Lately, software testing has been on my mind. I’ve been trying to dial in the sweet spot where automated testing is directly profitable by decreasing net development time, and indirectly profitable by increasing the intangible perception of quality. Here’s the problem: unit testing can seem tedious. Prohibitively expensive. Tough to justify. Even intimidating! As a result, applications and application components can easily get starved of any form of automated testing. A colleague let me in on a secret that helps break down these misconceptions. It’s simple, and maybe even obvious, but it’s still a secret worth sharing: a unit is as big
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First, I’d like to thank everyone who attended my presentation at NIWeek 2011. I know that the room was a schlep for everyone since it was not in the typical presentation area, so I was really excited that the session was full! I’d also like to thank Michael Aivaliotis for helping me with impromptu technical support and a special guest appearance during the presentation with great comments about his own debugging tricks and tips. This presentation came about after I was working with several other JKI Engineers and it became obvious that many of us were using debugging techniques that others had
JKI’s VI Tester is a LabVIEW unit testing framework that helps developers write and execute automated tests to guarantee their software components work as designed. Although this usually means verifying that software components meet certain functional requirements, VI Tester can be used for creating other kinds of software tests, too. Instead of finding bugs, these tests can do things like perform status and configuration checks on your software, and work around pain points in the LabVIEW build process. Let’s look at one example. LabVIEW Checks for Broken VIs Late in the Build Process Recently I was working for a JKI customer on
I’m very excited to announce that VI Tester 1.1.2 has been released on the VI Package Network. As lead developer of VI Tester, I’m happy to tell you that this release fixes all of the known user-reported issues to date, as well a few other issues that we found internally at JKI. If you’re a VI Package Manager user, VI Tester 1.1.2 will automatically appear in your package list and you can install or upgrade in just a couple clicks. If you’re not a VIPM user, you can get started for free with VIPM Community Edition and be up and
We’ve just released VI Tester 1.1.1 on the VI Package Network. This release contains a fix for a minor bug that caused the VI Tester toolbar to not show up in the LabVIEW 2009 Project Explorer window. You can download & install this package using VI Package Manager. Just press the “Check the Network for Available Packages” button to refresh your package list, then install the jki_labs_tool_vi_tester-18.104.22.168-1 package.
Have you ever set a reentrant VI to non-reentrant in order to facilitate debugging, only to forget to set the VI back to reentrant when you’re done? This mistake can be very tough to debug, as the difference in behavior (between reentrancy and non-reentrancy) can be very subtle. The same is true for other VI Settings (e.g. the subroutine Execution Priority setting). The point is, during development you may change some VI Properties in ways that make sense for debugging, but will cause bugs in your application if left that way. Forgetting to reset them to their correct values can cause huge
JKI is pleased to announce the release of VI Tester 1.1. This release fixes several issues reported by the community, and also adds some significant new features: A programmatic API so you can run tests and obtain their results from your own code. Several new toolbar buttons in your LabVIEW Project window so you can access VI Tester’s most common features right from your LabVIEW projects. The ability to export your test results to a text file and/or print them. We’re excited by the community’s response to VI Tester. We hope you find the new features in VI Tester 1.1
NI’s New Year’s resolution to provide better support for third-party LabVIEW addons is already bearing fruit in some big ways inside JKI. Very soon, you’ll be able to access VI Tester directly from the LabVIEW project toolbar. By clicking on toolbar buttons you’ll be able to run all your project’s unit tests, as well as add new Test Cases and Test Suites without leaving the project window. Here’s a short video showing a development version of the VI Tester’s LabVIEW Project Explorer toolbar in action: All this is made possible by NI’s growing openness to providing LabVIEW developers with ways
If you’re going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area next Wednesday evening (February 18th, 2009 at at 6pm), then be sure to come to the LabVIEW User Group Meeting at the NI Mountain View office. Jim Kring and Omar Mussa will be giving a demo of JKI’s new VI Tester and talking about ways to improve your software quality via unit testing. For more details, see the meeting agenda page. We hope to see you there!
Last week, JKI released VI Tester. To some, this might seem like an overnight development, but it is really the result of several years of internal development and eating our own dog food. This is something that’s very important to us, and we do it with all our JKI Software products. In fact, the path to “productization” is a natural outgrowth of our normal development process at JKI. Generally, the process is: Identify a tool that we need for a project, but that doesn’t already exist. Create the tool that we need, so we can work better or more efficiently.