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The key advantage of TestPad is that you no longer need instrument drivers! You simply teach TestPad how to generate a sending message using provided input parameters and how to parse the device response back into a usable data format. The process of interactively defining rules for generating/parsing messages (device operations) requires no programming and in many cases no other definitions other then simply typing a sending message and selecting/marking only the data you need from the device response. As a result of interactively defining the device operations, TestPad dynamically generates(compiles) an actual "device driver" implemented as a COM server DLL with the defined interface, which we call a device adapter. This means that an actual device programming model (properties and methods) will be available to you within an application or a test script, such as "voltage = Multimeter.Power" or "UUT.BusMode('current', 20.4)", where Power property and BusMode method are interactively defined operations.
This built-in TestPad functionality provides the basis for an abstraction-to-implementation development model in Test & Measurement, when you define an instrument programming model according to your Test Plan requirements, rather than the instrument capabilities. This approach gives the highest possible Instrument Interchangeability model in automated testing. For example, if your Test Plan requires to measure a UUT signal power you define a Powermeter device with a Power property, so you can write your test script (such as "voltage = Powermeter.Power") irrespective of particular interfaces, instruments and measurement conversions, and when you decide which instrument to use you simply interactively define it's parsing rules according to required Power property and configure it's interface attributes (such as RS-232: COM1, Baud Rate 38400). In this case it may be a multimeter, oscilloscope or any other instrument that is able to measure power. This interchangeability model is much simpler for development process and is more flexible than using VXI plug&play or IVI drivers, where you have to use the driver's API in the test code and can interchange instruments only across similar instrument models or types.
You also get a single API (Device Object Model) to work with different instruments and UUTs, since in most cases these Measurement and Automation hardware units have message-based communication over GPIB, RS-232, TCP/IP or USB instrumentation interfaces. So, TestPad lets you use the same development process to control not only test instruments, but also your Unit Under Test.
In addition, TestPad implements such functionality as saving test results into the database or spreadsheet file for further processing, supporting I/O communication protocols such as Telnet over TCP/IP, instrument simulation capabilities, test data validation, two-dimensional Graph control, tracing & logging.
To download Multimedia TestPad Product Demonstration right click here (Save Target As ...). This demo is best viewed with Windows Media Player (full screen mode, resolution 1024x768). TestPad Development Studio v1.00 is also available for free download.