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Subject: Re: [oiic-formation-discuss] Interoperability versus Conformity

"Jerome Davies" <jerome.davies@pdghelicopters.com> wrote on 06/11/2008 12:10:18 PM:

> -
> I'm not sure I have a clear idea of what I have in mind,
> partially due to my lack of knowledge of the Standard. However
> it seems that to have the best shot at a comprehensive
> auditable standard of interoperability we need to do two things
> 1. Define interoperability and what it covers
> 2. Tie these definitions to the standard
> I could be way off with this of course.

The traceability of our requirements is critical.  If we have a test document that says "verify that the application does X" then we better be sure we can cite chapter and verse of the ODF standard to where X is called for.

In fact, one approach, which I've seen done with another standard, is to read through the standard with a red pen and circle every testable statement that you find.  Then transcribe these statements into a spreadsheet, assign each one an ID and a category (requirement, recommendation, permission, possibility, and then define one or more tests.

Picking a page in ODF at random, I see:

15.4.26 Font Relief

Use the style:font-relief property to specify whether the font should be embossed, engraved, or neither.

<define name="style-text-properties-attlist" combine="interleave">
<attribute name="style:font-relief">

In this case, I'd parse this as a recommendation, since it says "should" rather than "shall".  I'd probably turn this into test cases stated formally as something like this (pseudo-code -- in reality we would need to define our own or borrow a similar assertion syntax):

IF (style:font-relief DOES-NOT-EXIST) THEN assert(display of font is not embossed and not engraved)
IF (style:font-relief EQUALS none ) THEN assert(display of font is not embossed and not engraved)
IF (style:font-relief EQUALS embossed) THEN assert(display of font is embossed)
IF (style:font-relief EQUALS engraved) THEN assert(display of font is engraved)
IF (style:font-relief EQUALS foo) THEN assert(error "foo is not a valid attribute value of style:font-relief")

So we have 5 testable propositions, or assertions, from that single ODF feature.  Turning these assertions into actual test cases should be almost a mechanical process, with little judgement involved.  Hopefully we can automate much of it.

That's one way of doing it, but not the only way.  It does enable a useful division of labor, where XML/ODF experts read the standard and transcribe provisions in a formal notation, while those with more expertise on the automation side work from the test assertion notation.

But now I'm getting ahead of myself.  Damn this contagious enthusiasm!


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