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Subject: Re: draft proposal 0.3 - Establishing the conformance landscape

[I have been lurking since this list was started. I think the discussion is reaching a point where my experience with the OASIS Conformance TC and XSLT Conformance Testing TC may yield some useful comments.]

A well-written spec would have a conformance clause that defines which classes of product are intended to be subject to conformance testing. I didn't see such a clause in ODF 1.1, so I tried to discern the class-of-product intent from various parts of the document. See [1] for the OASIS view of conformance, but note that the dimensions of variability have been superseded by [2]. Based primarily on sections 1.5 and 1.7, I see references to the conformance of four classes of product:
(A) Conforming reader or display application
(B) Conforming producer of ODF, that is not an ODF editor
(C) Conforming reader-writer, such as an ODF editor
(D) Conforming ODF documents
I think most of the discussion so far has been assuming conformance testing of (A) and a test regime would supply documents as input and examine how they are displayed by the app. Testing of (D) would be more like validating the documents against a schema, which would also be an indirect test of (B). Perhaps (C) can be deferred, but it should be in scope for this TC.

Also note that classes A-D above will have different stakeholders, as addressed in part 1f of the charter. I think we should strengthen the protection for class (D) stakeholders by explicit acknowledgement that some indirect beneficiaries hope to issue ODF documents that will be permannetly guaranteed to be readable by a conforming (A) reader. Also, the vision-impaired should be acknowledged as appropriate for all the classes of product, so that conforming documents may someday be accessible to all.

Yes, the ODF TC owns the definition of conformance for ODF. Let's hope that they do better in the future. I think it is reasonable for the Interop & Conformance TC to acknowledge the other TC's role as part of the charter.

In addition to class of product, Variability in Specifications [2] identifies other dimensions that may apply to ODF. The clearest one is probably discretionary items, since the spec gives a lot of leeway for specific items to be implemented or not. (But if they are implemented, they must conform.) Extensibility is also present. I couldn't discern any use of levels, modules, or deprecation, but others may find something.

Profiles are a very interesting dimension of variability for ODF. Appendix D of 1.1 hints at some possible profiles, one for each column in the table. The draft charter for this TC identifies other potential profiles under 1c, bullets 4 and 5. This is not necessarily a conflict with the ODF TC's ownership of the specification of conformance; a spec can permit others to develop profiles. I urge all who would like to reword the charter to read up on profiles.
.................David Marston
IBM Research

[1] http://www.oasis-open.org/committees/download.php/305/conformance_requirements-v1.pdf
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2005/NOTE-spec-variability-20050831/

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