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Why OpenTAP for Test Automation?

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Photo by Chris Briggs on Unsplash.

Brennen DiRenzo, OpenTAP Product Manager @ Keysight Technologies

Why did Keysight choose OpenTAP?

Like many open source projects, OpenTAP originated as code for internal use at Keysight, growing out of diverse instrumentation projects at Keysight.  Like other organizations (including Keysight customers), Keysight was employing and deploying a range of legacy test automation code, facing challenges from fragmentation and missing out on economies of scale for maintenance and innovation.  With a goal of being able to leverage a single scalable, simple and speedy platform across the company, Keysight created TAP (Test Automation Platform). 

TAP excelled as Inner Source within the company, powered hundreds of commercially-distributed instruments and test platforms and was also available as very successful commercial software.

The story goes that “OpenTAP was born on a rainy afternoon in the city of Alborg, Denmark.”  The Keysight development team there, veterans in both test automation and open source, combined their belief in the power of Keysight’s Test Automation Platform (TAP) with their experience in building on the power of open source software.  Their vision was that what TAP did within Keysight, open source OpenTAP could do for the test and measurement industry outside the company.

And Keysight has never looked back.

Why should your company choose OpenTAP?

Keysight customers, partners and members of the test and measurement ecosystem – anyone who needs a modern, mature and reusable test automation platform – should evaluate OpenTAP.

  • Easy-to-Use multiple test-step editing tools and re-usable sample tests get your project off the ground PDQ

  • Standards-based – operates with thousands of COTS instruments and interfaces, including hundreds of SCPI-based equipment from Keysight and other vendors

  • Modular architecture – easily expandable and customizable using plugins to support custom DUTs, program test steps, interface to both new and legacy instruments, implementing/connecting to test results listeners, and more.

  • Open Source - unlike proprietary test automation products, OpenTAP lets you determine how and where to deploy and integrate it into your test operations. You can customize it (using plugins) without the need to create and maintain a complex one-off software base.  Use in on one test bench or across hundreds of test beds across your organization without licensing restrictions or incremental fees.

  • OEM-friendly licensing – Mozilla Public License v2 lets your company use, modify and deploy OpenTAP-based systems while retaining control of proprietary testing IP.

  • Worldwide ecosystem – you’ll be in good company, together with test labs, device manufacturers, universities and other OpenTAP ecosystem members around the world.

  • High-quality code – you can deploy OpenTAP with confidence; the platform is built and curated by veteran Keysight engineers with oversight, field testing and contributions by a global user community.

“OpenTAP was born on a rainy afternoon in Alborg, Denmark. The team there combined their belief in the power of Keysight’s Test Automation Platform (TAP) with their experience in building on open source software. 

And Keysight has never looked back.”

Is migration to OpenTAP worth the effort?

Still not convinced?  Are you going to stretch your ad hoc test code to cover one more project? Are you facing skepticism from your management about leaving familiar legacy and heading into testing terra incognita?

Consider the downside of your legacy test software.

Legacy Vendor Lock-in

Is your organization locked into a vendor-specific test automation solution?   OpenTAP lets you break away from a limited set of instruments and software tools, while still providing a straightforward means (plugins) to support legacy instruments, tools, file formats and other artifacts.  In fact, many OpenTAP implementations start by wrapping test code originally crafted for other platforms as a way to integrate previously disconnected tools.

Limitations of in-house test code

Alternately, your company may find itself using one or more test sequencers developed and maintained in-house.  Building test software from scratch may have seemed like a good idea when you started out, but maintaining this kind of software becomes increasingly resource-intensive over time:

  • The original authors probably didn’t invest a lot of effort in documentation

  • Different groups in your firm use very different versions of the current sequencer

  • The legacy test code probably only supports a handful of test instruments

  • The code can be buggy and full of patches, making it hard to understand and precarious to modify

  • Test steps are hard-coded and difficult to extend or customize

  • New features and functionality are not prioritized or the backlog is too large

Check out OpenTAP

If any of these scenarios sounds familiar, you and your organization will likely benefit from OpenTAP.  It’s open source software – you can download, evaluate, integrate, modify and deploy the platform and tools with no obligation*. 

Try it today.

Visit the OpenTAP Packages Repository today to learn more.


*Read the Mozilla Public License for details – compliance is a breeze