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Answer to Ian Hickson:Formal vs prose language nor mativity

From: Karl Dubost <karl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 3 May 2005 11:48:18 -0400
Message-Id: <3D737158-D0DA-4FAB-9A47-C6FC4CD23CB3@w3.org>
Cc: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
To: www-qa@w3.org

Dear Ian,

Thanks for your comments on the Last Call version of the QA Framework:
Specification Guidelines[0] - 22 November 2004

After two weeks from now (on May 18, 2005), the lack of answer will  
be considered as if you had accepted the comment.

Original comment (issue 1049 [1])

Thank you for your comment, which the QA Working Group has accepted.   
We have reworded the affected section as you recommended and it now  
reads [2]

“What does it mean? If an existing formal language (e.g. DTD,  
Schemas, ...) is expressive enough to describe the technical  
requirements of the specification, use it and when the English prose  
and the formal language overlap, make it clear which one takes  
precedence in case of discrepancy.
Why care?When possible, there is an immediate benefit of using a  
formal language to describe conformance requirements. It minimizes  
ambiguities introduced by the interpretation of the prose. There is  
also the possibility of using existing tools for the given language  
to facilitate testing and validation.
However, prose remains necessary to allow implementers to understand  
the specification, as well as to express additional requirements the  
formal language cannot express; this means that there are possible  
overlaps between the prose and the formal language, in which case, it  
is important to define which one is the main point of reference in  
case of disjunction.”

[0] http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/WD-qaframe-spec-20041122/
[1] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=1049
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-qaframe-spec-20050428/#formal- 

Karl Dubost
QA Working Group Chair
Received on Tuesday, 3 May 2005 15:48:32 UTC

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