W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa-wg@w3.org > November 2003

SpecGL Selling points

From: Lynne Rosenthal <lynne.rosenthal@nist.gov>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 12:16:41 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: www-qa-wg@w3.org
Here is a rough draft of reasons to use SpecGL.  On monday, I would like to 
discuss general ideas - what is missing, what you like, general structure 
of presenting this information, and filling in some of the blanks.


QA: take time now or pay later

Quality is never achieved by chance... it is the result of endless 
research, experience, skilled craftsmanship and the uncompromising devotion 
to the ideal that quality is never out of style. W3C QA WG offers the 
world's most complete line of quality-built guidelines...over three models 
to choose from...each the leader in styling, performance and value.(From 

FACT: Software development projects typically spend 40%-50% of their total 
effort on avoidable rework.  CLAIM: Specification development also spends a 
significant amount on avoidable rework.

       It helps ensure ….
       It provides …
       It improves the readability, implementability, and testability of 
the specification
       It shows …

Different Stakeholders use of SpecGL:  (reflect their benefit, interest, or 
       For specification developers: early understanding of conformance 
concepts, less rework or scrap, less burn-our of editors,
       For implementers: helps to target areas of spec that are of 
interest.  Don’t need to read entire spec  just the parts that you will 
implement.  For example, if building a
       Test Developer  Test Assertions are tagged, conformance is well defined
       W3C member  specs get developed faster, can implement sooner and 
       W3C organization  reputation enhanced, recommendations faster and 
higher quality, reduced maintenance

QA is Important
It may seem wacky to take precious time now, but integrating QA practices 
into every step of the specification writing process will pay off.
       It is a well-established fact that the sooner a defect (e.g., 
ambiguity, hole in the specification) is found the less expensive it is to 
       Early QA lifecycle activities help increase the overall 
effectiveness and efficiency of specification development.
       Early QA involvement allows evaluation of important planning, 
design, and development decisions with respect to how these decisions aid 
the testability of the specification.
       Continuous QA activities can reduce the amount of redrafting or 
scraping text, the number comments to resolve, and the time to publication.

Invest in QA and get to Recommendation faster by spending less time 
rewriting the specification, by fostering the development of test 
materials, and by facilitating the development of implementations.

When do QA
Use SpecGL to develop a quality specification  that is useful to the 
intended users and that is presented in an accurate, clear, complete and 
unbiased manner. Each guideline contributes to improving the quality of the 
final specification by leading you through a series of checkpoints.
       Use SpecGL in the beginning to get organized: think about the 
scope, how the technology will be implemented, what needs to conform, ways 
to subdivide the technology, and ways to allow variation among 
       Use SpecGL while writing the specification as a cheat sheet: to 
make sure you haven’t forgotten something and for ideas on how to describe 
       Use SpecGL during document preparation as a guide to markup: to aid 
in navigating the document, to indicate discretionary items, and to call 
out requirements and test assertions.
       Use SpecGL at the end of the writing process to see if you missed 

The use of standardized approaches, frameworks, and tools can reduce the 
costs associated with specification development.  Over time, we hope to 
augment the Examples and Techniques with more tools, templates, and 
examples to help you implement the SpecGL principles faster and/or more 
easily.  We also plan to work with you, as you develop your specifications, 
in applying the SpecGL.

(examples of WGs experience in doing QA and/or using SpecGL - e.g., SVG, UAAG)
Received on Wednesday, 12 November 2003 12:19:40 UTC

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