W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-qa-wg@w3.org > August 2005

Comments on Test FAQ

From: Lynne S. Rosenthal <lsr@email.nist.gov>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 18:17:29 +0000
Message-Id: <03BD0C90-78DC-4553-BC72-36F341398038@email.nist.gov>
To: <www-qa-wg@w3.org>
The general consensus of the NIST review is that Test FAQ is a useful  
document, well written, and in good shape.  All liked the document.  
Below are several comments and suggestions.



Suggest switching first 2 paragraphs, so we say what the FAQ is about  
prior to saying who it is for.  (don’t feel too strongly about this).

Change email address for feedback  (currently W3C QA WG)

1. What kinds of testing is important in the W3C?


/In order to promote these goals/To promote these goals/

Conformance Testing bullet: Statement not entirely correct.

a.   Some specs include requirements for usability, performance, etc  
– so if a specification contains these, then they could be tested by  
conformance testing.

b.  As written, it implies that only mandatory requirements are  
tested for conformance. However, optional functionality can also be  
tested.  Need to make it clear that any requirements (mandatory or  
optional) can be subject to conformance testing (‘formally required  
in the spec” is misleading).  The main point is that conformance  
testing is bound in scope by what is in the specification.

Interoperability Testing:  (…of a given specification”).  Often  
interoperability testing involves different specifications not just  
one spec.

2.  When should test development start?


Test development isn’t actually mentioned until the third paragraph.   
Suggest adding an introductory sentence such as, “Test development  
starts with test planning.”

Rather than say that test development process should be before spec  
is frozen – we should say that test development should start as soon  
as possible, so that it can be part of a feedback process, back into  
the spec since it helps to identify…..

The reason for elaborating on the ‘frozen’ is that frozen means  
different things to people, and the idea is to start as early as  

3. Who will develop the tests?

/appeal for contributions/appeal for contributions and volunteers./

This may be mis-named, since much of the discussion is about How to  
manage Contributions.  Perhaps, split this into 2 separate questions  
or a 3a and 3b since they are related.  3a is Who will develop the  
tests and contain the 1st para; 3b How to manage test contributions  
is all the rest.

Don’t know it this goes here (or if we want to include it)

Consider using automated test generation tools to create the tests.    
This can be related to coverage – being able to generate more tests.   
Also, and very important, is being able to be responsive and flexible  
– that is being able to generate tests when the spec continues to  
change (while its under development).

Last paragraph, metadata to be supplied…(including a description of  
the purpose…)  Suggest we update this to reflect the test data model  
elements – i.e., identifier of the test case, purpose of the test  
case, reference (pointer) to the portion of the spec that is tested,  
and expected results or indicator of success).  The reason for  
elaborating on expected results is that it may not be possible to  
identify a specific result, it may be more applicable to indicate  
what is success, what is failure.

7.  What makes a good test?

Last bullet: Correct

Move and make first bullet.

What is meant by ‘correct’ can we elaborate?  Does this mean that the  
test correctly tests what it says it does or that it tests the  
correct behavior with respect to some feature?  What about tests that  
are purposely wrong – i.e, to trigger error conditions.

8. How many tests are enough?

Missing word in “Depth measurements are more subjective, since they  
require that you to estimate”

Test coverage reports can also indicate to test developers which  
areas of the spec require tests.

11. How should I package and publish my tests?

This mentions ‘test harness’, for the first time.  We don’t explain  
what a test harness is or what it could be (since I think people may  
have different definitions of it).  We should either add another  
Question on What is a Test Harness; or explain it here.

It is used again in Questions 12 and 13.

12. What about documentation

/making it easily and immediately/making the documentation easily and  

15. How should I handle bugs in my test suite?

Actually, you may purposely put bugs into the test suite – e.g.,  
error testing.  Need to make sure this is not what you mean.

17. Should we implement a branding or certification program?

/fully fledged/complete/

‘legally risky’  Don’t this we should be concerned with this – it is  
the lawyers who should judge what is risky.  Suggest we say that  
branding and certification are complex decisions involving legal and  
business decisions.


Examples from Schema

The Schema test suite process document is at:

Process.html  Section 4, Procedural Issues, might be a useful  
reference for FAQs 3, 6, 9, 11, 12, 15 and 16, because it addresses  
who will develop tests, provides schemas for test submission and  
results reporting, discusses issues associated with the publication  
of test results (along with a mechanism for the testing entity to  
stipulate publication scope inside the test results themselves),  
describes a dispute resolution procedure for potentially buggy tests,  
and so on.

Received on Monday, 22 August 2005 20:16:44 UTC

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