Some tips for a newbie?


Hi, all. I will be working with the XEM3010 to create a GUI control interface for my custom circuit interfaced to the XEM3010 (need to send data to the FPGA to configure the circuit and construct a image by reading the data from the memory on the XEM3010). I had a few questions for those who have experience with the FrontPanel API/DLL.

First, some background… I have a little bit of experience using swing for Java for one of my programming classes. But I need to work with C/C++ for this project. I have a little bit of C/C++ experience (took AP CompSci in highschool and a few CS courses in college), but have never designed a GUI in C/C++ before.

The questions I had were:

  1. What IDE should I use? Seems like Visual C++ is preferred, but I do not have a copy of the full version. Are there any limitations that I should be concerned with if I were to use Visual C++ Express? Or are there other recommendations (such as mingw + eclipse + wxwidgets)?

  2. Are there certain versions of the various softwares above that works better than others? For example, which version of VC++ has the least amount of problems (if any)?

  3. I read on the forums that Opal Kelly may be moving completely to FrontPanel DLL instead of API. Are there any adv/disadv to using one over the other?

Much thanks in advance!



Hi Evan-

On Windows, we use Visual Studio with wxWidgets for most GUI work, primarily because it is a well-supported tool-flow. Many folks also use the mingw flow, but I have no experience with that. MFC is another GUI library, but it is somewhat dated and, while not technically deprecated, is not at the cutting edge of Microsoft’s core.

We are moving to support the DLL. In fact, the release planned “real soon now” is going to be our last library version. The DLL offers much better compiler support (different versions of Visual Studio and Borland), and is just generally a better way to build applications. The only advantage of the compiled-in library is that it is a little easier concept for new developers to grasp. We have at least one example of the build for a DLL-based application. And all of our samples will eventually migrate to this.


thanks for the tips. I had another question… :o

In the FrontPanel User’s Manual, under Front Panel DLL, Example Usage © on page 56 states:

— Begin quote from ____

When using the DLL in a compiled C application, you will need to compile and link the okFrontPanelDLL.c file with your application.

— End quote

In Visual C++, how would I go about doing this?


Just add it to your project. VS will take care of the rest.


Thank you for the quick replies! I really appreciate it!

Another question if you don’t mind… I found this image on the FrontPanel software page:

I am working on a similar application and was wondering if I could obtain the source code for the video capture frontpanel application pictured, as it would save me a lot of time.



Sorry… This is one of our product applications. It is only currently for sale to one of our partners, but will soon be made available to all.