Test-Driven Automation - Adopting Test-First Development to Improve Automation Systems Engineering Processes

D. Winkler, S. Biffl, T.Östreicher:
"Test-Driven Automation - Adopting Test-First Development to Improve Automation Systems Engineering Processes";
Vortrag: 16th EuroSPI Conference, Alcala de Henares, Madrid, Spain; 02.09.2009 - 04.09.2009; in:"Proceedings of the 16th EuroSPI Conference", (2009), S. 1 - 13.

[ Publication Database ]


Software provides an increasing part of the added value of modern automation systems and
thus becomes more complex. System requirements may change even late in the development
process, lead to ad-hoc modifications of the product and require systematic (and automated)
testing approaches. However, unit tests for automation software have to consider the interaction
with hardware components, are often not systematically automated, and thus make defects
during integration testing harder to find. Costly software integration makes the introduction
of more flexible software processes that support the late change of requirements more
risky. In this paper we introduce the concept of"Test-Driven Automation"(TDA), which adopts
the successful idea of test-first development from business software development to the
automation systems domain: develop test cases before the implementation and systematically
automate unit tests to ensure sufficient testing on unit level to lower the cost and risk of systems
integration. As foundation for TDA we present the characteristics of the design of a TDA
software component, i.e., interfaces to (a) automation functions, (b) diagnosis functions to allow
test observation, and (c) test functions for setting the component to defined states, e.g., to
test behavior in error situations. We demonstrate in an industrial sorting application prototype
how the TDA approach can make testing more efficient and provide diagnosis information for
process analysis and improvement.