Re: Testable assertion tagging for W3C specifications

On Mon, 6 May 2002, Charles McCathieNevile wrote:

> ... not being able to test whether a specification is being met
> means that it is less a specification than a general description
> of an idea.

I do not think the above is true in general. For example, there are
numerous working implementations of HTTP specs while many HTTP
statements cannot be tested in a pragmatic way. The primary goal of a
specification is to enable building [compliant] implementations. This
goal is different from enabling [compliance] tests.

It would be great if all specs were 100% testable, but I do not think
it is possible in practice, regardless of the specs language. My
belief is based on a simple fact that both black- and white-box
testing techniques cannot achieve 100% coverage of a complex program
implementing the specs.

Testability should definitely be a priority, but it would be sad if we
get fewer good specs by accepting rigid and expensive testability
requirements. A poor solution is often worse than a simple
acknowledgment of the problem.


Received on Monday, 6 May 2002 17:28:22 UTC