[Members] Ideas for Certification Process

Nolan Eakins sneakin at semanticgap.com
Sat May 14 23:04:49 CDT 2005


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These are some ideas I jotted down the other night about a
certification process. Unfortunately the only activity members will
get from it is another thing to vote on, unless they participate.
There are four areas that I came up with: a certification board,
certifiers, certified software, and Jabber.org.

The ideas for the certification board are probably close or the same
as the ones Rachel came up with last year. The board would essentially
be there to define what Jabber certification is and to provide
oversight. The responsibilities that I came up with are:
~   * Baselines JEPs for certs periodically (yearly as Rachel suggested?)
~   * Votes on certification checklists for each JEP. My hope is that
the JEP's author or members of the community would provide the
checklists in a process similar to that of JEPs. This should define
what it takes to be certified for a JEP in a repeatable, objective
fashion.
~   * Modifies the certification process as needed.
~   * Provides oversight so certifiers can not cheat.

A ranking system should be used so certifiers can build reputations
for being objective in their certifications. This would also mean that
they have been registered with the JSF most likely with a web form.
The ranking system I came up with would be +1 for each valid
certification and -2 for an invalid one. I would also remove their JSF
approved certifier title if they have been caught cheating due to
checking yes w/o any testing, conspiring with other certifiers to oust
another one, or anything else that compromises the integrity of the
certification process.

I would also allow certifiers to charge for doing the certification.
One idea I jotted down was that a percentage of their earnings go back
to the JSF to support the certification process. I am unsure of how to
enforce this other than an honor system.

Like certifiers, certified software should also be tracked by the JSF
and listed on the website. If certified software wants to display the
JSF Certified logo or whatever it must also list who certified it
along with exactly what they've been certified for, ie: JEP-0030 or
Intermediate Suite.

To get certified the software must be certified by three registered
certifiers. I have nothing against an author certifying their own
software so long as they are registered and constrained by the ranking
system and other rules. All three certifiers must sign off though. If
a certifier does not then their concerns must be addressed and
resubmitted. If they author disagrees with their assessment then I
suppose they can get a fourth opinion or goto the board. This could
possibly result in a -2 or removal of that certifier. Since a
certifier may charge then there may also need to be a contractual
obligation to refund their money and be liable for the cost of the
fourth certification.

Since software could and probably will make use of libraries that have
been certified then the certification of the library should carry over
to the using software. So if the software is using an XMPP certified
library then that software automatically gets that certification.

Jabber.org would presumably be the front door to the certification
process. It's gonna have to track certifiers, certified software,
certification checklists, and allow questions and concerns to be
submitted to the board. A certifier list would need to list the rank,
cost, website, and other info about certifiers. A list of JEPs (or
RFCs) that they will certify should also be listed.

A similar list would be needed for certified software. This should
list the general info about the software along with what it has been
certified for and by whom.

To support the certification process checklists will need to be
provided. Presumably this will be a web form or some other electronic
means. Ideally this should be usable by a software application so an
automatic testing suite could check things off. This should feed into
the ranking system and other pertinent parts of the system so very
little manual labor is needed.

To interact with the oversight board a submission form would also be
needed to submit questions, complaints, etc. These could be about the
certifiers, certified software, the process, or whatever.

All of this is open to comments and suggestions. These are just my
ideas on how to do this, so please improve upon them. Hopefully
they're enough to provide a basis for the final process.

- - Nolan
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