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Umbrella Specifications Discussion

From: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2005 13:54:50 -0400
Message-Id: <450B34BD-F39E-49B6-B62A-1A4809B2498B@w3.org>
To: "'www-qa-wg@w3.org'" <www-qa-wg@w3.org>

The section 7 of Variability in Specifications WD contains the notion  
of Umbrella Specifications[1]

It contains basically (each item is a paragraph):
- Definition of a specification
- Tension between the number documents/requirements.
- Several docs advantage
- Definition monolothic specification
- W3C Process document versus number of documents.
- Some documents are a normative grouping of requirements
   from other docs (1st mention of Umbrella specification)
- Benefits of creating an Umbrella Spec for a WG
- Figure illustrating the concept of Umbrella spec

First Comment, the outline of this section is really not well  
organized. I'm mostly guilty for it. We will have to reorganize it  
and make it more logical when we exactly know what we want to express.

I think it reveals also the difficulty we have to define the borders  
of a specification. From the prose it is said:

A specification is a document that prescribes technical requirements  
to be fulfilled by a product, process or service.
]]] - http://www.w3.org/QA/WG/2005/06/spec-variability.html#umbrella

The definition is very large, maybe too large.

In W3C culture and defined by the Process Document, there is the  
notion of Technical Report

The Recommendation Track process is the set of steps and requirements  
followed by W3C Working Groups to standardize Web technology. The  
processes followed by a Working Group to manage specifications and  
guidelines -- called technical reports in this section -- include:
]]] - http://www.w3.org/2004/02/Process-20040205/tr.html#Reports

A Web technology is defined inside a document called technical reports.

What do we find in ONE technical report.
     * Technical requirements defined in the document itself
     * Technical requirements defined in a sibling document of the  
Web technology (notion of family, for example OWL, XML Schema, etc.)
     * Technical requirements defined in a external document.
         - From W3C
         - From an external organization (IETF, Unicode, )

During our previous discussion, Tim Boland asked if a Profile was an  
Umbrella Specification.  I don't think it is, Dom think it could be a  
kind of. The differences of opinions might come because we don't know  
how to decide what makes an umbrella specification.

To clarify my ideas about it, I would maybe define an umbrella  
specification as a document which covers a complete Web technology:
     - by introducing the technology (Primer)
     - by enumerating the sibling documents and their interactions
     - by defining the different kind of conformance requirements

It's the entrance gate to a technology.  (personal opinion on it).

[1] http://www.w3.org/QA/WG/2005/06/spec-variability.html#umbrella
Karl Dubost - http://www.w3.org/People/karl/
W3C Conformance Manager
*** Be Strict To Be Cool ***
Received on Tuesday, 14 June 2005 17:54:54 UTC

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