Full automation of software testing from day one at Yxlon International

case study

At YXLON International A/S the often long and unproductive test, deploy and release phases have been replaced by automation, improved quality and elimination of manual errors in code changes and software tests.

Praqma, as a strategic adviser, has created results from day one and the competitiveness of the Danish based organization has been increased significantly.

For YXLON International, who specializes in portable X-ray solutions for the industry, the trend is the same as in, for example, the mobile industry. New functionalities in the software are becoming more and more important buying parameters. Features like USB, integrated bluetooth and network as well as an intuitive user interface with full graphical color VGA-screens help differentiate their solutions from those of competitors. The features allow you to develop a range of new services that can ease the use of your instruments.

“Historically, with our portable solutions we have been very focused on improving the quality and robustness of our hardware and mechanics, which allows them to handle complex inspections of welds on pipelines in the Siberian wilderness or meticulous scans of museum objects,”

says Martin Astradsson, Senior Software Architect at YXLON International. He continues:

“However, the focus is increasingly shifting towards features and capabilities of the software. We have a small R&D department compared to larger corporations and therefore we can only survive by automating manual processes and using as few resources possible on repetitive tasks such as static testing, functional testing, debugging and unit testing in production.”

Continuous Delivery creates quality improvements

Since 2012, YXLON International has worked closely with Praqma to establish a fully automatic Continuous Delivery pipeline - a method that ensures the automation of testing of new software and automatic pushing of new releases to production. New appliances will therefore always be produced containing the latest official software release.

“With Continuous Delivery, we have removed a large number of human factors that increase the risk of errors and make it more time consuming to test releases. Overall, it is about quality improvement. Every time we have written a piece of software, it is handed over to the version control system and our build servers, to test the quality of the software. If the software passes the various quality gates along the way, it is good enough to release to customers. The next step is to automate everything from test to the delivery of the approved releases, all the way out to the customer,” says Martin Astradsson.

Benefits of open source

Linux is the core of YXLON’s embedded software and development platform. To optimize the software platform and the corresponding IT infrastructure and processes YXLON converted to the open source version control system Git. The Continuous Integration server Jenkins, that is responsible for building and testing the software, is also open source.

“Many companies with large IT organizations use Microsoft products to manage the infrastructure. However, for us Open Source works fine as a software development infrastructure. It was quite impressive that the developers weren’t affected in any way by the migration to, for example, Git and experienced no downtime. The migration from Subversion to Git was on time and with a minimal introduction to a handful of Git commands we were up and running smoothly.

In R&D we have, from the start, had full responsibility for our development platform and the corresponding IT infrastructure for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. This combined with the fact that we have had the highly competent Praqma consultants seated, resulted in us being extremely agile in the change from an old-fashioned manual software development setup to a fully automated CI/CD setup. The road from idea to implementation has been very short” says Martin Astradsson.

Quickly reached goal and an extreme degree of knowledge sharing

The cooperation with Praqma continues and more new things are being developed.

“The collaboration with Praqma has made us extremely competitive and enable us to develop software with fewer resources over time. We still have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline in order to constantly improve our setup. I was aware of Praqma from earlier work and knew that they would be able to deliver results from day one and help develop and realize the vision for our Continuous Delivery setup”

says Martin Astradsson and continues:

“We have gotten a very agile setup and qualitative sparring in all respects. Although we only formally hired one consultant, we have had access to the entire Praqma team and knowledge center, which undoubtedly is one of Denmark’s leading consulting companies on Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). For YXLON International, it has clearly been an advantage as a medium-sized company to focus on our core business and buy Praqma’s specialized knowledge about the supportive but crucial software processes and tools.”

About YXLON International A/S

YXLON is a highly specialized international company in strong growth, with more than 50 years experience in its field. YXLON’s Danish branch employs 40 people globally, hereof 35 in based Taastrup.

YXLON develops, manufactures, and sells X-ray equipment for industrial use where there is a requirement for non-destructive testing. The products include both standard and specialized X-ray equipment, proprietary computer software and hardware, as well as customer-specific X-ray systems. YXLON’s products are used in all industries with needs for inspection of, for example, hidden joints, welds, casted components and foreign material in e.g. food.

Read more about YXLON.