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ATML – The Standard for Interfacing Test System Components Using XML

Publish Date: Dec 08, 2015


For many years, the ATE industry has coveted a universal data exchange adapter for ATE, spurred by the need to share system and test result information with the rest of the enterprise. Many test organizations within the ATE industry have al developed or are considering developing their own proprietary XML-based data exchange standards to meet their specifi for sharing ATE and test information. However, this may no longer be necessary. A new XML-based standard for ATE an information data exchange, known as Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML), is emerging with widespread support a and measurement industry leaders and major government programs alike. Led by the Naval Air Systems Command and industry members, ATML is a cooperative effort to define a collection of XML schemas to represent test information, such programs, test asset interoperability, and unit under test (UUT) test data (including test results and diagnostics procedure the mil/aero community is currently driving the ATML specifications, other industries, including telecommunications, auto and consumer electronics, are likely to adopt and use these robust and flexible ATML schemas.

Table of Contents

1. Lack of Standardized Data Exchange Driving Up Costs.

2. Inside the Automatic Test Markup Language

3. TestResults Schema

4. TestDescription Schema

5. The ATML Reality

6. Perfecting a Standardized Data Exchange Interface

7. References

1. Lack of Standardized Data Exchange Driving Up Costs.

The lack of standardized ATE and test information data exchange among the enterprise, other organizations, their suppli OEMs contributes significantly to product development overhead costs. This is especially prevalent in the mil/aero indust typical units costing millions of dollars consist of hundreds of subsystems and involve dozens of mil/aero contractors and suppliers.

2. Inside the Automatic Test Markup Language

The ATML working group members have been holding quarterly meetings for more than two years to work toward establi IEEE standard that provides increased industry and mil/aero ATE system compatibility and modularity. The group is focu establishing a standard that provides and manages extensibility while supplying an exchange format that both humans a machines easily can interpret.

In addition, the ATML standard is designed to improve several areas of ATE and test system design by:

Implementing dynamic test sequences that adapt to historical datato improve several areas of ATE and test system design by: Supporting instruments and their interface

Supporting instruments and their interface setupsdynamic test sequences that adapt to historical data Capturing test information at various test stages To

Capturing test information at various test stagesdata Supporting instruments and their interface setups To facilitate data exchange among system interfaces,

To facilitate data exchange among system interfaces, stations, and manufacturers, and to ensure asset interoperability, t working group has defined several external interfaces on which to standardize, including test result reporting, diagnostics description, instrument description, test configuration, UUT data, and the test station. Drawing on these interfaces, the w group has defined eight ATML components built on a ninth common component for an XML data interface (Figure 1).

Figure 1: ATML component interfaces facilitate data exchange and ensure asset interoperability.

While not all of the schemas are final, it is beneficial to look closely at the overall ATML structure and one of the approve schemas. For a detailed list of the ATML schemas and their current statuses, visit http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/scc2

XML-Based ATML Structure

The ATML data exchange file is in ASCII text format with system-interface-specific tags, or elements, organizing the data ATML schema that defines the specific elements and their hierarchy within this data exchange file. Because the text doc file containing descriptive tags, it can operate on any platform, and a computer program can easily interpret and parse th based on the schema. For those same reasons, it is human-readable.

Because ATML uses the XML standard for describing ATE and test data, it takes advantage of recursion and extensibilit technical benefits that give test systems greater flexibility in defining interfaces. By supporting recursion, element definitio describing test properties or tests can nest to create a more managed data exchange format. In XML, test information ex adds data elements without disrupting current system operation. The ATML standard also includes general-purpose elem such as OtherData and Extension, that can store additional information not specifically outlined in the ATML schema. All ATML-compatible systems can handle these miscellaneous elements differently or not at all and still operate correctly. T ATML-based applications provide inherit extensibility to maintain compatibility among systems, while also maintaining fle

To gain further insight into an ATML component, here is a look at the ATML TestResults component, which describes ho results should be organized.

