ASCOM General Requirements

Revised 11-Mar-2020

In order to be called "ASCOM compliant", a driver or application must meet all of the applicable guidelines in this document. Only then may a driver, interface, or an application's packaging and user interface, carry the ASCOM logo.

Please Note:

Windows/COM Drivers

  1. The driver must install and run on on Microsoft Windows 10 and 7 with the latest service packs at the time of driver release, and with User Account Control enabled at its default/normal setting. It should work on both 32- and 64-bit systems. Support for Windows 2000 and XP are no longer provided.
  2. The driver author must implement the published standard for the device type as a late-bound COM interface. The published standards are specific about the data types that are used for properties and method parameters. These data types (and COM itself) are what make drivers cross language compatible. Note that by using a .NET language and the .NET driver templates we provide with the Platform Developer Components, this is all taken care-of for you. Also see item 6 below.
  3. The driver must never "extend" the standard interface (add private members - properties and/or methods). If private members are desired, they must be exposed through a separate non-standard interface. Driver authors can also extend their drivers through the new Action and SupportedActions members that are common to all device interface standards.
  4. The driver must never display a modal window which requires user interaction to dismiss. All errors must be raised/thrown back to the client.
  5. The driver must use the Profile's Register() method for ASCOM registration. It is recommended that drivers also use the Profile object for storage of their persistent configuration, state data, etc. Many useful components are part of the ASCOM Platform and serve to isolate drivers from changes in Platform architecture. They also make development easier by providing high level functionality commonly needed by drivers.
  6. Prior to release, the driver must pass the Conform tests using the current/latest version of the Conformance Checker test tool.
  7. The driver must be delivered as a self-contained installer. It is unacceptable to ask users to copy files, edit the registry, run BAT files, etc. See Creating a Driver Installer.

Windows Applications

  1. The application must run (at a minimum) on Microsoft Windows 10 and 7, with the latest service packs at the time of driver release, and with User Account Control enabled at its default/normal setting. It should work on both 32- and 64-bit systems. Support for Windows 2000 and XP are no longer provided.
  2. The application must rely on at least one of the ASCOM standard interfaces via late-bound COM interface or .NET assembly binding to control an astronomical instrument. It is obviously preferable that the application use only universal ASCOM interfaces for instrument control (where applicable ASCOM interfaces exist). Of course test tools etc. would often ned use device specific ("native") interfaces, but to use the ASCOM logo the tool would still need to rely on at least one universal ASCOM interface.
  3. The application must not rely on being run with elevated privileges ("as Administrator") when User Account Control is active as usual.

Name and Logo Usage

If you have a driver or an astronomy product that conforms to these requirements, feel free to use the ASCOM names and logos on your web site and product packaging, as long as you do the following:

  1. The names ASCOM, ASCOM Alpaca and/or the ASCOM and Alpaca logos must never be displayed for products which are in experimental, beta, preview, or any other such state. Only production products which are available and supported by the vendor or author are eligible.
  2. Interfaces and tools which do not implement the ASCOM standards (including ASCOM Alpaca), or which contain additions of non-standard interfaces or features, are prohibited from using the ASCOM names and logos. See the policy on Forking of Interfaces, Platform and/or Tools.
  3. If you use any of our logos on a web site, please link it back to this site http://ascom-standards.org/
  4. Post a note to ASCOM-Talk indicating your product, company, and URL. The moderator or other responsible person will add you to the partners page and link to your web site.
Please This is on the honor system, there are no contracts or other covenants required. Please don't undermine this effort by ASCOM-labeling software that doesn't meet the above requirements. Make the effort and your software will be better for it!