Certification of your railML® interface

Overview

railML as an exchange format for rail data depends on the correct use by rail-IT applications. The process of certification concludes in a mutual benefit for railML.org and our parnters. Main aspects are the quality assurance and interoperabilty for our partners and the recognition of the needs of our partners for railML.org. The evaluation of a railML interface is based on the review of the results of export and import of such applications.

As the railML standard is subdivided in schemes covering timetable, infrastructure and rolling stock according to the main purpose of rail-IT applications, the certification accordingly considers only the scheme or the schemes used by the applicant.

Would you like to get additional information or do you have to certify your railML® interface? Contact us!

Download the official certification manual

The further content is only available for registered partners

The download is intended for the main contact person of registered partners. Please login as railML.org main company contact or register at railML.org

Should you be unable to get acces to the certification manual via the main contact person of your company, please contact railML.org.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Why is a certification required?

A certification is required in order to avoid incompatibility of railML interfaces. This can be caused by design differences, omissions or vendor-specific additions.

See page 8 of certification manual.

What is the railML certification?

railML certification is a public acknowledgment of a software interface’s compliance with a specific scope of the railML data exchange standard, based on an impartial and independently verifiable test administered by railML.org, the certification body. Successful certification is a prerequisite for the use of railML in a software solution, and is confirmed by a certificate issued by railML.org, along with a certification protocol.

See page 12 of certification manual.

When is a certification required?

Any applicant wishing to include railML support in their products is required to certify the railML interface(s) of their software release to demonstrate compliance with the standard. Certification is mandatory for all vendors who intend to use railML as a data interchange medium within or in relation to their software solution, regardless of whether railML support is publicly acknowledged or not.

See page 13 of certification manual.

Which railML versions need certification?

A certification is mandatory for all 2.0/2.1/2.2/2.3/3.1 interfaces registered or released after July 1st, 2013.

See page 13 and 14 of certification manual.

Who is responsible for the certification?

As a rule, the vendor who releases a software solution becomes the applicant and is responsible for proper railML certification prior to the product’s general availability, including when a product is not available to the general public, such as when a solution is delivered to a specific customer or a limited audience.

See page 15 of certification manual.

What is the certification scope?

railML certification for a software interface is available in two key functional areas that may be subject to certification independently or combined:

Export: A product’s ability to correctly represent structured abstract data into the corresponding railML schema and output the result in a fully railML-compliant file that could be correctly read and interpreted by another railML-certified software interface;

Import: A product’s capacity to correctly parse and understand railML-compliant data, provided as a railML file for import.

Based on the specific interfaces being certified, two types of certification are available to applicants: export and import certification. Both certification paths evaluate a fixed set of criteria that must be met for a software interface to be successfully certified.

See page 16 of certification manual.

How long is the certification valid?

Certification is granted for a period of five years with a provision for free extensions, unless at least one re-certification condition is met in that time.

See page 18 of certification manual.

How much does the certification cost?

Until stated otherwise, railML.org invoices any vendor request for certification with a unified effort of 2.5 man days per unit, which relate to 2.225 EUR (plus VAT, if applicable) currently. This is an administrative fee, which only covers expenses that arise in the context of certification.        

See page 20 of certification manual.

How can I prepare for the certification?

railVIVID is a reference validation tool to be used by applicants in preparation for official certification. It is strongly recommended that applicants incorporate testing schedule into the development cycle early in the software delivery process, in order to ensure continuous adherence to the standard and consistency with the certification test expectations. It can be downloaded on the website.

Furthermore railML.org provides a set of official reference data samples via the website. These samples may be freely used to test import functionality of any software interface, serving as a mock import certification test for the applicants’ benefit. The sample files may also be used as point of reference for applicants working on railML export implementations to compare export outcomes with a file created according to best practices.

See page 21 and 22 of certification manual.

How do I apply for certification?

Applicants apply for certification by submitting a certification request to railML.org. An application must always contain the following basic information:

  • railML schema version(s) for which compliance will be tested.
  • Application name and release version, build number (if applicable),
  • Technical contact responsible for application,
  • Description of the product’s primary usage scenario,
  • railML subschemas in use.
  • Requested certification type (import, export or both).

See page 22 of certification manual.

What requirements does my interface need to fulfill for the certification?

Preequisites for Export certification

An interface ready for certification must comply with the following requirements:

  • Provide means of control (outlined in Acceptable Input and Output Methods) that can initiate a data export for a given set of circumstances,
  • Generate consistent data output for a given set of input parameters, i.e. generating the same output twice at different points in time must generate a syntactically identical output file,
  • Output valid railML data without any additional conversion or translation, i.e. the export process must be a one-step experience in terms of data.

Preequisites for Import Certification

An interface admissible for railML import certification must:

Provide means to initiate data import from a railML data file (the interface may require a specific file name, which must have a .railml, railmlx or xml extension),

Be capable of reading and interpreting a valid railML data file without prior conversion or translation,

Possess means of data representation to verify that a data input has been successfully interpreted. Possible methods of data representation include:

  • Graphical user interface that renders a representation of the imported data,
  • Text output that can represent the imported data, but not output the original file verbatim,
  • Structured data object (e.g. relational database storage) that can be examined to verify that the imported data was properly interpreted,
  • Any other form of output that can reliably verify that the application has correctly understood the imported data sample.

Applicants are encouraged to consult specific import scenarios with railML.org prior to applying for import certification, to establish the correct procedure and agree upon acceptable means and goals to confidently verify that the interface’s import capability satisfies the certification criteria.

See page 25 of certification manual.

How long does the cetification take?

railML.org strives to process all certification requests in timely manner without delay. Processing time may, however, still be variable based on available processing bandwidth and test complexity. Validation may take longer for large or complex data sets, especially when comprising multiple files. Keeping data samples and descriptions concise and to the point greatly contributes to the overall performance of the certification process.

See page 33 of certification manual.

Feedback

Feedback regarding the certification manual is very welcome. Please direct it to manual@governance.railml.org. An updated version of the manual is planned for 2018. Experiences of the certification process based on the current manual, will be implemented.