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Find the right embedded software test tools for the job

Embedded software is ubiquitous, but the solutions for testing it aren't as easy to come by. Expert Amy Reichert outlines the top tool choices for the task at hand.

Embedded software is everywhere. It used to be primarily hidden from the end users, but now, it's in nearly every electronic device on the market. You can see it, interact with it and use it. Everyone's connected via embedded software, and it has to function consistently. That creates pressure for organizations to keep everything running, test it all and continue to improve it. That's where embedded software test tools come in.

Development and embedded software test tools assist in providing a view of the myriad of connections and connection types built into embedded systems. Catching functional and integration defects is critical during the development lifecycle and well before mission- and life-critical systems are deployed and active.

Previously, I looked at a group of five embedded software test tools, and these remain active in the test space -- Klocwork, Parasoft, Vector, eggPlant and Tessy. In this article, we'll look at Elvior's TestCast, QuEST Global, QA Systems' Cantata, Reactive Systems' Reactis and Abaco Systems' Axis.

Embedded software test tools help make the challenge of testing these systems easier. Although many embedded testing efforts are locked in unit tests or created by developers, there are tools available for the nonprogrammer that help ensure the communication chain remains intact and functional.

Here are five embedded software test tools to consider.

Elvior's TestCast

Elvior produces TestCast in a variety of flavors to cover multiple needs. Elvior is in the business of software development and test automation. It also provides testing services and a suite of testing tools. Elvior specializes in automated test development for embedded and distribution software systems. Elvior claims it understands both tester and developer needs and keeps these considerations alive in its tools.

QuEST Global

QuEST Global offers its expertise across the software development spectrum, beginning with analysis, design, requirements engineering, integration, implementation and verification testing, as well as post product services. QuEST explains that its expertise in embedded software test tools and hardware development comes with a proven track record for multiple organizations around the globe. QuEST ranks number three in Zinnov ratings for embedded systems.

When it comes to embedded software test tools, QuEST supports multiple domains and technologies. The QuEST offering targets short product lifecycles, rapid proliferation of smart devices, product cost and quality, regulatory compliance and resource constraints.

QA Systems' Cantata

Cantata is a unit and integration testing tool produced by QA Systems. Cantata is designed to allow developers to verify standards compliance and business-critical code paths. It supports native and embedded software platforms.

Cantata claims to accelerate compliance testing by automating:

  • test framework generation;
  • test case generation;
  • test execution;
  • test result diagnostics; and
  • test result reports.

Cantata integrates with a wide variety of embedded compilers, as well as development management tools.

Reactive Systems' Reactis

The Reactis embedded software test tools claim to provide testing and validation to improve quality while reducing costs. Reactis has been around a decade and uses a model-based design, which is something that has recaptured the interest of some testers thanks to the move to shift left testing.

The model-based design covers embedded software with visual models of the embedded systems and connection points. Models provide critical information to drive efficient and effective development design and testing.

Reactis claims its tool set allows engineers to:

  • generate tests from a model that thoroughly exercises the model for structural testing;
  • find runtime errors within the model;
  • execute the model and track coverage;
  • execute functional testing for requirements verification; and
  • make the model serve as the design documentation for reference.

Abaco Systems' Axis

More than just a suite of embedded software test tools, Abaco Systems has a development platform that stretches from design to deployment and is focused on speed of delivery. Axis offers an extensive tool suite to accelerate embedded software development by maximizing performance.

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