On October 12, 2017, within the CAPE-OPEN 2017 Annual Meeting, Oliver KOCH gave a presentation (PDF, 445Kbytes) on the CAPE-OPEN Certification process organized by CO-LaN. Oliver KOCH is representing Linde within CO-LaN and presented the revised certification proposal on behalf of the Management Board.

Oliver lists first the points that make up the mission of certification.They include increase of the faith in the CAPE-OPEN standard and its implementations.Then Oliver indicates which are the stakeholders of the proposed certification process: a role of Chief Certification Officer (CCO) is introduced as well as a new Special Interest Group, the Certif SIG. The exchanges between the various stakeholders are then overviewed in a diagram that shows CO-LaN Members joining the Certif SIG while the Certif SIG is the executive community for the certification. In detail, the Certif SIG performs the interoperability tests, develops the test suite and procedures, and supports end-users in their experience with CAPE-OPEN interoperability.

The Certif SIG  produces reports on certification to the Management Board who approves of the levels of certification given to any software tool. The CCO is leading the Certif SIG and is in charge of publishing certification results on a dedicated part of the CO-LaN website. Other SIGs are exchanging with the Certif SIG especially on needs for errata and clarifications in the CAPE-OPEN interface specifications.

Then Oliver moves on to what makes up the Charter of the Certif SIG and the commitments it imposes on its members, including the guaranty to supply seamless CAPE-OPEN support to end-users of applications provided by Certif SIG members who are also software providers.

The certification process follows a workflow divided in five steps, from joining the Certif SIG to full interoperability certification approval. Interoperability through CAPE-OPEN needs to be described in some details in order to be sufficiently informative to end-users in particular. A list of items making up the certification received is consequently proposed. The certification process is meant to rely on a number of tools, in order to make the certification as automatic as possible. Among them a self-test suite which is targeted for release before the Certif SIG is in operation.

Confidence in the certification relies in part on the publication of its results.The highest level of certification informs on actual interoperability between one PMC and a number of PMEs or between a PME and a number of PMCs, leading to a kind of matrix displaying the level attained for each combination.

One other important aspect of the process is the support promise made by the Certif SIG members.In particular support related to CAPE-OPEN issues should be as good as for any other type of issue that each software vendor promises their end-users.

Then Oliver details the process through which an end-user may challenge the certification level attained by a piece of software.It is always necessary to assess the criticality of the issue. The challenge introduced by end-users may finally lead to the interoperability approved label to be withdrawn from a piece of software, if the software vendor has not fixed the issue within an appropriate time.

What are the next steps to set up the certification process? Oliver ends up his presentation with giving them. Staffing the CCO position is among the immediate priorities together with developing the first version of the self-test suite and an elaborate version of the Certif SIG mission and charter..

The presentation was followed by a constructive and cooperative discussion with the audience and especially with the software vendors. Constraints imposed to them by the scheme proposed were described. Software vendors were invited to contribute to the improvement of the scheme. Management Board stated that since the overall budgetary situation of the CO-LaN organization does not permit to fund all positions of the proposed next steps for the next year (2018), funds will be mainly dedicated to the development of the self-testing application.