As software development becomes more complex and sophisticated, the process of finding and fixing problems can become increasingly challenging. It takes a standardized and automated approach to ensure complete testing and code validation. An essential part of this process is test software, which offers a platform for executing tests, automating test cases, generating reports, and evaluating results.
The Role of Test Software in a Complete Testing Solution
Automated software testing is highly accurate and eliminates the potential for human error, and significantly reduces the required test time. It offers several benefits, including higher accuracy, faster testing, better data analysis and reporting, real-time feedback, and customizable testing procedures. It provides comprehensive data analysis and reporting capabilities, making it easier to identify and address problems. These benefits make automated testing an indispensable tool for modern software development, improving product quality and reliability while reducing costs and increasing efficiency.

A product can be validated using various automated methods, the most popular Test software tools from Farnell are LabView from NI, PathWave from Keysight, TekScope from Tektronix, and many more.

LabVIEW from NI

LabVIEW is a graphical programming language developed by National Instruments that is used for various engineering and scientific applications. LabVIEW offers strong capabilities for data visualization, including diagrams, graphs, and 3D plots. It can quickly create and test prototypes of their applications, allowing them to make necessary design and conceptual changes.
Its advanced analytical tools, graphical programming interface, hardware integration, quick prototyping capabilities, and modular programming make it the perfect tool for engineers, scientists, and teachers. Using the broad range of capabilities that LabVIEW provides, data can be acquired, examined, displayed, and stored.
Its graphical, general-purpose programming language (known as G), along with an associated integrated compiler, a linker, and debugging tools, differentiates it from others. G programming is performed by wiring together graphical icons on a diagram, and then compiling them directly to machine code so the computer processors can execute it. G contains the same programming concepts found in most traditional languages. It includes standard constructs, such as data types, loops, event handling, variables, recursion, and object-oriented programming. It allows automatic parallelization, which makes multitasking and multithreading simple to implement. The built-in compiler continually works in the background to identify parallel sections of code. Click here for more options on features of different LabVIEW variants and buying options.
Case study: NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA)
The National Instruments (NI) case study showcases how a team of engineers created a Transmitter Control Unit (TCU) for a radar application using NI LabVIEW and PXI hardware. The TCU is a flexible and scalable system that regulates the transmission of electromagnetic waves in a radar system. The team utilized NI's R Series and FlexRIO products along with LabVIEW FPGA to efficiently meet project deadlines and deliver significant cost savings compared to commercial off-the-shelf solutions. The TCU has been adopted in various radar systems, and NI's hardware and software delivered significant savings by simplifying the hardware integration process and shortening development efforts. The team used two PXI-7853R modules and one PXI-7952R coupled with an NI-5751 digitizer adapter module for monitoring and controlling slow and fast signals in the radar system. 

PathWave from Keysight

PathWave test and measurement software tools are used for vector signal analysis and test automation in telecommunications, aerospace and defence, and semiconductor-manufacturing industries, it delivers fast, accurate, and comprehensive data analysis. Advanced features include built-in signal processing algorithms, designed for spectrum analysers, oscilloscopes, network analyzers and many more test instruments as well as PCs or automation systems. It allows quickly capturing and storing test data with real-time accessibility, and import data from various sources in multiple formats using the open application program interface (API). The software preview feature allows easy visualization and analysis of measurement data, along with a scalable and high-performance data repository that enables engineers to make critical decisions. One can benchmark against industry peers using USB 3.1 industry data, and upload data through streaming or bulk transfer. PathWave Measurement Data Analytics leverages machine learning algorithms for accelerated data analysis and more precise results. It provides an edge-to-cloud computing application to improve anomaly detection. Click Here to buy Keysight Test software offerings.
Case study: Photonic Systems Group at McGill University

A company called Photonic Systems Group at McGill University overcame testing limitations in their optoelectronic Research using Keysight's test equipment. Photonic Systems conducts research in the fields of optical communications, optical sensing, and photonics. The group tested and characterised their devices and systems using optical spectrum analyzers and signal generators from Keysight in order to expand the capacity of optoelectronic devices and to design more effective bandwidth modulation schemes.
The top performing Keysight model 110 GHz UXR1104A oscilloscope paired with a Keysight M8199A AWG was selected for this work. The UXR provides 110 GHz bandwidth on all four channels with less than 1 mVrms of vertical noise. The M8199A delivers 256 GS/s sample rates and up to 70 GHz bandwidth. UXR-Series provided previously unreachable levels of eye-diagram analysis and error minimization when testing silicon photonic modulators. It operates at higher PAM levels, the better the noise floor and it improved the noise performance by 5% - 10%.

TekScope PC Analysis Software from Tektronix

TekScope is a PC Analysis Software, it enables engineers to process, analyse, and share data efficiently, without having to be physically next to an oscilloscope or in the testing environment. The ease of use of the TekScope software in combination with other tools allows for faster correlation and insight. It has the ability to run measurements outside the lab, and methods to correlate lab measurements with simulation results.
TekScope provides the power of an oscilloscope analysis environment to the PC. Users can run analyses such as serial decode, power analysis, timing, eye, and jitter analysis outside of the lab. One can continue their session, view waveform and share the analysis results from their oscilloscope anywhere at any time. It can run many types of measurements, math and plots. It performs basic instrument control, waveform transfer and analysis in real-time. It decodes common serial protocols, such as CAN, CAN-FD I2C, SPI, RS-232/422/485/UART, LIN. Most of the waveform files such as .wfm, .isf, .csv, .h5, .tr0, .trc, and .bin are been supported.
The basic license lets you view and analyze waveforms, perform many types of measurements and decode the most common serial buses. Premium options are available for capabilities such as multi-scope analysis, bus decoding, power analysis, and jitter analysis. Click Here to buy TekScope software from Tektronix.
Case study: Enhancing a new generation's engineering education
Coventry University in the UK has implemented Tektronix equipment to enhance its electronics engineering program. The university's Faculty of Engineering, Environment and Computing offers a wide variety of courses and state-of-the-art facilities intending to produce graduates who are equipped with industry-standard knowledge and experience. The faculty made the decision to create a cutting-edge electrical and electronic engineering laboratory in order to further enhance their teaching and learning strategies and elevate the student experience.
Tektronix equipment is used throughout the university's electronics engineering program in areas such as digital and analog circuit design, power electronics, and communications. And the TekScope™ software allows students to perform analysis tasks in the lab and continue their work outside of it, providing them with the flexibility to analyse waveforms just as they would on the oscilloscope, without actually requiring the scope itself. This prepares the students for industry-based environments while also enhancing collaboration and sharing with their peers.

In conclusion, automated testing software is a crucial part of present-day software development, and its advantages cannot be emphasised enough. However, every business has different needs in determining the requirements of automated testing software. LabVIEW offers sophisticated analytical tools, a graphical programming interface, and hardware integration, whereas PathWave delivers quick, accurate, and thorough data analysis, and TekScope offers effective data processing, analysis, and sharing capabilities. Regardless of your testing needs, selecting the appropriate software solution will significantly increase the dependability and quality of your product design. Whatever your requirements, Farnell offers a wide range of test equipment software solutions from NI, Keysight, Tektronix, Rohde and Schwarz and many other industry specialist suppliers.

Click Here to explore Test & Measurement Software Solutions from Farnell.
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