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Subject: Re: [office] Another view on conformance?

Dave Pawson <dave.pawson@gmail.com> wrote on 02/28/2009 02:59:25 AM:
> http://tr.im/gRUC
> Rick Jelliffe on Conformance, with a view on ODF.
> including:
> <quote>Conformance is hard. ISO standards have a constraint that only
> "verifiable" statements can be made in normative text: no airy fairy
> fluff. And I certainly belong to the camp that says that the clauses
> in IT standards (in particular document standards) should not only be
> "verifiable" but that they should be objectively and automatically
> verifiable in standard ways. </quote>

Certainly no disagreement with that. Normative statements must be 
testable.  And given a choice between something that requires manual/human 
judgement to test and something that can be tested automatically, choose a 
formulation that can be automated.  And given a choice between something 
that can be automated in a novel way (say an ad-hoc schema definition 
language) versus something that can be automated using an existing 
standard, e.g., a standardized schema definition language, then go with 
the standard technique. 

However, on the last point I think it is something we aspire to but not 
always achieve.  For example, OpenFormula has a NOW() spreadsheet function 
that returns the current date and time.  How, using standard techniques, 
does automate a test of that?  RAND() returns a random number.  Verifying 
correctness here is hard, even using non-traditional techniques.  It is 
inherently a probabilistic statement, not something you can prove or 
disprove with absolute certainty. 


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