Monday, October 1, 2007

ATML (Automatic Test Markup Language)

Back a few weeks ago I came across a standard called Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML). I did some research, got to the official ATML website, and found out that it is currently under discussion by an IEEE working group. Basically, it is a formalized way of communicating information about tests between hardware, software, databases, and across the internet. It is based on XML and includes schema for test results, diagnostics, test description, instruments, etc.

I like what I've read about it so far, and I've already introduced it to the other people in my group. The plan will be to implement it in work going forward. We currently use a mixture of home-grown XML and a small amount of plain text files. Moving to ATML is a logical progression.

The thing that bothers me is why didn't I hear about this before? It has been in the works since at least 2005, there was an article about it in Evaluation Engineering, and even National Instruments wrote about it to promote their Test Stand software. Perhaps I was so buried in the details of my current company over the past two years that I never lifted my head to see what else was happening.

That is something that engineers, especially test engineers, need to do. New testing tools keep coming out, better versions of existing instruments, new ways to test - we need to stay abreast of these things.


Arjan Kranenburg said...

At least you found out in 2007, I'm here already in 2010.

I wondered if you ever did something with ATML. It seems mainly applicable for software in combination with Hardware and especially applicable for military and flying equipment. Have you used in different contexts?

Since I'm in the process of defining something similar but more general applicable (See, I'm also interested in the Home grown XML files. What structure did you use in those? Are you able/willing to share some of those?
If you would use the structures that are currently defined, what fields would you miss?

Thanks in advance!

Greg said...

At a previous company we started saving some data files in XML format. This was back about three years ago. One of the other engineers in the group wrote some subVIs to parse out the XML details. He put a lot of effort into & was proud of the results. Then he found out JKISoftware published their EasyXML tool. Then NI came along and did something similar...

I've never dived into ATML myself. It looks like a very formalized system - most of the companies I've worked with are startups and aren't to that stage.

Jennifer said...

Hi. Are you guys still interested in using ATML? I was involved in the ATML working group and am looking for users.

Greg said...

No, it hasn't come up. I'm at a startup company right now - I'm the only one doing test programming at the moment.

Jose said...

NI has come with ATML toolkit for its software TestStand. There is a well written wiki in NI website. I have helped couple of people with using this ATML toolkit myself.

Let me know if someone needs any assistance.

blanchard kenfack said...

Have someone used ATML to create Test programs for Fleax or Eagle ATE ?

Greg said...

It wouldn't surprise me if someone has at least done it for Eagle. They belong to Teradyne now, which is pretty big in military testing.