment is not suitable for bigger projects.

In R&S Forum, you change the instrument resource string in menu item Settings -> Instruments. The session to the instrument is opened with the first communication attempt. See more in the dedicated application note 1MA196

Python in PyCharm

Advantages: Intelligent code editor, safe refactoring, allows for tracking code changes, excellent debugger, also available for Linux

Disadvantages: Missing compiler means you code is only tested for errors during execution.

Generally, in Python you use PyVISA component - a wrapper of the ANSI-C visa32.dll library. First, you have to create a ResourceManager object. The resource string you change in the method open_resource()

MATLAB

Advantages: Simple scripting language, including easy GUI designs.

Disadvantages: No multi-threading, bulky executables.

In MATLAB you change the resource string in the VISA Open() method. The rest of your script is unchanged. See more in the dedicated application note 1MA171

C# in Visual Studio

Advantages: State-of-the-art programming environment, optimized for high performance.

Disadvantages: Requires advanced programming knowledge.

In Visual Studio C#, you use the Ivi.Visa assembly installed together with your VISA installation. You only have to change the resource string in the VISA Open() method.

LabVIEW

Advantages: Ideal for engineers without the need for advanced programming skills, specially developed for instrument remote control applications.

Disadvantages: Lower performance by graphical tasks, difficult to compare versions due to graphical source code.

In LabVIEW, you change the instrument resource string for the LabVIEW function VISA Open. The session stays valid even if your program stops. If you are using instrument drivers, refer to the dedicated application note 1MA228

ANSI-C in LabWindows/CVI

Advantages: ANSI-C environment targeted for instrument remote control.

Disadvantages: Requires advanced programming knowledge.

In C/C++, you change the resource string in the viOpen() function. First, you need to open a resource manager with the function viOpenDefaultRM().

Request information

Do you have questions or need additional information? Simply fill out this form and we will get right back to you.

Marketing permission

I want to receive information from Rohde & Schwarz via

What does this mean in detail?

I agree that Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG and the Rohde & Schwarz entity or subsidiary company mentioned in the imprint of this website, may contact me via the chosen channel (email or postal mail) for marketing and advertising purposes (e.g. information on special offers and discount promotions) related to, but not limited to, products and solutions in the fields of test and measurement, secure communications, monitoring and network testing, broadcast and media, and cybersecurity.

Your rights

This declaration of consent may be withdrawn at any time by sending an email with the subject "Unsubscribe" to news@rohde-schwarz.com. Additionally, a link to unsubscribe from future email advertisements is contained in each email sent. Further details on the use of personal data and the withdrawal procedure are set out in the Statement of Privacy.

Your request has been sent successfully. We will contact you shortly.
An error is occurred, please try it again later.