Designing efficient test systems requires a modular software architecture and development tools optimized for test. To develop test systems faster and more cost effectively, it is critical that you evaluate your test software architecture to maximize code reuse. Understanding the importance of modular test-software architectures and how to develop your tests as modules rather than building stand-alone applications will significantly improve test-software reuse.
Incorporating modular test-software architectures begins with choosing a software-development environment that is designed for easily connecting to your instruments and quickly performing any type of measurement and analysis required. Such test-software development tools include NI LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, and Measurement Studio for Visual Studio .NET.
Selecting test and measurement hardware with robust software interfaces is another important layer in defining modular-software architectures. Measurement and control services software such as NI Measurement and Automation Explorer (NI-MAX), NI-DAQ, Virtual Instrument Software Architecture (VISA), LabVIEW Plug & Play drivers, and Interchangeable Virtual Instrument (IVI) drivers provide modular hardware interfaces for configuring and programming your test system through the use of virtual channel names, virtual devices, and simulation interfaces. Such modular measurement and control-services driver software helps you avoid developing test programs that are permanently tied to specific hardware and channels in your test system, thus increasing the ease of code reuse.
NI TestStand (www.ni.com/teststand) provides built-in test management capabilities such as test module adapters for calling tests written in common test languages such as LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, C/C++, and Visual Studio .NET regardless of the function prototypes defined for each test. Maximizing code reuse between the product design and manufacturing teams reduces test development effort ensuring production schedules are met and demands for improved quality are upheld. The flexible TestStand module adapters ensure maximum code reuse across the product development cycle with minimal training.
Tools for the Job: Designing efficient
test systems requires a modular software architecture and develoment tools
optimized for test.
The investment in software development for testing your products throughout the product development cycle is often equal to or greater than your test hardware investment. Maximizing test software return on investment through efficient test code reuse will assist you in developing your test systems faster and ensure on-time delivery for your products.