W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa@w3.org > August 2002

Re: conformance vs. compliance

From: Mark Skall <mark.skall@nist.gov>
Date: Fri, 09 Aug 2002 11:49:38 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: Lofton Henderson <lofton@rockynet.com>, Art.Barstow@nokia.com, <www-qa@w3.org>

Most people use the two terms synonymously.  Let's not proliferate 
additional terms. We should encourage the use of "conformance".  That's the 
word we use.  There's enough incompatibility of terminology already.  By 
defining compliance (as identical to conformance or very much like it) 
we're encouraging usage of two words to say the same thing and thus 
encouraging (more) confusion.


At 09:14 AM 8/9/02 -0600, Lofton Henderson wrote:

>At 10:47 AM 8/9/02 -0400, Art.Barstow@nokia.com wrote:
>>Does the QA WG consider the terms "conformance" and "compliance" 
>>For example does the WG (and its tech reports) consider these two assertions
>>  1. My implementation is 100% compliant  with specification A
>>  2. My implementation is 100% conformant with specification A
>>If these assertions are not equivalent, what's the difference?
>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 don't think QAWG has discussed it or taken a position.  If it is 
>synonymous with Conformance, then why define and use it?  I.e., there is a 
>lot to be said for consistent terminology.  If it is different ... does 
>anyone want to offer a definition?
>>Perhaps compliance should be added to:
>>  http://www.w3.org/QA/glossary
>Are you interested to propose a definition?  (Note the invitation in the 
>first paragraph of the Glossary.)

Mark Skall
Chief, Software Diagnostics and Conformance Testing Division
Information Technology Laboratory
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8970
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8970

Voice: 301-975-3262
Fax:   301-590-9174
Email: skall@nist.gov
Received on Friday, 9 August 2002 11:43:42 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:40:29 UTC