W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa-wg@w3.org > November 2004

my progresses on Action items

From: Dominique HazaŽl-Massieux <dom@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 12:45:01 +0100
To: www-qa-wg@w3.org
Message-Id: <1100605501.30774.284.camel@stratustier>
(I've added the texts mentioned to the editors draft)

AI-20041028-09: Dom to ask mailing-list about suggestions for "further
reading" section
(see my separate message with details)

AI-20041028-10: Dom to draft concepts section in the Introduction,
addressing issue of spec type (umbrella, collective, etc). Due 11/12
What is a specification?
A specification is a set of technical requirements which aim at defining
a reliable interface to accomplish a given task.

Specifications can be defined in one or several documents, and can
import requirements of other specifications with normative references.
Some specifications, denoted below as umbrella specifications, create
their own interfaces by simply grouping requirements of existing
specifications in a well-defined manner.

AI-20041029-19: [Spec] Dom to rewrite 4.4B

done (hopefully; the minutes were not very clear as to what was needed)

AI-20041029-20: [Spec 4.4C] Dom to rewrite 1- to keep only 1st sentence,
remove 2- and 3-

Karl did it for me, apparently

AI-20041029-21: [Spec 4.5A] Dom to reword 1, identify failures and
define error messages, reword 2- and make 3- a technique (?)

done (I think)

AI-20041029-22: [Spec 5.1A] Dom to rewrite it about the publishing
process (not quality control). Karl to review

done; I changed the principle into a good practice and it now reads:
"Good Practice A: Define an internal publication and review process."; I
adjusted the prose under it to match this, while trying to keep some of
the other ideas that had been developed previously; between other
things, I've made a technique out of the "don't publish incomplete
sections" advice.

AI-20041029-23: [Spec 5.2E] Dom to write - Use formal languages
Good Practice: Use formal languages and define which from prose and
formal languages has priority

What does it mean? If an existing formal language (e.g. DTD, Schemas,
...) is expressive enough to describe the technical requirements of the
specification, try to use it, and make it clear when the English prose
and the formal language overlaps which one should be held for true in
case of discrepancy.

Why care? English prose can often leads to ambiguity; using a formal
language to describe conformance requirements can allow to avoid some of
this ambiguity, while permitting to re-use existing tools for the given
language to facilitate testing and validation.

But prose remains necessary to allow implementers to understand the
specification, as well as to express additional requirements the formal
language cannot express; this means that there are possible overlaps
between the prose and the formal language, in which case, it is
important to define which one is the main point of reference in case of

      * Wiki: Formal Language vs Prose? [WIKI-FORMAL-LANGUAGE]

      * There are plenty of formal languages used across W3C
        specifications: DTD, XML Schema, Relax NG, EBNF, Z Notation, ...
        Picking the right one depends on the kind of specifications
        developed (language, XML or not, protocol) and the use needed
        from the formal language
      * to avoid discrepancies between the English prose and the formal
        language, set up a process so that a given section is bound to a
        given part of the formal language, and one can't modified
        without the other
      * use the formal language tools to validate the examples given in
        the specification, so as to ensure they match
      * when using several formal languages in combination, generate
        random content according to the rules defined in one of them and
        try to validate it with the others, to find discrepancies

XQuery Formal Semantics Notice section 1.1, where they defines where
theis document is normative over the grammar specs (separate for XPath
and XQuery) and where the grammar specs are normative.

Dominique HazaŽl-Massieux - http://www.w3.org/People/Dom/

Received on Tuesday, 16 November 2004 11:45:04 UTC

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