We are Jimmy Trinh and Chip McNaughton, Computer Science students at the University of New Hampshire. We work at the University of New Hampshire - InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL) in the Ethernet Switching Protocols (ESP) Consortium. In ESP, vendors send devices to us to perform conformance and interoperability test evaluation. We deal with Layer 2 switches and data center devices. This winter we started to work on one of ESP’s ongoing software development projects, ESP-vIOLett (versatile IOL-evaluation test tool). The goal of ESP-vIOLett is to help automate our test suites and create a product that is usable for industry. Vendors will then be able to pre-test their equipment in-house before it is officially tested at the IOL.
Learning to program in the classroom environment and for personal projects is one thing, but doing so in a professional environment is another. Troubleshooting and bug fixing a larger code base can have its challenges when the only previous experience you’ve had is with your own code or with the codes of friends. Learning to adapt to a new code base is an important learning experience that every aspiring programmer should have. Another important aspect of development, and any work environment, is workflow. We are utilizing an iterative and incremental development approach for this project that aids organization and cooperation. By establishing a strong workflow, we are able to spend more time working on actual code development instead of using that time trying to figure out our next tasks.
We are working closely with software tools like source-control management software (SVN), high level IDEs such as Eclipse, Redmine bug tracking, and a general purpose programming language called Java. We are basing these applications on our test suites which are designed to thoroughly test devices against standards written by the IEEE. This is a great opportunity for student technicians at the IOL because we are working on a large-scale, industry-grade project. We are able to gain real-world, hands-on experience through our work that cannot be attained through academic classes.
Soon, ESP-vIOLett will be perfected and be released to the world. This will allow ESP members a chance to pre-test their devices before sending them to the IOL ESP for full third party independent test results. Look forward to ESP-vIOLett as a useful and convenient product in the near future!