What does Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) Compliance Really Mean?

There is a lot of talk lately about CAP compliance (and/or conformance) in alerting products.  At it is there.  It is, in fact, happening but there is compliance and then there is compliance with a wink. For example, IPAWS-OPEN 2.0 itself is only CAP 1.1 compliant and not IPAWS Profile compliant (yet). March is the goal at this point for CAP 1.2 and IPAWS Profile. Typical of any Government Program, we are trying to catch up with ourselves. But at least we are succeeding. (Note: we also have to be completely compliant. Compliance with a wink does not work very well in middleware.)

Also CAP 1.2 Compliance can be defined at many levels. (How many vendor products can actually digitally sign CAP 1.2 messages in accordance with the spec? I know it is optional, but compliance at one level means doing all the mandatory. At another level, it is also being able to do all of the optional.)

How about CAP IPAWS Profile compliance? The profile specifies Message Conformance, Message Producer Conformance and Message Consumer conformance. The rules for each are in the spec. Again is it all or just what is mandatory? (Hint: vendors will need to be able to do a LOT of the optional to be functional for their user base.)

Finally, there is the ability to send and/or receive messages from FEMA’s IPAWS aggregator. You will need to be able to do that. Particularly for CMAS which is scheduled to be operational in 2012 (Testing with the carriers begins very soon.) I can help with the last one. Many companies have signed up to begin development and test. Some have not. Give me a call or send e-mail. I can help.

How can testing begin even without 1.2 in place at IPAWS-OPEN? It can. The functional interface will be virtually unchanged for CAP 1.2 and most CAP 1.2 messages will also validate as CAP 1.1. The only difference is a couple of responseType values and the way the optional digital signature is configured on the message. (So those will not work with us until March. 🙂 )

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