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Subject: OASIS Call for Participation: Test Assertions Guidelines (TAG) TC

To:  OASIS members & interested parties

   A new OASIS technical committee is being formed. The OASIS Test Assertions Guidelines (TAG) Technical Committee has
been proposed by the members of OASIS listed below. The proposal, below, meets the requirements of the OASIS TC Process
[a]. The TC name, statement of purpose, scope, list of deliverables, audience, and language specified in the proposal
will constitute the TC's official charter. Submissions of technology for consideration by the TC, and the beginning of
technical discussions, may occur no sooner than the TC's first meeting.

   This TC will operate under our 2005 IPR Policy [b]. The eligibility requirements for becoming a participant in the TC
at the first meeting (see details below) are that:

   (a) you must be an employee of an OASIS member organization or an individual member of OASIS;
   (b) the OASIS member must sign the OASIS membership agreement [c];
   (c) you must notify the TC chair of your intent to participate at least 15 days prior to the first meeting, which
members may do by using the "Join this TC" button on the TC's public page at [d]; and
   (d) you must attend the first meeting of the TC, at the time and date fixed below.

Of course, participants also may join the TC at a later time. OASIS and the TC welcomes all interested parties.

   Non-OASIS members who wish to participate may contact us about joining OASIS [c]. In addition, the public may access
the information resources maintained for each TC: a mail list archive, document repository and public comments facility,
which will be linked from the TC's public home page at [d].

   Please feel free to forward this announcement to any other appropriate lists. OASIS is an open standards
organization; we encourage your feedback.



Mary P McRae
Manager of TC Administration, OASIS
email: mary.mcrae@oasis-open.org  
web: www.oasis-open.org 

[a] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/process.php
[b] http://www.oasis-open.org/who/intellectualproperty.php  
[c] See http://www.oasis-open.org/join/ 
[d] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/tc_home.php?wg_abbrev=tag

OASIS Test Assertions Guidelines (TAG) Technical Committee

Name and abbreviation:

OASIS Test Assertions Guidelines (TAG) Technical Committee


The design of Test Assertions (TAs) associated with a specification
or standard - referred to in this charter as target specification -
has the following recognized benefits: (i) it improves the quality
of this specification during its design, and (ii) it reduces the
lead time necessary to create a test suite for this specification.

A test assertion (TA), also sometimes defined as test specification,
  is understood in this charter with the following general meaning:
A TA is an independent, complete, testable statement for
requirements  in the specification. A TA always refers to an item
under test (IUT), which is assumed to implement all or parts of the
target specification, so that this IUT is concerned with the
requirements addressed by the TA. This reference is either implicit
or explicit if it is necessary that the TA identifies the item under
test in some unambiguous manner. A TA describes the expected output
or behavior for the item under test within specific operation
conditions, in a way that can be measured or tested. A TA may refer
to a test harness architecture, of which a description limited to
the interactions between its components and the IUT may be
sufficient. Test assertions are generally different from test cases,
which are more detailed and contingent to a concrete test framework:
TAs are the basis to write test cases, and relate the latter to the
narrative of the target specification.

The general objective served by this TC is to facilitate the
creation  and usage of test assertions by any group involved in
designing a specification or standard of which software
implementations are expected to be developed, with a primary focus
on OASIS technical committees. The first step in achieving this is
to establish a common and reusable model, metadata, methodology and
representation for TAs.

This is aligned with the intent of the former OASIS Conformance TC,
although the focus in the current initiative is not on the various
aspects of quality and conformance, but on a specific one, namely
test assertions.

This TC also may submit its deliverables to the OASIS Technical
Advisory  Board (TAB) with the ultimate intent of having these
deliverables recommended to the OASIS Board of Directors for
contribution to a future revision of the OASIS TC Process,
rules aiming at improving the quality and adoption of OASIS
output. The TC would accept feedback and recommendations from the
TAB and OASIS Board.

The TC will also facilitate the promotion of its deliverables and
give them the visibility necessary to reach potential users in other
standard organizations.


The scope of activity for this TC must be within the following topics:

  -- TA model: A model for designing Test Assertions (TA model),
that is independent from any particular target specification or
standard, but that may recognize different types of test
assertions, and may accommodate these in a specific way. Test
assertions may be for verifying conformance of an implementation to
a specification, or interoperability between implementations of the
same specification.  The TA model may address any useful
relationship identified between TAs, such as pre-requisites or
pre-conditions. It may include support for grouping several TAs - or
grouping entities - but will not pretend to fully model such
entities as conformance profiles, specification modules or
implementation roles.

  -- Test Environment modeling: Guidelines for characterizing the
test environment or test harness assumed by the test assertions, as
well as the item under test or IUT (an implementation of  all or
part of the target specification). Such characterization may remain
abstract by just focusing on the interaction between test
environment and IUT. This characterization may state the expected
properties and mode of operation required from the test environment
in order to verify the TAs. It may be seen as some of the
requirements for a real test harness intended to process test cases
based on these TAs.

  -- Related Notions: Within scope is the selection and/or
refinement of definitions of concepts expected to be related to TAs,
even if not  directly targeted by the modeling and methodology work
of this TC.  Such concepts may include: test case, conformance
profile or level, test environment / harness, test execution.

  -- Methodology: A methodology to make use of this model. This may
include examples derived from applying the above TA model to
particular specifications or standards.

