Re: Testable assertion tagging for W3C specifications

Good point.


On Mon, 6 May 2002, Alex Rousskov wrote:

  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.


Charles McCathieNevile  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative  fax: +33 4 92 38 78 22
Location: 21 Mitchell street FOOTSCRAY Vic 3011, Australia
(or W3C INRIA, Route des Lucioles, BP 93, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France)

Received on Monday, 6 May 2002 17:29:49 UTC