Windows Middleware Defaults Testing


The consent decree in the Microsoft antitrust settlement required Microsoft to provide a means for end users of software defined by the consent decree as “middleware”, particularly Web browsers, email clients, and media players, to set system defaults for those applications; and to ensure that those competing products were launched everywhere within the Windows environment instead of the Microsoft products they were replacing, and required the Technical Committee to verify Microsoft's compliance with this requirement.


The Windows infrastructure for setting and launching system middleware defaults was complex and not fully documented, such that deep investigation was necessary to determine whether a launch failure was the result of an issue with the launching software, with the defaults system itself, or with the third-party developer’s integration with the system.


I took the documentation for setting defaults that had been published for third-party developers, performed exhaustive testing of Windows and third-party applications, performed deep root-cause analysis when empirical results did not match the documentation, and made changes to the documentation as necessary. I also worked with developers at the Technical Committee to produce and test a middleware “simulation” tool, which was used internally and made available to Microsoft and third-party developers, and used to identify issues both with the Windows defaults infrastructure and with the third-party applications. Finally, I produced detailed reports for Microsoft and third-party developers identifying issues, presenting the root-cause analysis, and suggesting remedial action.


As a result of my efforts, dozens of independent middleware developers were able to take full advantage of the Windows defaults infrastructure, and hundreds of millions of Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 users were ensured the ability to install the Web browser, email client, and/or media player of their choice, with the full assurance that every time they clicked on a link or content file, their default application would be launched according to the choices they made.


This experience shows my ability to do in-depth analysis, issue identification and problem-solving, and to work with external partners to solve integration issues.