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Monthly Archives: August 2014

LogiGear Magazine – August 2014 – Testing Embedded Systems and the Internet of Things

LogiGear Magazine – August 2014 – Testing Embedded Systems and the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things: Software Testing’s New Frontier – Part 1

Picture4What you need to know for testing in the new paradigm

By Michael Hackett

This two part article analyzes the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) product development on traditional testing.

Part one of this series starts with a wide view on the IoT, embedded systems and device development aspects of testing. Part two, to be published in the September issue, will focus on mobile: connectivity, data, security, performance and remote control—commonly from a smart phone.

Embedded systems have been around a long time, and consumers have had internet connectivity for over to two decades, however the explosive growth of internet enabled devices is just in its infancy. Ubiquitous computing is happening now on a large scale.

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Why you Need a Software Specific Test Plan

Picture1Experience-based recommendations to test the brains that drive the devices

By Philip Koopman

In essentially every embedded system there is some sort of product testing. Typically there is a list of product-level requirements (what the product does), and a set of tests designed to make sure the product works correctly. For many products there is also a set of tests dealing with fault conditions (e.g., making sure that an overloaded power supply will correctly shed load). And many companies think this is enough, but I’ve found that such tests usually fall short in many cases.

The problem is that there are features built into the software that are difficult or near-impossible to test in traditional product-level testing. Take the watchdog timer for example. I have heard in more than one case where a product shipped (at least one version of a product) with the watchdog timer accidentally turned off. Just in case you’re not familiar with the term, a watchdog timer is an electronic timerthat is used to detect and recover from computer malfunctions. During normal operation, the computer regularly restarts the watchdog timer to prevent it from elapsing, or “timing out”. (Wikipedia)

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Interview with Michael Hackett: The IoT Landscape

Picture1Quick start understanding of the Internet of Things from a development team perspective

By Joe Luthy, LogiGear Corporation

When I hear the word internet I tend to think about information, interaction and communication as it relates to people using and controlling all sorts of devices, but it’s much more dynamic than that. More and more, devices, computers and even interconnected computer systems are interacting and communicating with each other to assist us humans, and in a lot of cases, control our activity. The Internet of Things (IoT) is drastically changing the traditional view of the internet.

For this article I sat down with Michael Hackett to pick his brain about the IoT. Since his early experience testing embedded devices, Michael has been actively looking at the space and help- ing companies create and develop ways to test the systems that are becoming too critical to fail.

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Proven Practices for Testing Embedded Software

Build the right test platform including infrastructure, virtual lab and process.

By Andrey Pronin, Auriga

Testing embedded software is both similar and dissimilar to application software testing. The first eye-catching thing is that embedded software is significantly less visible to the end user. User interfaces are limited; there may be a console-based text menu, a simple command line interface, a set of digital inputs of outputs, or something similar, but rarely do we get more than that. On the other hand the inter-component interfaces can be very rich and complex—including APIs to the higher-level software, implementations of various communication, data exchange, control, and other standards, etc. Thus the main focus of embedded software testing is not on testing the user interfaces, but on testing the components not visible to the end users.

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Testing Strategy for the IOT

Experience report: A guide through the challenges and risks of testing the IoT

By Jon Hagar

Embedded software has been around for years, going back to the dawn of computers. Traditionally we tested these devices in isolation and did not worry about user interfaces (if there was one) or things such as internet connectivity. The connectivity of devices started not long after the internet’s arrival. However, in recent years the so called “internet of things” (IOT) has become of more importance and certainly more newsworthy as its use is growing rapidly.

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Letter from the Editor – August 2014

Michael HackettTesting Embedded systems and testing the Internet of Things could each have their own issue of LogiGear magazine. But these days they are referred to presupposing knowledge of the other, so we thought it would be a good idea to tackle the two together in this issue to give a broad understanding of the landscape as well as help you get started testing smarter and become more informed.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is getting more and more press and attention every day. There is nothing new about the idea, everyone knew it was “the future.” But that future is here.  Efficient wireless protocols, sensors to sense everything, and cheaper processors are making the future now. The number of things with embedded systems is already staggering, and it’s estimated  there will be tens of billions of embedded system devices connected by 2020.

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Team Based Testing

Team collaboration is essential for testing embedded systems.

By Arnout Vandecappelle, Essensium/Mind

Developing software for an embedded system often carries more risk than for general purpose computers, so testing is extremely critical. However, there still has to be a good balance between time spent on testing and time spent on development to keep the project on track. As consultants for embedded open source technologies, we at Mind encounter many different approaches to testing with our customers. This article structures these varied experiences and combines best practices and techniques , with a focus on embedded open source software.

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Embedded Systems Glossary

Closed System – In the context of embedded systems this relates closely to the engineering context where every input and every response (or output) can be known and can include a specific time. In addition the software is purposely designed for restricted access.

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In The News – August 2014

Agile Testers Must Develop New Mindset: Janet Gregory Testers have a vital role to play in the agile world, but in order to do so, they need to develop a distinct mindset. Speaking at a workshop hosted by IndigoCube, Janet Gregory, a leading international expert in agile testing, outlined the characteristics of an agile tester. “The agile tester no longer sees herself as someone whose main purpose is to identify bugs or ensure that specific requirements are met. Agile testers are thinkers and take a much broader view, asking: ‘What can I do to help deliver the software successfully?’ says Gregory. “The ideal agile tester is analytical, curious, observant and critical–combines a wide cross-functional knowledge with deep skills in the discipline of testing.”

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