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Editor’s Pick: NI TestStand 2012 Increases Automated Test Throughput

By Anthony J. Lockwood

Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:

So, the automatic operating system update from a leading outfit busted up a computer at home perhaps for good. Reading the geek sites leads to the conclusion that this brutality was not the old fickle finger of fate but rather what seems a colossal failure of the company’s automated test (and release) regimen. Thank goodness it wasn’t a medical device, airplane, some system the troops need, or some bit of consumer electronics that people use for work at home. Oh, wait. I work at home.

Look, I know that developing any sort of automated test system is a tough business. This is why over the years I have found NI TestStand test management software such an intriguing product. It helps you build automated tests, run tests of your tests, and collect results. It also helps you deploy the tests when that time comes. Let’s take a look at it.

Out of the box, NI TestStand provides scalable test development tools. These include things for reporting test results, testing devices in parallel, customization, logging results, and deploying your final version to production.

It has a Sequence Editor to help you build the order of actions needed to run your test automatically. That means you code — in your preferred test language — the individual steps of your test, and NI TestStand links these code modules into an executable. You can test single modules, series of modules, or the entire enchilada. You can run multiple tests on the same device simultaneously.

Whatever you do, tests return results data that you can automatically log, plunk into a report, or deliver to a database. NI TestStand can automatically generate reports in such formats as ATML, XML, and HTML. And, of course, you can analyze test results to ensure you’re getting what you want.

When you’re done horsing around with development, NI TestStand offers a deployment utility. It creates your distribution code, installer, test sequences, and so on for production. You can integrate your test systems with source code control, requirements management, and data management systems. Speaking of deployment, NI TestStand has tools to build a simple operator interface, and it’s amenable to custom user interfaces.

The 2012 version of NI TestStand was released a few weeks back. Existing users will find it has a lot of interesting updates: asynchronous report generation and database logging, the ability to create a compact raw results file for offline result processing, and improved integration with NI LabVIEW to name a few. In a word, you can be more productive.

More productive is exactly the intent of NI TestStand for people who create automatic tests. Hit the link and check it out. Make sure to hit the links to go to NI’s TestStand webpage. You’ll find lots of videos, tutorials, and good reads. In other words, you’ll find lots of good stuff about an intriguing product.

Thanks, Pal. — Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering

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About Anthony J. Lockwood

Anthony J. Lockwood is Desktop Engineering's Editor-at-Large. Contact him via de-editors@deskeng.com.