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Re: Testable assertion tagging for W3C specifications

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Mon, 6 May 2002 15:28:17 -0600 (MDT)
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
cc: spec-prod@w3.org, w3c-query-editors@w3.org, www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.10.10205061503470.13308-100000@measurement-factory.com>
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

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