Carrying Out Test Cases Just Got Faster and Easier

Published: October 15, 2018

Chandrasekhar Puliroju Team Leader – Software Engineering dSPACE Inc.

If you’ve been a long-time user of dSPACE AutomationDesk – or maybe you consider yourself a novice – I’ve got some news to share that is going to improve how you author and execute tests. 

dSPACE has developed a solution that simplifies the way you use AutomationDesk and allows you to author test cases and test steps faster and easier. The basis of this solution is the introduction of a standard test authoring framework (TAF). 

With this new TAF, the automated test process is improved through better test execution, test management, and reporting. The TAF gives users a fast and easy way to start writing basic tests without much AutomationDesk experience. 

If you’re not familiar with AutomationDesk, here’s a quick introduction: Test developers and test users rely on this tool to build automated test environments. Using a drag & drop feature, they can create custom libraries and test cases. The tool provides many interfaces for seamless integration with other tools needed for testing (e.g., configuration management, version management, calibration, and diagnostics), including third-party tools. Automated tests can be performed on a SIL or HIL platform, and the custom library feature lets you develop test cases that are reusable.

What’s really nice about the graphical environment of AutomationDesk is that you can change the parameters of your evaluation process and see those changes instantly. Stimulation signals are defined, mapped, and captured to evaluate tolerances and parameters. Reports are generated automatically, showing you where exactly errors occur and providing an overall view of the data evaluation.

While AutomationDesk is one of our most popular software applications, users usually require training to get up to speed on using the tool. With the new TAF, the training period is greatly reduced. 

New User Interface

One of the key ways that the TAF enables quicker adaptation is through the introduction of a new tabular interface. Instead of having to adapt to using the graphical blocks of AutomationDesk, you can use the new user interface the TAF provides for building tests in a tabular format. This format is fairly simple to use and gives users a quick and easy way to start writing basic tests.

Bottom line: You don’t have to be an AutomationDesk expert to start using the tool. Any new team member can start developing tests without prior knowledge of AutomationDesk. 


Better Test Management

Another great advantage the TAF delivers is superior test management. Because the framework is built in SYNECT, dSPACE’s data management and collaboration tool, users gain access to all the benefits SYNECT has to offer, including traceability, parameter management, version management, and variant handling.

When you look at the overall model-based development and test process, SYNECT helps you connect and manage requirements across the entire tool chain (including third-party tools). It delivers integrated version management between components and assists you in managing models, signals, tests, and test results throughout the entire development process.

To give you a better understanding of how AutomationDesk and SYNECT can work together, a typical workflow is shown in the illustration below. In this example, the test author reviews requirements and starts developing test cases. These test cases can be developed in SYNECT using the TAF. Once the test author develops the test cases, the test manager schedules a time at which to execute the tests, in this example, on a HIL platform. Once scheduled, the test engineer then executes the tests in AutomationDesk using a HIL system with SYNECT as the main interface. 

SYNECT and AutomationDesk: Test Automation Framework (TAF) Workflow

By utilizing the database features of SYNECT via the TAF, AutomationDesk users are given an easy way to manage test cases and collaborate efficiently with co-developers. Additionally, users can track changes over the life cycle of tests and benefit from parameter and variant management.

And one more thing: You can integrate existing application lifecycle management (ALM) tools to aid in the management of test steps via SYNECT (IBM RQM, DOORS Next Generation, Polarion, HP Quality Center, etc.). ALM tools are great for managing requirements, issues, configurations, and resources, but these tools are limited as they don’t support test automation. These limitations cause extra manual effort to achieve traceability. But with the TAF and SYNECT, this is no longer an issue. From ALM tools to test results, traceability is supported via test automation. 

In Conclusion

All-in-all, dSPACE’s new TAF introduces more test authoring capabilities to help you work more efficiently in carrying out core activities in AutomationDesk, including:

  1. Initialization (create Model Access Port (MAPort), load SDF file, register platform, etc.)
  2. Execution (run test steps – write, read, capture, etc.)
  3. Evaluation/Postprocessing (analyze captured data and generate a verdict)
  4. Clean-up (close MAPort, safe shutdown process, etc.)

Some immediate benefits that you gain from using the new TAF include:

  • Introduction to a sophisticated, tabular user interface for authoring test steps.
  • Increased flexibility to integrate custom-developed tests/actions.
  • Reusability of the same framework for multiple projects, resulting in less maintenance.
  • An optimal way to organize custom libraries and test cases.
  • A platform-independent framework that works with different HIL models for the same test cases.

You can take advantage of many more options by using the new TAF solution. The solution does require a SYNECT license, so if you don’t already have one, reach out to your Account Manager to learn more.

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