What Is NI TestStand?

Publish Date: May 05, 2012 | 50 Ratings | 2.42 out of 5 |  PDF

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Why Test Management Software?
  3. What NI TestStand Does
  4. Where Would I Use NI TestStand?
  5. How NI TestStand Works
  6. Conclusion

1. Overview

NI TestStand is a ready-to-run test management environment and framework designed to simplify the automation of your test and validation systems. NI TestStand is used to develop, manage and execute test sequences.


Figure 1. NI TestStand Sequence Development Environment and Operator Interface

These sequences integrate test modules written in any programming language. Sequences also specify execution flow, reporting, database logging and connectivity to other enterprise systems.

NI TestStand architecture is open and provides all the necessary interfaces to fully customize your operator interface as well your reporting, database logging, and management and execution environment. At the heart of NI TestStand is a high-speed, multithreaded execution engine which delivers the performance you need, to meet your most rigorous test requirements, 24/7 and 365 days a year.

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2. Why Test Management Software?

New concerns are forcing test to take a strategic approach to test system development.

It all begins with a four-layer software architecture consisting of hardware drivers, a hardware abstraction layer, test modules, and test management software. This layered architecture is critical in meeting today’s test concerns.


Figure 2. Four-Layer Architecture for Test Systems

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3. What NI TestStand Does


As a test management environment and framework, NI TestStand performs several key functions. At a basic level, it provides management features and a workspace for all of your test software. At a more functional level, it integrates and sequences your test code allowing for looping and complex decision making. NI TestStand separates common test executive tasks, such as reporting, from test specific tasks, such as performing a measurement.

NI TestStand provides a common unified environment and interface for all the different cases of automated testing. NI TestStand also integrates with enterprise systems, such as database management systems to incorporate easy database logging of test results.


Figure 3. NI TestStand High-Level Features

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4. Where Would I Use NI TestStand?


NI TestStand is designed to automate a sequence of steps. These steps can be individual tests, measurements, actions, or commands. With that in mind, any application needing automation of executable pieces of code can benefit from the use of NI TestStand. NI TestStand was designed to address four key areas: to simplify and accelerate complex sequence development; to increase code and test system reusability and maintenance; and to improve test system execution performance. This has led to adoption in consumer electronics for validation and manufacturing test, military and aerospace applications as well as IC characterization and simple code sequencing.


Figure 4. Where NI TestStand Fits into the Development and Manufacturing Cycle

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5. How NI TestStand Works


At the heart of NI TestStand is an ActiveX-based execution engine. The NI TestStand Engine is a set of DLLs that export an ActiveX API. The Sequence Editor and the Operator Interfaces use the API to access the NI TestStand Engine. In addition, there are three important file types that are used to define the characteristics of the development, run-time and execution environments.


Figure 5. Clients of the NI TestStand Engine

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6. Conclusion


NI TestStand offers a flexible and powerful framework for developing, managing, and executing test systems. The components of NI TestStand are designed to work together and to integrate the features of enterprise systems and software seamlessly.

As test management software, NI TestStand provides for easy integration of independent test modules into a testing framework. With this easy integration, the developer can focus on developing the tests to be performed.

NI TestStand is an integral part of any test where accelerated development, code reusability, improved performance, and automation is desired. All built on the power of the NI TestStand Engine and its API, NI TestStand offers a ready-to-run, yet fully customizable environment for developing and managing test systems.

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