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QASG last call comments: Conformance is not a yes/no proposition

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2005 14:53:33 +0000 (UTC)
To: www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.61.0501191452530.7711@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>


"1.2 Good Practice B" suggests that an ICS form be provided with
yes/no questions: "1. Create a list, table or form listing all
features (capabilities) and indicating if it is mandatory or not. 2.
Provide space for the implementer to check: Yes, No, Not Applicable".
However, this is unrealistic. For example, take CSS user agents. How
is an implementor to determine if he has implemented margin collapsing
correctly? All that can really be said is that the user agent passes a
certain set of tests. For any even mildly complicated specification it
will always be possible to show that a user agent is in some way
non-compliant, it's just a matter of finding a suitable test.

Therefore I would suggest changing this section to instead suggest
leaving space for the implementor to list the URIs to (publically
available) tests that the implementor has used to verify
interoperability and compliance, listing which tests the implementor
determined passed in the user agent and which failed (if any).
Specification authors may wish to provide a list of URIs to the tests
that form part of the specification's formal test suite (as used to
check for interoperability as per the CR exit criteria), although
naturally such a test suite can never be complete enough to really be
used to claim conformance so implementors would be expected to also
provide links to other tests that they used.

(The existing suggestions could be kept for the rare specs in which a
test suite is inappropriate, such as the two examples the spec
currently gives: the QA spec guidelines and the WCAG. However, this
applies to very few specifications and so should not IMHO be the
primary suggestion in the document.)

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Wednesday, 19 January 2005 14:53:34 GMT

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