This is the second blog post in the mini-series about NIWeek 2019. While the first blog post was about new features in LabVIEW, the second one is about new features in TestStand. Here, I will summarize the most important news from TestStand 2019 in terms of completing test systems in a faster way.
An Overview of New Features in TestStand 2019
What new features in TestStand 2019 are important to know in terms of completing test systems in a faster and safer way? Below, I have made a list of new features, which I will elaborate on subsequently:
- Quick Drop Support
- PDF Report Generation
- Data Streams: A new way to read data to and from the sequence
- Sweep Loops: A new way to combine parameters
- Building 32-bit packages for NI Package Manager (NIPM)
- Python Adapter with support for Python 2.7 and 3.6+
Quick Drop Support
In TestStand 2019, it has become faster to develop test sequences by using the new Quick Drop feature which is a well-known feature in LabVIEW. You can insert Action Steps, Tests, or Variables via Quick Drop. This is a huge step in the right direction regarding development speed in TestStand.
PDF Report Generation
A long-awaited feature is furthermore that it is now possible to generate a PDF report in TestStand, which makes it easier to share results without difficult dependencies. You should, however, be aware that the PDF report is generated in the end, and you cannot generate a report along the way with "On-The-Fly" Report Generation.
By means of the new Stream-loop Step Type in TestStand 2019, there are better opportunities for streaming data to or from a file. The input is element-based, which means that you can define the steps to be executed for the certain element. This allows you to create several test profiles in external files and load them into the sequence for parameterizing its equipment. As a result, you will get a more modular and flexible test system, as the logic for setting the system only needs to be written once, while the test profiles can be added as needed.
The new Sweep Loop Control is an enhancement of the ForEach loop from TestStand 2017. In this Loop Type, you can set the limits for different test parameters and select the strategy for changing the parameters. Let us say, you have four parameters with four known values, it becomes 256 different permutations. TestStand can be set to run through the various permutations of parameters, and it can store the active permutation in a file. In this way, you can get more test coverage on your test unit, without writing a lot of loops for handling the permutations. As a result, it is easier to reproduce an error due to an unfortunate parameter configuration within the allowed limits.
Based on the new Python Code Adapter, TestStand has now full support for Python. This means for instance that you can use Python to develop your test sequence. The improvement of using Python in TestStand is that National Instruments has integrated parallel execution of Python code. This feature solves one of the major challenges in Python regarding the parallel code execution that has been problematic so far.
With the new code adapter, you will have countless ways for connecting to external systems on the web or to databases that are not supported by TestStand naturally. If the system has an API for Python, you can connect to this system from your test station. Hence, the requirements are also lowered in order to extract data from test stations in a production line.
A Brief Summary
The message of the post is therefore: Use the new features in TestStand 2019 and you will complete test systems in a faster and safer way in terms of testing systems, products, components, or prototypes!