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Re: Testable assertion tagging for W3C specifications

From: Alex Rousskov <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 13:58:21 -0600 (MDT)
To: David Marston/Cambridge/IBM <david_marston@us.ibm.com>
cc: www-qa@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.BSF.4.10.10205291336310.2562-100000@measurement-factory.com>

On Tue, 28 May 2002, David Marston/Cambridge/IBM wrote:

> Alex Rousskov writes:
> >I believe we can come up with a simple addressing scheme if we limit
> >the problem domain to, say, the extraction of single pieces from XML
> >documents.
> I think we need to recognize a smallish taxonomy. For example, the
> "productions" used in some Recommendations should be marked as such.
> Likewise, standalone testable sentences might be separately tagged
> from sentences which are testable but have constraints on their
> applicability which can be derived from a larger context. For example,
> a spec may have several sequential paragraphs about how general XML is
> to be handled, followed by several sequential paragraphs about XHTML,
> then HTML, etc. The tags for testable sentences within those regions
> should at least indicate that the sentences are not universal.

I agree that Recommendations SHOULD mark productions, assertions, etc.

However, the addressing scheme in question does not need to know what
those markers are in advance. If the addressing scheme can
isolate/address any sequential piece of text (or XML fragment?), then
it can isolate/address those productions, assertions, etc. Any test
suite will know what markers are used in the corresponding
Recommendation and MAY use them when writing "addresses".

In other words, QAWG should encourage WGs to mark productions and
assertions. A test suite writer may use those marks (specific to WG)
to address pieces of the Recommendation. The Universal Addressing
Scheme, if any, does not need to know (i.e., hard-code) those specific

If QAWG is inclined to develop and support a few nice DTDs with
convenient markers, that's fine, but should not be related to the
addressing scheme and is unlikely to cover all needs.
> Another situation is the presentation of normative instructions in
> tabular form, such as the notorious table of data-type
> conversions. In effect, each cell of the table is a testable
> assertion, even if it isn't a standalone expression in text.

Yes, and that is why I do not believe that a complex addressing scheme
(or assertion tagging scheme) will ever be complex enough to cover all
possible situations.

I am trying to dance from the requirements of those who need to
address assertions and other pieces of W3C documents. My understanding
is that no tag taxonomy is needed to address pieces of text or XML. We
are not talking about the process of automatically locating assertions
in a random Recommendation, are we? While fun, that task seems to have
little utility. After all, there can be no "generic" test suite; one
must understand Recommendation to properly test against it (in

Received on Wednesday, 29 May 2002 15:59:03 UTC

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