First to the Certification Finish Line

Getting an application certified for Windows 2000 is not a race. That said, it's still nice to be first. Ask the team at Caere Corp. (www.caere.com) whose OmniPage Pro 10.0 was the first application to be certified for Windows 2000 Professional.

OmniPage is optical character recognition (OCR) software that scans in a text document and then allows the text to be edited. "We wanted to be certified right away, but we didn't realize we would be the first," says Natalie Miller, OmniPage product manager. "It suddenly became clear that we were going to be first and it got really exciting."

The developers at Caere were actually more interested in getting version 10.0 out the door than getting it certified. Miller says the company had a release to manufacturing date to meet, and that meant the software was going out the door whether VeriTest Inc. (www.veritest.com), the company that tests and certifies products for Windows 2000, certified OmniPage or not. "We simply didn't have time to wait," Miller says. "It just so happened that the timing worked out. They wouldn't let us slide through on anything."

Caere was able to take advantage of one new feature in Windows 2000 Professional. The operating system has a built in voice API that can read back the text of a document. This ability was already a part of OmniPage, but the new API streamlined development of the new version.

WRQ Inc. (www.wrq.com) is also at the front of the line for certification. The company submitted its host access software Reflection 8.0 for Windows 2000 Professional to VeriTest. Reflection will include support for Active Directory, an enhanced Reflection Deployment Manager, and full integration of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) 6.0.

"On the changes to certification, the process is going forward pretty much as [Microsoft] said it would," says Prasantha Jayakody, Reflection strategic marketing manager at WRQ. "They were a little late in getting VeriTest set up, as they said they would. But it was worth the wait because the process is working very smoothly."

Microsoft has yet to approve the Rational TestFoundation for Windows 2000, a free suite offering from Rational Software Corp. (www.rational.com) to pre-test applications before they're sent to VeriTest. According to a spokesman from Rational, Microsoft is running some additional testing on the product before it goes out the door.

Caere and WRQ officials commended the Application Specification for Windows 2000, saying it was a direct and helpful roadmap for developing certified applications. Another key to quick approval is getting the software to VeriTest early. Caere and WRQ got code to the testing center in just before an onslaught of entries, making their time to test much quicker than after more entries are submitted.

Caere's OmniPage 10.0 is available; WRQ's Reflection 8.0 will be released concurrent with Windows 2000 in February.