  -- XML Markup: An XML representation for TAs and - if appropriate
- for their grouping entities. Additional notations supporting the
modeling of TAs (e.g. UML) are also within scope. The intent of the
  XML representation is left at the discretion of the TC. It could
be intended as an exchange format for editing tools, or as a source
for rendering/publishing, or as an input for a test tool, or a
combination of these.

  -- Case Studies: Investigation off current practices in other
OASIS TCs or other organizations which have already written test
assertions  for their specifications.

  -- Liaison and Promotion: Within scope are efforts to liaise with
other organizations than OASIS, and cooperation with external
contributors and groups that can provide input to the TC as well as
become users of its deliverables. Joint deliverables are within

Explicitly Out-of-scope:

  -- Defining test case metadata or representation. (Several
developments are occurring in this area.)

  -- Modeling or methodology of dimensions of variability such as
conformance profiles / levels / modules / discretionary items.
Substantial prior work exists in these areas. However the TC may use
this prior work as a foundation and may also accommodate these
constructs when designing an XML markup for TAs.


The TC will produce the following deliverables, in this order:

(a) Test Assertions Guideline document, including definitions,
abstract model and structure not excluding the use of a modeling
notation (e.g. UML), methodology and examples showing how to extract
TAs from a target specification.

(b) A representation of TAs in XML, that refers to and supports the
TA model of (a).


The TC will aim at a Public Review draft of the Test Assertions
Guideline (a) before end of 2007. The guideline will be processed at
least to Committee Specification level, and up to OASIS standard if
considered appropriate by the TC.

The TC will aim at a Public Review draft of the TA XML Markup (b)
within first half of 2008. The TA Markup will be processed at least
to Committee Specification level, and up to OASIS standard if
considered appropriate by the TC

IPR Mode:

Royalty-Free on Limited Terms.


The TC is welcoming any OASIS member with an interest and/or
experience in conformance, testing and quality assurance. Users of
the TC deliverables are expected to be members of any OASIS
technical committee.




Complement to the Test Assertions Guideline Technical Committee

1. Related and Similar Work

The following standards and specification projects may be relevant
to the TC's deliberations. A common point in the following works,
is that they treat Test Assertions at best very lightly. Their
main focus is on other aspects of QA. In contrast, the TAG
objective is to exclusively emphasize the test Assertions, as
the single most critical factor of the testability of
specifications, and the  foundation to any conformance statement.
The TAG deliberately ignores other QA aspects to force users'
attention on TAs. The TC is interested in liaison with other
relevant open standards panels with a testing focus, but notes that
the efforts below mostly have concluded.

  (1) Conformance requirements for Specifications (OASIS, March

The focus is on Conformance statements, a small section is dedicated
to test Assertions. This is not sufficient for TAG charter, rather
complementary to it.

  (2) Conformance testing and Certification Framework (OASIS,
Conformance TC, June 2001)

is about testing guidelines and certification process. This concerns
steps that are subsequent to the TA definitions. In fact, proper TA
definitions are a prerequisite to this testing / certification phase.

  (3) QA Framework: Specification Guidelines (W3C, November 2004)
This work is an exhaustive QA guideline, yet only makes a small
coverage of test Assertions, for which the reader does not get much
guidance. It does not convey the importance that TAs should have
according to this TAG charter. We see the TAG charter as a
concrete, detailed guidance to achieve a piece of what the QA
Framework recommends.

  (4) Variability in Specifications, WG note (W3C, 2005)
Is a detailed guide on conformance technology, focused on a
technical aspect of conformance. A complement to [3], and an
in-depth study of some aspects defined in [1]. Same comments apply
as for [1].

  (5) Test Assertion Documents for WS-I profiles (2003-2005).
Is an instance of test assertions for a particular standardization
work (here, WS-I profiles). While this work represents valuable
input, it is not a guideline for a larger number of specifications.

  (6) Test Metadata, QA Interest Group note, (W3C, September 2005)
This work provides some ontology and terminology; most of it
appears to be relevant to TAs as well as to test development and
execution (the prime focus of the document). However it is no
substitute for modeling and methodology of TAs, but rather, a
terminology resource for a TA guideline.

2. First Meeting:

Time: Thursday May 3rd, 2:00 pm GMT/UTC
(3 pm UK, 4 pm Brussels/Wien, 10 pm Beijing, 11 pm Seoul/Tokyo, 7 am
San Francisco, 10 am Boston)
Duration:  90 minutes or less

Style: Conference call (dial-in info will be sent later)
Sponsor:  Fujitsu.

3. Projected Meeting Schedule:

Either 1h every week, or 2h every two weeks, depending on TC member
preferences. Assuming the first meeting is a conference call, a
face-to-face meeting will be set within 3 months of the first
meeting - June or July - once the work has actually started, to
maximize the value of face time.

4. Proposers:

   Hyunbo Cho, Korea Institute for Electronic Commerce,
   Patrick Curran, Sun, Patrick.Curran@Sun.COM
   Jacques Durand, Fujitsu, jdurand@us.fujitsu.com
   Lynne Rosenthal, US National Institute of Standards and
Technology, lsr@nist.gov
   Victor Rudometov, Sun Microsystems, Victor.Rudometov@Sun.COM

5. Convener:

Jacques Durand, Fujitsu

6. List of Contributions:

This work is anticipated to be contributed to this TC: Test
Assertion Guideline draft, (originally initiated within OASIS TAB,

7. Proposed Working Title for deliverables:

Deliverable #1: Test Assertion Guideline - name: "TA Guideline".
Deliverable #2: Test Assertion XML representation - name: "TA Markup".

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