Thursday, August 13, 2009

TestStudio vs TestStand

Teradyne has a software product called TestStudio that is a competitor with National Instruments TestStand. Since I've had my training class inTestStudio so I'm ready to review it. I waited for the training so I would have a better understanding.

I've noted before that the installation was difficult, each individual piece had to be installed separately so it kept me busy. I also had to install an older version of NI-VISA so that TestStudio would install and then re-install the latest.

The training was not very good. It was developed to be used with hardware available, which we don't have yet. This casued the instructor to skip several of the exercises and parts of exercises. A lot of the training material was vague in what you were suppose to do and there were quite a few error's in the material.

The product seemed very immature considering it's been around since at least 2001, possibly longer. During the training TestStudio kept poping up errors. One person had to change computers due to the unknown TestStudio problems. My TestStudio crashed and corrupted my project to the point I had to start over from scratch.

TestStudio is browser-based, of which I am not a big fan. But that is more of a personal preference and was one of the smaller issues. Overall, TestStudio has a lot of small Quirks. Some panels use "OK" buttons to save data, some the "X" in the corner and a few you use the File >> Save. A utility called Express Services, which is big in TestStudio, has to be specified at project creation, however, if a project is created without the Express Services option and it is decided Express Services are needed, you have to start over with a new project. Like many IE based programs, dialogue boxes can get covered up. TestStudio can appear to be closed eventhough it's not really due to a hidden popup. Also, the file browser does not always keep the location of the last browse.

One of the biggest annoyances is that when you add a new node (Test Step) an "are you sure" type of window pops up...every time! No option to not do have it pop-up is available.

Also, when passing parameters to DLL's from nodes (test steps) it is passed as char *. You can't just pass integers, doubles, etc. This limits the direct re-use of DLLs.

TestStudio's big feature appears to be setting up switch matrices between instruments and the UUT. It seems to do well at this but, since we didn't have hardware, we haven't had a chance to check this out.

Bottom line is, TestStudio is a poor second rate competetor to NI's TestStand. It's been around for several years, at least since about 2000, but seems to operate as a buggy and immature product.

Next week, I'm going to review more of TestStudio features (?).

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