What's the Certification timeline? Who else has apps pending certification?
I submitted a small app for certification a few days ago, and I'm wondering if anyone has experience with the timeline after making the request? How long does it usually take for them to get back to you? Do they communicate via email? Who else has apps pending certification? I'm just wondering if there is a bunch of them queued up, or is it still limited to very few developers who have submitted for certification? I don't know if the forum activity here is representative of how many developers are working on skills, or are there just a few of us more vocal developers here? I'm almost done with my "big" skill which I plan to submit for certification very soon, so I'm just trying to get an idea of the timeline to expect. I'd love to see it in the echo app asap. :)
I'm just off the phone talking through my skill to the Certification team. They've changed their process since the first skills. The timeline I saw was something like: 1) During the first week after I submitted the skill, various people tried it out. (Based on my log files.) 2) Sometime towards the end of that week, I got an e-mail from "
firstname.lastname@example.org" saying they would be in touch. 3) Later I got an e-mail setting up a phone conference. 4) You do your phone conference, and, basically, work out the timetable for the rest of the certification. I think times are going to depend on their backlog. I [i]think[/i] they have a backlog. But I was rather surprised to have three Amazonians on the call rather than one, so it looks like they are putting group efforts into certification. (Or maybe, as this was a more complex skill, they ramped up.) So I think response times are going to more be based on how thick and fast people are submitting skills. I'd expect a lot at the start, and then easing off over time. The traffic in these forums seems pretty steady, so I don't think the number of developers is ramping up fast. I'm sure after they release the app store we'll see another surge.
Wow, actual conversations on the phone? That's much more of a certification process than I imagined. What kinds of things do they discuss on these calls? Is there anything I should be prepared to demonstrate or defend?
It wasn't very confrontational. They showed a basic familiarity with my skill and had some specific suggestions. Mostly it was to get a feel for the intent and purpose of my skill. There was someone from test, someone from design, and an organizer, so they each had their angle. It was a constructive, productive and collaborative experience. I don't think you need to defend yourself as they aren't trying to shoot you down. They may challenge some of your design decisions, and you probably want to be able to explain why you chose them. If you are randomly churning something out, that could be a problem. But if this is your complex skill, I'd say, from what you've said, you have put conscious thought into your approach so you will probably enjoy explaining it. For me they seemed actually please that someone was pushing the envelope and trying something more complex. I'm sure you know, but I'll repeat it for in general: keep to the subject. Amazon is a big company and these people have their specific roles. This is not the sort of call to complain about problems, lack of functionality, or to make feature requests. That's not what these people do, and they can't help you. You're just going to burn through your time on the call. This isn't Nick, Memo and the other folks who manage the forum. They seemed aware of traffic on the forum, but not intimately so. Don't assume they've read all your posts! Beyond that, think about leveraging their skill and expertise. If you've had to make difficult design or test decisions, bring them up and ask their advice. Think of them as a resource rather than an execution squad. :-)
FWIW, I don't think a phone call is always part of the process. I had a call to discuss two of the first three skills I submitted, but there was no call for the third, or for the one I submitted more recently. I've noticed that the most recent submission went a little more slowly than the first three. It was about a week and a half before I got a response from the cert team on my most recent submission, but on my first three I got an initial response within 3 business days. I never got a, "We've received your submission and will be in touch," type of reply, I always got a reply that included feedback from testing with change requests and suggestions. Sometimes there were questions from the cert team in that email. After I'd made changes and resubmitted, it would be another 3-5 business days for the next response from the cert team. There were usually more change requests. In the end, I'd say early response time was much faster for my first three skills but they ultimately took longer to get certified, somewhere between 20 - 25 days. The more recently-submitted one only went through one round of revisions and was certified within another 48 hours after I re-submitted, but that could be mostly a function of my improved understanding of how the process works and what the cert team is looking for.