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Re: Use case definition

From: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 18:11:47 -0600
Message-Id: <>
To: andrew@opengroup.org
Cc: www-qa-wg@w3.org


Thanks for this contribution.  I'll link it from the issue, #72.  We should 
probably hold that issue until 6-august, since Kirill (the author of the 
use-case checkpoints) is on vacation this week.


At 04:27 PM 7/29/02 +0100, you wrote:

>Re Action Item A-2002-07-10-1 There is an outstanding issue (#72, [1]) on 
>the Spec. guidelines doc (07/22 version, [2]) relating to  checkpoint 1.2; 
>the definition of a use case and the implication of it being normative.
>  The problem is that there is no formal definition of what a use case is, 
> and that this undefined  thing is being made normative. Anything that is 
> normative in a spec. is important and so should  be defined carefully 
> before inclusion.
>   What is a use case? There are several definitions but I think that one 
> that is closest to the  SpecGL idea of a formal user scenario involves a 
> related sequence of actions or events,  quantified with standard inputs 
> and expected outputs.
>   In my experience a scenario is composed of a chain of lower level test 
> assertions. (The purpose of the  scenario is often to verify 
> interoperability, something not easily done at the 'atomic' level of an
>  This implies the existence of low level, testable assertions being 
> available before a use case can  be defined - and this overlaps with 
> Guideline 15 and the idea of test cases.  So I think we need to answer 
> the question   "Is a Use Case the same thing as a Test case?"   If not, 
> how is it different?
>   To make a start at answering this I'll note that the UML style of use 
> case includes actors with specific  roles. The various 'users' to which 
> SpecGL scenarios might apply to may correspond to actors.  However, UML 
> use cases capture behaviour, not activity.
>   If a SpecGL use case captures behaviour, how is it formalised and tested?.
>  If a specGL use case does not capture behaviour - does it capture 
> activity instead? Or something else?
>  -Andrew
>  [1] http://www.w3.org/QA/WG/qawg-issues-html.html#x72
>  [2] http://www.w3.org/QA/WG/2002/07/qaframe-spec-0722.html
Received on Monday, 29 July 2002 20:08:45 UTC

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