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How to Prepare for the Microsoft Platform Tests : Page 3

Whether you're using the Platform Tests to qualify for the Microsoft Certified Partner Program or just to prove that your Windows application makes the grade, following the preparation steps in this article can help.

Preparing for the Tests
To begin preparing for the tests, follow these steps:

  1. Read the Application test specification.
  2. Work though the checklist sections and make sure that you think your application meets the requirements as listed.
  3. Prepare a client (and server, if required) test system with the latest Windows security patches installed, and run though the tests in the detailed section of the document. Make sure you write down your test steps, expected results, and actual results—it's too easy to subconsciously assume that your application functions correctly. Writing down the results is a useful discipline to ensure you actually perform the tests. Ideally someone who was not involved in developing the application should perform the test.
  4. Sign up for testing at VeriTest.
How the VeriTest Process Works.
If you are performing the Platform Tests to join the Microsoft Certified Partner program, you must submit your application for testing by VeriTest. Even if you are not trying to qualify for the Microsoft Certified Partner program, you may want VeriTest to perform the testing as a kind of "independent audit" of your software.

VeriTest testing costs $400 per platform test. The sign-up process at the VeriTest site takes some time—you have to enter details about your organization and application, select tests, and answer questionnaires for each test. The test questionnaires contain questions that determine whether your application meets the requirements for Platform testing. You'll have all the answers at hand if you followed the preparation steps shown earlier.

After completing the questionnaires, you submit your application for testing, and send VeriTest your application install media (you can upload a disk image to VeriTest, let them download an image from you, or mail it—but the process will run more smoothly if you submit your disk image electronically). VeriTest will review your questionnaires before testing begins and sort out any problems.

VeriTest is a worldwide company, so don't be surprised if you receive e-mail messages from Ireland, China, and the United States as part of the process.

Testing takes from one to four weeks. VeriTest sends you an e-mail when the tests are complete, informing you of your successful pass (including a Product ID number you can enter at the Microsoft Channel Partner site to indicate that you have the required points for the "Certified Partner" program), or you will receive a failure report detailing the reasons your application did not pass, including the steps to reproduce the problem.

You can rectify any problems and re-submit the application for a re-test for an additional fee. If your application passes (for example) four of the five tests, you need to re-submit only that one test.

Independent Verification
The Platform tests were designed as a means to qualify for the Microsoft Certified Partner program, but you can use them to independently verify that your application, its installer, and configuration meets the baseline level of operating support for both Windows client and server applications—whether you choose to have your application tested by VeriTest, or perform your testing in house.

After your application has passed the Platform tests, you will know (rather than just think) that your application meets the minimum requirements expected by your customers, and will run successfully on different Windows systems. It's good to know—but make sure you prepare for the tests properly. You can maximize your chances of success by following the guidelines and preparation steps in this article.

Anthony Glenwright is the Product Development Manager at Inventua for TrueTeam, a collaboration tool which manages and integrates the workflows of running a successful software organization. You can contact him through his Web site at www.inventua.com or directly.
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