71: Brian Okken: Testing Embedded Systems & More with Python

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Python Testing Embedded Systems & More

Today we’ll be test talking with Brian Okken, author of Python Testing with UnitTest, Nose & Pytest, and host of the new Python Test Podcast. Get ready to discover some cool Python testing techniques, including how to use Python for embedded testing and more. 

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About Brian


Brian a lead software engineer who spends 70% of my time programming and about 30% of his time doing team lead stuff. 

He received my MSCS from the University of Oregon in 1996.
Since then he's been developing software in the Test and Measurement industry.

Brian's worked with lots and lots of EEs and learned a thing or two about measurement instruments, and many types of measurements. He's worked on oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, communication test systems, and test systems with 1 to 5 racks of instruments. And for more then 10 years, Brian's been on projects that have used Python to test the functionality of  instruments though their remote APIs.

Quotes & Insights from this Test Talk

  • I think the lesson we learned from test driven development is that test is really, really important, and it makes everything go easier if you figure that out first. If there's no QA team, there's nobody doing that, so I think developers have to be involved. 
  • Yeah, I love Python a lot more than C++ now. You can get so much done way faster. In our situation, I think it helps. The hard part is I need to convince C++ developers that they need to learn Python, but it's taking less convincing nowadays. 
  • Micro Python has come out, and it's supposedly super fast, so we may be changing soon. Not our company, but I think the industry as a whole may be having to reconsider that notion that C++ is a requirement for every fast interaction.
  • I think the internet of things, the raspberry pie and the other small boards to let people tinker with stuff has actually exploded the use of Python for hardware. 
  • If you're not already using setup and tear down fixtures, and go ahead and use those. Don't be afraid of classes within testing.
  • I'm from Oregon, and we … I don't know if it's just us, but we think about things a little differently. There was a t-shirt that I saw in college that said, “Conventional wisdom is seldom both.” I actually think like that a lot now, and so there's … When you get to the point where somebody says, “Oh yeah, we always do that because it's just the right way,” I think it's important for everybody to at least shine some light on it and make sure they understand why it's the right thing to do before they just go off and follow what the conventional wisdom is.

[tweet_box design=”box_1″]The beauty of testing is that it gives you the freedom to refactor without fear @brianokken[/tweet_box]


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