Unicorn: harmonized observation framework for validation, conformace, quality, etc.

Dear all,

First, please accept my apologies for the cross-posting. I suppose  
this is a logical curse for a message about a harmonizing too, that  
it touches topics covered by a number of communities, and it takes a  
certain amount of cross-posting. If you reply, please use some  
restraint in cross-posting: replies aimed at the developers should be  
sent to <public-qa-dev@w3.org>. Thank you.

One of the problems common to all quality checking effort is that is  
is usually impossible for one tool to do it all, for a number of  
reasons. The best reason, probably, is that a do-it-all-and-coffee  
tool will seldom be as efficient, well designed and maintained as a  
very precise tool designed for a single goal. Yet, in terms of  
usability, needing to check a Web document through 3 tools for the  
sole task of checking the markup, style and the presence broken links  
is hardly a pleasure.

With that in mind, there has been an effort in the qa-dev team to  
come up with a solution: first with some formalized ideas (by Terje  
Bless and Bjoern Hoerhmann) in the context of markup validator  
modularization, and now within a software projects led by Damien  
Leroy and Jean-Guilhem Rouel, code named "Unicorn".

The goal of Unicorn is to create a framework capable of organizing  
the work on multiple observers on a single document, orchestrate  
their work in pre-defined tasks, gather their observations (be that  
validation errors, broken links, spelling mistakes, etc) and present  
them in a useful manner to the end user. The strategy used, since all  
the tools we commonly use are written in different languages, barring  
us from using a code-level library approach, is to organize the  
framework with web services.

A short writeup about the framework is at:

and the more detailed documentation for the project is at:
with technical specifications for the "contract", "task", "observers'  
output", etc.

Worth noting is that the tool is already functional (at an alpha test  
level) and that we should have a public demo running rather soon. The  
source code will be public and open, as always with our tools.

Feedback (if possible sent only to the developers' list public-qa- 
dev@w3.org) is very welcome, either on the principle, the  
technologies used, the schemas developed, etc.

Also, if you are the developer of a checking tool which you think  
would be a good observer for that framework, and if you haven't heard  
from me on that topic:
1- check your spam mailbox :)
2- drop us a line on public-qa-dev, we'd be happy to talk with you

Finally, feel free to spread the word about this development project  
to selected forums or lists if you think they could be interested.

Thank you,
olivier Thereaux - W3C - http://www.w3.org/People/olivier/
W3C Open Source Software: http://www.w3.org/Status

Received on Wednesday, 26 July 2006 06:01:15 UTC