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Re: conformance vs. compliance

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 09:33:19 -0600 (MDT)
To: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>
cc: Art.Barstow@nokia.com, <www-qa@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.44.0208090917490.25790-100000@measurement-factory.com>

On Fri, 9 Aug 2002, Lofton Henderson wrote:

> I rarely use "compliance" or "compliant", for a couple of reasons.
> First, in my experience, it has been abused so much in marketing
> claims and hype that I have a bias against it.  Second, I'm not sure
> what its definition is.

I agree that marketing abused compliance more than conformance, but
doubt that we can avoid using all terms abused by marketing.

FWIW, I can quote the definition of compliance from HTTP spec:

   implements. An implementation that satisfies all the MUST or REQUIRED
   level and all the SHOULD level requirements for its protocols is said
   to be "unconditionally compliant"; one that satisfies all the MUST
   level requirements but not all the SHOULD level requirements for its
   protocols is said to be "conditionally compliant."

I suspect that the definition of compliance (or conformance) would
differ from one spec to another.

IMO, compliance and conformance are synonyms:

    compliance, noun
	Date: 1647
	1b: conformity in fulfilling official requirements

    conformance, noun
	Date: 1606

    conformity, noun
	Date: 15th century
	2: an act or instance of conforming

Personally, I use compliance because more people are likely to know
this term and because it is easier to spell. It also starts with
"comp" which makes it related to computers :-).

I have already suggested adding compliance to the Glossary (as a
interchangeable synonym to conformance). If compliance is not added,
there should be a note somewhere explaining why QAWG wants to avoid
that commonly used term. Otherwise, the same question will be asked
over and over again.



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Received on Friday, 9 August 2002 11:33:31 UTC

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