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conformance clauses

From: Thomas Roessler <tlr@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 22:12:56 +0200
To: public-wsc-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20070521201256.GI23223@raktajino.does-not-exist.org>

We had briefly spoken about conformance clauses at the last meeting,
and I came out of that discussion with ACTION-218 to take it all to
e-mail (and we'll come back to this at the face-to-face).

When I speak of conformance clauses, I've got the QA Framework [1]
in mind.  Have a look at section 2.1 there:

  2.1 Specifying Conformance
  Conformance is the fulfillment of specified requirements by a
  product, process, or service. These requirements are detailed in a
  specification as part of a conformance clause and in the body of
  the specification. A conformance clause is the section of a
  specification that identifies all the criteria that must be
  satisfied in order to claim conformance to the specification.
  A clear presentation of conformance is crucial to successful
  interoperability of implementations. The conformance model and the
  language used for normative information determine the testability
  of a specification. They also influence the overall implementation
  landscape, ranging from a narrow conformance with few allowable
  variations in implementations to multiple conformance types,
  resulting in numerous variations in conforming implementations.
  The model must be chosen carefully, to produce the intended
  implementation range.

... and so on ...

This is really worth reading.

For a more concrete example, have a look at the UA Accessibility
Guidelines 1.0, chapter 2 [2].

As I said earlier, it's important that we are very clear in our
recommendations as to what is normative text, and what's just
explanatory, informational material.  That's the core of what I want
to get at here.

One easy way to think about this is to ask: What does it mean to
comply with this?  What does it mean to not comply with this?  How
can I measure this?

A specification that everything complies with is simply meaningless.

1. http://www.w3.org/TR/qaframe-spec/
2. http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-USERAGENT/guidelines.html

Thomas Roessler, W3C  <tlr@w3.org>
Received on Monday, 21 May 2007 20:13:03 UTC

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