How to test serial applications
Serial communication is an integral part of a production environment where numerous specialized devices exchange data via serial interfaces. It often happens that to receive data from a particular device, specialists need to use dedicated serial applications. As a rule, such serial apps communicate with required hardware via COM interfaces which in turn are linked with a serial cable. Once connected, serial programs can get particular data from industrial equipment, process it, and store it in a single database. Later, the data will be used for making reports, creating various GUI objects, generating graphs, etc.
While developing serial apps, programmers may face some difficulties related to program testing. In some cases, it's not possible to modify the hardware device. Therefore, if it's required to test a certain application for a special occurrence of characters, experts start looking for solutions.
One of the possible workarounds is using a null-modem cable, which allows connecting one program, e.g. HyperTerminal, to another. With this type of connection, you can not only link two computers together but also provide communication between two apps installed on the same PC. For this to be accomplished, you need to have at least two COM ports available in your system.
If your PC lacks serial interfaces, you may create virtual COM ports and use them as emulators of physical serial ports. In this article, you'll find out how to establish serial communication using a virtual COM port.