The method of measurement system software automatic validation using business rules management system

The measurement system software are dynamically developing branch of modern measurement field. Integrated development environments (IDE) for a visual languages are getting more and more popular beacuse of the easiness of creating software that allows to concentrate on user's need raher then implementation. Moreover, solutions such as National Instrument's LabVIEW or Agilent VEE offer many specific libraries for domain use and patterns for measurement system software development what increases speed of delivering product to end user. However, it does no matter how IDEs are supported and how many other tools are available to use, if the software quality is not the one of the most important issues of product development. In the case of measurement system software, there are always high expectations on qulity, performance and fault free.

There are plenty ways of ensure quality, e.g. the source code can be audited or spefic purpose software engineering tools can be used in order to verify code. Problems start when the language of the IDE is not the general purpose language (especially visual programming language) and use of many tools or approaches is limited or even impossible. Some tools can be adopted to specific domain language it takes time and there is no sureness that the quality of it will be satisfied. Another case is range of what can be analyzed and impact on software performace. Both can be unacceptable. Working with measurement system software requires using real electronic devices and mentioned impact can influence on measurement result.

One of the method to analyze what has happened during program execution is to log program variables, used loops, called programs and other technical data in order to check if they fullfil given requirements. Following paper presents concept of use dedicated business rules management system (BRMS) for validation measurement system software behavior after its execution. BRMS consists of two integrated applications: business rules engine (based on JBoss Drools runtime) and web application (which is PHP application on Apache server). Business rules engine collects stored logs and validate its content in accordance to written rules. It enables high reusability rules and high performance. Web application presents validation result to the user, allows to change its condition and revalidate the same log.

LabVIEW does not allow to create logs using standard functions so it was necessery to prepare programming library and adapt programming method for G language. The result is set of programs creating XML files (containing technical data mentioned above) after program execution. Additionally, the cannonical data model (CDM) has been developed and implemented both in programing library and BRMS. It enforces developer to use programming method which effect in standardised logs of virtual instruments.

To prove the method of measurement system software automatic validation corectness, several programs have been prepared. Moreover, sample sequences in TestStand have been implemented. BRMS supports process of their validation.

Author: Piotr Zawistowski
Conference: Title