The Software Bundle for Test Engineers
April 24, 2023
When you think of NI, you might think about LabVIEW, its flagship software, a graphical programming tool that engineers have used for the past 30 years to develop automated research, validation, and production test systems. And you wouldn’t be wrong in your thinking.
We recently detailed the highlights of LabVIEW in an earlier blog (see Drag and Drop Your Way Through System Design, Measurement, and Analysis) and highlighted a key feature that’s really shining these days (see Python User? LabVIEW’s Got You Covered). Today, NI’s test software is industry-standard and looking to bring more software to help more engineers.
“LabVIEW has been at our core for the past thirty years,” says Leen Adnan, a Solutions Marketer at NI. “Over time, we’ve added other software to our portfolio, like TestStand and FlexLogger. Engineers have turned to LabVIEW to solve every problem, and that can be done as it’s a powerful programming environment. But we realized that not everyone wants to program, or needs to spend all their time developing so these other tools help customers achieve their goals faster.”
The Complete Bundle
NI began to look more holistically at the needs of a test engineer. Time is limited. Engineers are spending valuable time building what they need or using tools that are inefficient. That's where Test Workflow comes into play.
Test Workflow is a bundle of software, packaged (and priced) in a way that is most appropriate for the engineer. This is the most economical way for an engineer to get the tools they need.
Let’s start at the beginning. You’re looking to take a measurement to validate a device’s performance or functionality. You could build the application in the programming language of your choice C, Python, .NET, or LabVIEW. This might take some time. In Test Workflow you can accomplish this task much faster in FlexLogger. It is a no-code data acquisition test tool for sensor measurement and data logging with NI Hardware. You could handle the task in LabVIEW or some other tool but doing it in FlexLogger is going to be quicker and simpler. And you have LabVIEW for when your task expands and needs to do something more complex like communicate with multiple devices, infrastructure, and more.
You might also have a test that is long-running or in a location that’s difficult to access. It would be a situation that’s really tough to accomplish through building a web application or you would just need to live without it and waste time. G Web Development Software helps engineers create web-based user interfaces for test and measurement applications without the need for traditional web development skills. And it’s part of the Test Workflow bundle.
Then, you might need to do some data analysis, visualization, or create reports to share with your team. Many engineers rely on Excel as it’s already available. But, creating calculations and entering formulas is a bit cumbersome and error-prone, and editing graphs takes some time. DIAdem does all of that. It can automate the entire process and is better equipped for engineering data. DIAdem can check your calculations by tracking units, automatically create charts and graphs, and more, all in one place. Again, this can be done in another tool or built in LabVIEW or another programming language, but DIAdem streamlines the experience, making it significantly easier.
At the end of the day, Test Workflow is a bundle of test and measurement software that’s meant to help the engineer do everything from the simplest tasks of acquiring data, all the way to the more complex automation testing process on a manufacturing floor. It's a bundle of software that you can use and is ready to scale with you depending on the needs of your team/organization.
“When you choose the right tool for the right job, it helps with your productivity,” Adnan states. “It stops you from having to choose a tool that you could work with, but isn't necessarily the best tool for that particular job. And it comes in at a great price point.”
Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts
There are two versions of Test Workflow, Standard and Pro. The Standard version contains LabVIEW, FlexLogger, G Web Development Software, and DIAdem. The Pro version costs a little more, but offers more advanced forms of each of those same tools, and adds TestStand, which is test executive software that helps you build and deploy test sequences for validation and production testing.
Test Workflow is a bundle of test and measurement software that you need for your day-to-day testing requirements as well as your most difficult testing challenges. It pays for itself. Check it out.