3. TestResults Schema

As ATML defines, a test is any procedure for evaluating or quantifying the operation of a device or system. The TestResu schema provides a standard format for exchanging and storing measured values, pass/fail results, and accompanying da (including test operator, station information, and environmental conditions).

TestResults Example

The following example demonstrates the TestResults reporting by using NI TestStand, ready-to-run test executive softwa http://www.ni.com/teststand/) for organizing, controlling, and executing automated test systems. There are three steps to reporting behind the scenes of an NI TestStand sequence execution. The first is the result collection by the NI TestStand into the NI TestStand ResultList container. The system tracks and stores all test properties, characteristics, and values in ResultList container. The second step generates a TestResults schema-based XML report using the data in the ResultLi container. The third step is the application of an ATML-compliant TestResults stylesheet that formats and displays TestR XML data in a user-friendly HTML format. To further illustrate the TestResults schema, the ATML TestResults report in F generated from an NI TestStand example test sequence shown on the same figure. This sequence is a simple computer motherboard test on ROM, RAM, video, and keyboard components, as well as the CPU and power subsystem.

Fig example of an NI TestStand ATML test report stylesheet displays TestResults XML data in


example of an NI TestStand ATML test report stylesheet displays TestResults XML data in a user-friendly HTML format.

Upon executing the example test sequence, NI TestStand automatically collects each test step result and generates an A TestResults-compliant test report that it stores as an *.xml file. Storing the test report in this format means other systems easily interpret the test result data and share information because the pertinent data is organized in a standard hierarchy known tags' defining elements.

4. TestDescription Schema

The ATML TestDescription schema seeks to describe the test conditions, limits and execution of a set of tests. By stand the way the execution of a set of tests is described ATML increases the interoperability of test sequences by allowing a t description to be run on different test systems.

TestDescription Example

One of the challenges of implementing the TestDescription schema as part of a test executive is converting a TestDescri into an executable sequence of tests. Custom built test executives are usually hard coded to read only one custom sequ format and will not support TestDescription without significant development.

In contrast, the NI TestStand ATML Toolkit (http://sine.ni.com/nips/cds/view/p/lang/en/nid/209821) can automatically gen skeleton TestStand sequence (as well as skeleton code modules in LabVIEW or LabWindows/CVI) from a TestDescriptio document. In addition, the ATML Toolkit offers a custom code generator framework to extend the code auto-generation w custom logic.

The example in Figure 3. shows a sample TestDescription ATML document that describes a computer motherboard test, as the auto-generated TestStand sequence that implements the test described by the document.

Figure 3: An example of a ATML TestDescription document, and the NI TestStand sequence that

Figure 3: An example of a ATML TestDescription document, and the NI TestStand sequence that was automatically gen the ATML Toolkit

5. The ATML Reality

Many industries have adopted XML as a data exchange format, which is evident by the number of software vendors and manufacturers who have incorporated XML features into their products and test systems. With the emerging promise of A a test and measurement industry XML standard, some leading vendors have already begun implementing ATML capabili their products and test solutions.

6. Perfecting a Standardized Data Exchange Interface

XML has proven to be an enduring technology for data exchange. The new XML-based ATML schemas in next-generatio automated test systems stand to impact the way test engineers approach defining and implementing test systems becau can use existing developments and systems without encountering interfacing challenges. Ultimately, a standardized appr data exchange interfacing means that test engineers now can refocus their time and energy on the main task at hand -- developing test systems. Request a FREE 7-day evaluation of the ATML Toolkit (https://lumen.ni.com/nicif/us/evaltlktatml/content.xhtml) to view th out-of-the-box support for ATML TestDescription translation and ATML TestResult reporting.

7. References

1. IEEE, "Automatic Test Markup Language," December 2004,

2. IEEE, "Draft Specification for Component Standard of Automatic Test Markup Language (ATML) for Exchanging Test