How Do You Verify Interoperability? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • [Update 2008-04-17T15:52Z: Oops.  I just noticed that this could be mistaken as a question to Microsoft.  This is not a question to Microsoft, although it would be interesting for 'softies to respond from their own perspective, experience, and how they are raising the bar in their own efforts.  I am not asking for a Microsoft position or response.  This is a question to all of those who visit here who have out of curiosity or interest in the subject matter of interoperability.]


    I mean this as a general question, although I find it easier to get my head around document-interoperability cases.


    First, what do you check interoperability with?


    1. Do you check with another application, as some people do by checking their web site with a browser (often only one particular browser)?  I was around a hardware integration project in the late 80s where the check for interoperability of a custom board was whether it worked in a Compaq 386 configuration.  Probably not a great test: They ended up selling the board in a bundle as part of a Compaq 386 because it was too costly to test with other PCs.  But if you do verify by operation with another application or device, is there a case where that is enough?


    2. Do you check with multiple applications/clients/servers and then find out how to round out the rough edges among you?  WebDAV servers and clients are tested in interoperability fests this way.  This is a pretty useful technique because (1) it is all done over the web and there is no need for anyone to reveal source code and (2) there is enough slack in WebDAV that it actually matters how implementations behave with each other and some sort of common ground be found.


    3. Do you rely on sets of conformance tests and reference implementations?  By reference implementation, I don't meed some best-of-breed candidate that you need to interoperate with, no matter what it does (e.g., Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer).  That's part of (1). 


    Finally, I do want to ask a question that is about document interoperability.  I'm not sure how to ask it.


    4. In accepting documents in some standard format, how do you tell that your application does the right thing with it?  Are there automated tests, and what do they measure?


    I'm not asking for trade secrets.  Suggestions and armchair recommendations are interesting to me also.

    • Edited by David DoBell Tuesday, June 24, 2008 3:55 PM spelling edits
    Monday, April 14, 2008 8:43 PM