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Subject: Question regarding TAG and TAML

Dear All,

As far as I understand Test Assertions are meant to kind of formalise Normative Statements in the specifications which is superb.

I couldn’t find a description for Test Assertion Mark-up Language in its spec but I reckon it provides a XML representation of the Test Assertions. However, I don’t quite get the point of a machine readable representation when the predicates are not formal.  For example in the following, which is the only example I could find in the TAML spec:

TA id: widget-TA104-2
Normative Source: specification requirement 104
Target: widget
Predicate: [the widget] is from 5 to 15 centimeters long in its longer
Prescription Level: mandatory
Tag: normative_property = medium-sized

And the XML representation:

<testAssertion id="widget-TA104-2">
. . .
<predicate> [the widget] is from LENGTH-A to LENGTH-B long in its
longer dimension</predicate>
. . .
<tag name="DefinesNormativeProperty">true</tag>
<tag name="NormativeProperty">medium-sized</tag>

To me it is still the same thing with not that much added semantic to the first representation and is readable but not understandable by machines.

Consider the following example from ebBP v2.0.4:

“The specific roles (e.g. buyer, seller) MUST be specified at the Business Transaction Activity level, when the Business Transaction definition is used for a distinct purpose.”

I am not an expert in writing TAs but I would write something like this:

TA id: ebBP-xxx
Normative Source: specification requirement 729 (the line number of the sentence for your reference)
Target: Role
Predicate: [the Role] is (?) specified at the Business Transaction Activity level, when the Business Transaction definition is used for a distinct purpose.
Prescription Level: mandatory

I am not sure if the way I wrote it is correct, but if it is, the predicate doesn’t add much to the textual information in the spec and I believe it is not easily measurable which contradicts the aim of TAs as far as I understand. My understanding is that the XML representation would not add that much to it either. 

Having said all these I am a bit struggling with the notion of Test Assertions and their XML representation  and am not sure how they can help in measuring the conformance of an implementation to a spec or maybe even how the mark-up can help in writing test cases.

I have to say I do agree that XML representation of Test Assertions could be very helpful, but if they have some logic base to make them machine understandable as opposed to only readable.

I would appreciate if you could shed some light on the matter.

Best regards

Bahareh R. Heravi
PhD Researcher
Department of Information Systems & Computing
Brunel University
Uxbridge, Middlesex, London, UB8 3PH, United Kingdom.
Web: http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~cspgbrh

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