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Using Eggplant to streamline the R&D process

By Jaspar Casey

Jaspar Casey

Jaspar Casey - 10 August 2021

Last June, Keysight Technologies announced the acquisition of Eggplant. Eggplant doesn't only expand Keysight's portfolio breadth and add value to its customers; it is adding value inside Keysight’s walls, too.​

Keysight's PathWave, an open, scalable, and predictive software platform, offers fast and efficient data processing, sharing and analysis at every stage in the product development workflow. PathWave Design is Keysight’s suite of industry-leading electronic design automation tools and one of many high-value applications that is tested with Eggplant.

To learn how Eggplant is being used to automate quality assurance (QA) for PathWave Design tools, we spoke with PathWave Software Solutions (PSS) R&D Operating Manager Mohit Khanna.

How long have you been at Keysight? In what capacities? What is your current area of responsibility in PathWave Software Solutions?

I have been with Keysight for 15 years. During the first five years, I was an individual contributor responsible for QA of electromagnetic solvers. Over the last ten years, I have been managing software QA operations for PSS. Currently, I am responsible for managing software QA and automation projects for PSS product lines.

What was your motivation to adopt Eggplant software in your role and function in PSS? 

In the past, our software QA had many manual steps because PSS products have an extensive graphical user interface (GUI). We did not have an existing automation capability for GUI testing. Three years back, PSS adopted an Agile model for software development. To be successful in Agile, we need robust and extensive automation test capabilities and must solve the GUI automation problem.

We had explored various off-the-shelf tools for several years, which promised to help us automate GUI testing, but could not find any that fulfilled our PSS requirements. During the exploration process, we came across Eggplant in November of 2019 — long before Keysight acquired the company. It looked very promising from the beginning, and we started a proof-of-concept level project with encouraging results. The Keysight acquisition of Eggplant further motivated us to accelerate the pace of Eggplant adoption for GUI automation.

What technology and business problems are you solving for PSS using Eggplant software?

Through Eggplant, we are building a GUI automation infrastructure that enables true Agile operation and faster software releases. Today, we have created GUI automation for PathWave System Design (SystemVue) and PathWave Advanced Design System (ADS). We will soon be integrating the Eggplant automation infrastructure with the continuous integration/delivery (CI/CD) pipeline.

Why did you select it over competitive alternatives?

We evaluated several tools during our due diligence. We faced several issues with them such as, lack of support for both Windows and Linux, heavy dependency on image, heavy maintenance, lack of integration with other technologies, etc. Eggplant solves these problems. It's very easy to use, leverages artificial intelligence to provide broader test coverage, and the software employs the same infrastructure for both Windows and Linux. Eggplant also includes integration capability with other technologies, which is very important for integration with the CI/CD pipeline.

What are the top 3 benefits Eggplant has brought to PSS and its customers? 

  1. PSS Software is GUI intensive and needs an automation framework that can intelligently test various layers and options of the GUI. Eggplant meets this requirement very well. Using Eggplant's DAI Model implementation of PSS projects, we have used features of Eggplant such as Coverage Reports and Bug Hunting. The Tagging mechanism helps us provide an intelligent solution towards targeting related functionalities inside PSS projects. This functionality also increases the probability of finding the failure along the tagged paths in Eggplant DAI, and hence giving coverage on the impacted paths a priority.
  2. The SystemVue software walkthroughs and tutorials are important elements of customer engagement, and we must make sure that they work properly with each new release. Hence, we included them in our test suites. Walkthroughs and tutorials cover commonly used GUI options of the software. So far, these have been tested manually during a product life cycle (PLC). Recently, we have developed an Eggplant automation infrastructure to test walkthroughs and tutorials. This process is part of our regression testing and helps us save 50 hours of manual testing effort during a PLC.
    EggplantInterview1.1
  3. Using Eggplant, we also automated testing of the most used GUI options/functions of ADS. In the past, we tested these functions manually every day to make sure the most common functions of ADS were not broken. Now with Eggplant software, we save ten hours of manual testing every week, providing a good outcome when we release ADS installers to customers after the end of each sprint.
    EggplantInterview1.2

Given your experience with the software, what other Keysight groups could benefit from adopting Eggplant?​​

I encourage Keysight developers and testers facing similar GUI automation challenges to try Eggplant. Recently, we formed an Eggplant user community within Keysight to help our colleagues get to know Eggplant.

In addition, the user community is organizing tech talks every month on using Eggplant on various projects within Keysight, and we’ve now got an active Slack community to share learnings.

What advice would you offer other groups in adopting Eggplant at Keysight?

Eggplant brings tremendous technological possibilities. Anybody interested should learn and understand the opportunities. I would also encourage those interested in using Eggplant to pursue certification to give your learning a more meaningful outcome. Once your education is complete, perform a small proof-of-concept for your application. Based on the findings, you can start expanding your use of Eggplant in your application.

If you’re interested in seeing Eggplant in action, request a free trial today.