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Re: QA Glossary - New version

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 19:13:54 -0600 (MDT)
To: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
cc: www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.10.10205231800450.9331-100000@measurement-factory.com>
On Thu, 23 May 2002, Karl Dubost wrote:

> The QA glossary has been updated
> 	http://www.w3.org/QA/glossary
> The document is open for your review. 

Atomic Test

	1. Do we need this term?

	2. The definition says "maps back to exactly one
	   [test] assertion". Test assertion is defined as
	   a "set of [...] rules that are known to be true
	   by definition in the spec". Since two sets of
	   rules are still a single set of rules, it is
	   not clear what an "exactly one set of rules" is.
	   The whole standard is a single test assertion, by
	   definition.

	   The definition further says "this is in contrast 
	   to some test cases that may test a combination of rules".
	   However, again, a combination (set) of rules is a (single?)
	   assertion, by definition.

	3. I doubt many atomic tests exist, even if we manage to
	   define them correctly. Any standard is a set of rules,
	   many of which are dependent/related. For example, to
	   test a single MUST in HTTP, I need to test that MUST
	   plus many of the rules related to HTTP header parsing
	   and interpretation. I simply cannot avoid testing parsing
	   rules because most MUSTs rely on something being parsed
	   first. 

	   I am sure the same is true for non-protocols such as XML.
	   For example, one cannot test that an XML document has
	   exactly one root node without also relying on (and hence
	   testing) node syntax.
	   

Conformance

	1. The definition says "ability to meet requirements claimed to
	   be supported". Is not that a definition of "claims
	   conformance" rather than "standard conformance"? We
	   probably should limit the glossary to standard conformance
	   only and rephrase the definition accordingly.

	2. Do we need to add Compliance? Is Compliance any
	   different from Conformance?


Conforming Document

	1. Do we need Conforming Application/Device/Mechanism?
	   Is there a word that can describe all "subjects" of
	   specifications and standards?


Conformance
Conformance Testing

	1. The definitions do not answer a fundamental
	   question: What exactly is sufficient to claim
	   (or certify) Conformance based on a test result?
	   For example, if my HTTP test suite has test
	   cases for all HTTP MUSTs, and the device under test
	   passes all those cases, is the device conformant?
	   In other words, does the absence of known violations
	   mean conformance??

	   It is a difficult but very important question to
	   answer. On one hand, if we cannot find any violations,
	   then we have no objective evidence that the device 
	   violates the specs. On the other hand, it is impossible
	   to test all combinations of inputs so we may be missing
	   a test case that detects violations. Thus, we either
	   end up certifying non-conformant devices or refuse
	   to certify any device!

	   While the above problem is mostly obvious for protocols,
	   I believe it does exist for specifications like XML and
	   for Conforming Documents: While the "input" in this case
	   is fixed (it is the document itself), the very program that
	   checks for conformance may be buggy. So, again,
	   we cannot say for sure that the document is conformant.

	   I do not know how to solve this "uncertainty" problem,
	   but it needs a solution if we want to talk about 
	   conformance tools and especially certification. As a
	   conformance test suite author, I need to know how my
	   tool can issue a "Conforms to the [W3C] Standard"
	   certificate using W3C definition of Conformance.

	   I hope that the "uncertainty" problem has been solved
	   elsewhere, and we just need to pick the best solution. 
	   Does anybody know of any good solutions? I can only think
	   of "Designed for MS Windows" and UL "safety" certification
	   that boils down to "if company X says you conform, then
	   you conform". Not very applicable to the W3C situation
	   where W3C develops a set of objective rules rather than
	   issues subjective conformance certificates.

	   It is easy for the specification to say that a device
	   is conformant if it meets A, B, and C. We need to define
	   how one can test/prove/testify that the device meets A, B,
	   and C. Do we need a "[beyond] reasonable doubt" clause?
	   Ugh.


Test Case

	1. The definition says, "an individual test that corresponds
	   to a test purpose". IMO, a test case should correspond to
	   a test assertion (a set of rules) not test purpose.

Test Purpose 

	1. Test purpose is to check/exercise/test an assertion. The
	   current definition says "an explanation of why the test was
	   written" which is vague and misleading. I do not think we
	   need this term at all.


I hope the above comments are useful. My primary concern is to be able
to use these definitions in practice when testing for protocol
conformance.

Thank you,

Alex.
Received on Thursday, 23 May 2002 21:13:56 UTC

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