there could be a little bit of chicken
and egg problem here.
wondering how Patrick C. sees the
to-be-created guideline different from the one in his reference .
highlight your thoughts. There are also a number of article out there
to QA practice (looking from the references in )
think if this TC were to create a guideline,
it should be more grounded and more concise than  (focuses on TA).
And one way
I can think of is to ground (and scope) it based on a data
for I think that this TC should definitely propose a mark up. I think
model should be drafted first b/c it will serve as a central point of
discussion and the driver for the guideline. I think 80% vote for (c)
should not have to publish them in sequence. Why not release both at
time. In my experience, a guideline results in much more impact with
of template (it makes much more sense to read a guideline when you have
something to fill in). Ex. The ebXML UMM has been of little use without
template, similarly I think the UML would not have been popular without
Never too late to jump in :-) I think you made a good case for a first
deliverable just being a guideline - but a broadly applicable and
- even if the first step is a TA methodology guideline without
ambition beyond that (e.g. mark-up) you don' t seem to rule out a more
formal TA representation in a next step. :
Now, trying to nail down
what is an agreeable TC charter for
people on this list, which one(s) of the following options would you
that only targets a TA guideline as unique deliverable, and explicitly
any work on a formal representation (e.g. XML mark-up). Any intent to
deliverables beyond this guideline, after being done with the
require a re-chartering of the TC.
that targets a TA guideline as first deliverable (mandatory), and also
the TC - should the TC consider it useful - to produce another
(optional) containing a TA representation or mark-up. The TC may also
(vote) at that time on the purpose of this mark-up, as it may impact
design. E.g. may decide that requirements for this mark-up are just for
same as (b),
but the 2nd deliverable - the TA mark-up or whatever representation -
is not an
option, I.e. it is understood the TC is supposed to produce it.
In all 3 above, the TC must focus on a guideline in a first phase, that
excludes a mark-up or formal TA representation. It may work on a
second phase, and this deliverable will be distinct (a different
the guideline deliverable. Only, it is easier to do so when going from
in (a), Re-chartering the TC to extend its scope is a bit more
requires 2/3 majority to pass. Also needs be done with same IPR mode.
in (b), TC may decide either to NOT do the mark-up (simple majority
to do it, after producing the guideline deliverable.
in (c), TC is committed to work on a mark-up after being done with 1st
deliverable. (I know that some folks have mentioned they consider this
everyone welcome to " vote" on this too... or add alternative
if you really can' t live with any above option...
From: Patrick.Curran@Sun.COM [mailto:Patrick.Curran@Sun.COM]
Sent: Tuesday, December 05, 2006 6:24 PM
Subject: [tag-discuss] Keep It Simple
I've lurked for too long - sorry about that. I've been following the
with great interest, and it's time for me to jump in. I'll start by
some general opinions and suggestions, and then hopefully I'll be able
respond in more detail to some individual messages.
In the interests of making progress in a reasonable period of time, and
defining something that is likely to be adopted by a significant number
writers and test developers, I propose that we Keep It Simple.
Our primary goal should be to encourage and promote the use of test
by specification writers. The W3C QA Working Group briefly discussed
of test assertions in the QA Framework:
Specification Guidelines , but much remains to be done to explain
justify their use. Publication of a "guidelines" document, even
without any definition of structure or markup would be extremely
test developers spend a considerable amount of time identifying
this could have been done by the spec authors.)
While it is theoretically possible to write specifications in formal
and to write (or even automatically derive) detailed, structured test
assertions from which test cases can be automatically generated, most
authors would not use these approaches. (With some notable exceptions -
example the Java Language and Virtual Machine specs - most specs in the
world are written in English by people whose primary job is not the
formal specifications, but rather of creating software which they
best they can.)
I therefore suggest that we declare these topics out of scope, at least
first phase of our work.
A topic of lively discussion within the W3C Working Group was whether
possible to classify "testable sentences" within a specification as
test assertions, or whether assertions must necessarily be "derived"
from the specification and formulated separately in some kind of
the spec. I believe that we must allow for both possibilities. (Here in
Java world we usually identify text within the specs as assertions, but
that other approach is preferred
The QAWG eventually agreed that both approaches were valid, and
test assertion as "a measurable or testable statement of behavior,
or condition [that is] contained within or derived from the
requirements and provides a normative foundation from which one or more
cases can be built."
In addition to promoting the identification/creation of test
simple XHTML markup would be very helpful. For example, when an
contained within the specification we might mark it up like
<assertion id="123">The horizontal and vertical sides of a
square are equal in length.</assertion> This means that you can
square by 90 degrees and it will look just the same.
Alternatively, if the text of an assertion is not found directly within
specification but instead is derived from it and recorded separately,
be marked up like this (note that we now need to provide a pointer into
specification to indicate where the assertion was derived from):
The horizontal and vertical sides of a square must be equal in
If the TC achieved no more than this (encouraging spec authors to
assertions and defining a simple markup) I would be very pleased.
A well-defined list of assertions is key to much of the test
process, and a great deal can be built from this simple foundation -
example, coverage maps and reports, "marked-up" specifications that
link assertions to test cases, etc. (See "How Many Tests are Enough?"
in the Test Development FAQ  for my thoughts on coverage
example, here at Sun we have a tool that we use to identify and mark
assertions within Javadoc, to associate assertions with test cases, and
generate reports that tell us how extensively we've covered various
the specifications. Industry standards in this area would allow us to
more widely useful version of this tool.
Of course, once we've defined a markup for assertions there will always
great temptation to add more structure and additional elements.
What version(s) of the spec does this assertion apply to? Is it
a Profile or another "Dimension of Variability" ? How important is
it that it be tested? Is it tested, and if so how thoroughly?
Some additional structure is probably appropriate for test assertions,
might want to consider starting with a "Basic Profile" that defines
the minimum necessary elements and expand on this in a later phase to
However, we should beware of conflating test (case) metadata with test
assertions. They don't necessarily belong together. (An assertion
is to be tested, whereas test metadata typically helps to define how to
Given a simple assertion ID as suggested above, test metadata stored
from the specification or assertion list could easily be integrated
with it. As
an author of the Test Metadata document  David referred to in
thread, I encourage those who wish to work on test metadata to do so
the W3C QA Interest Group rather than here.
In conclusion, I suggest limiting our phase one activities to a
"guidelines" document that explains the value and promotes the use of
test assertions, and the definition of a simple markup that allows them
identified within text specifications and also in separate "assertion
lists". As the QA Framework: Specification Guidelines 
"Test assertions facilitate the development of consistent, complete
specifications and promote the early development of test cases.
Developing or extracting test assertions helps uncover inconsistencies,
ambiguities, gaps, and non-testable statements in the specification. It
provide early feedback to the editors regarding areas that need
added benefit is that the assertions are usable as input to test
For the record, I do believe we should form a TC and I don't believe
need a workshop before we can do so, though I think there would be
benefit to some kind of meeting once we've made a start.
I'm looking forward to participating, and will encourage other members
team to do so too.
Manager, Java SE Conformance Test Development, Sun Microsystems
 QA Framework: Specification Guidelines:
 Test Development FAQ: http://www.w3.org/QA/WG/2005/01/test-faq
 Variability in Specifications: http://www.w3.org/TR/spec-variability/
 Test Metadata: http://www.w3.org/TR/test-metadata/
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