National Instruments have announced the NI LabVIEW unit test framework and LabVIEW desktop execution trace toolkits, which are new software engineering tools for the LabVIEW graphical development environment. This coincides with the release of NI Requirements Gateway 1.1 requirements management software. When developing large-scale or complex applications with LabVIEW software, engineers can use these toolkits to validate systems, improve software quality and test code against requirements.
Software debugging and testing is an expensive and time-consuming task for developers. As the complexity and sophistication of software increase, developers need regimented and automated procedures to ensure thorough testing and help with code validation. The NI LabVIEW unit test framework and LabVIEW desktop execution trace toolkits are designed to automate and improve common software engineering tasks.
With the NI LabVIEW unit test framework toolkit, engineers can automate requirements-based testing and the validation of VIs developed in LabVIEW. Automating this process reduces the amount of time developers spend performing tests and enables more exhaustive testing.
Engineers can specify test cases that define inputs and compare the results after execution with expected output to perform functional and regression testing of software. The included reporting functionality can automatically generate validation documents in HTML, ATML/XML or ASCII formats, which are valuable for documenting that the application works correctly. The NI LabVIEW unit test framework toolkit also integrates with NI Requirements Gateway to help engineers manage requirements documents for software testing, track the amount of coverage and understand the impact of changes.
The LabVIEW desktop execution trace toolkit is a code analyser that engineers can use during run time to detect and locate problems in code that could impact performance or cause unexpected behaviour. It shows a chronological view of events, queue operations, reference leaks, memory allocation, unhandled errors and subVI execution. Highlighting individual events gives engineers additional information such as the call chain, thread ID and CPU number to help them debug and optimise their LabVIEW code. Engineers can also double-click many events to highlight the corresponding object on the block diagram.
Engineers can use other LabVIEW toolkits to enhance software testing. The LabVIEW VI analyser toolkit performs static analysis of VIs to improve code style and readability or increase performance and usability. The NI Real-Time execution trace toolkit helps engineers gather low-level information about the execution of LabVIEW code on a real-time target.
With NI Requirements Gateway 1.1, engineers can improve the quality and efficiency of their new test system and product designs by conducting requirements traceability from documentation to implementation in National Instruments software. With the new version, engineers can map requirements to objects on LabVIEW block diagrams as well as the contents of LabVIEW Project files.
With software engineering tools, developers can mitigate the risk of bugs and ensure quality and reliable applications. LabVIEW users can take advantage of code analysers and unit test frameworks to demonstrate the quality of graphical code and automate practices such as regression testing and validation against requirements.