Draft Proposed Answer to Ian Hickson:Formal vs prose language nor mativity

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

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."


[1] http://www.w3.org/Bugs/Public/show_bug.cgi?id=1049

[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/WD-qaframe-spec-20050428/#formal-language-gp


Received on Friday, 29 April 2005 12:48:51 UTC