World Wide Web Consortium Marks Completion of Quality Assurance Working Group with New Recommendation

"Specification Guidelines" aid in the creation of implementable technical standards

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http://www.w3.org/ -- 17 August 2005 -- The Quality Assurance (QA) Working Group of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) concludes its work this month with the completion of the Specification Guidelines W3C Recommendation, a document which provides clear instruction to writers and editors on creating implementable technical specifications. The QA Interest Group is continuing W3C's four-year effort in outreach through a variety of mailing lists and maintenance of online tools.

"Over the years, we have heard developers call for both standards and ways to test adherence to standards," explained Steve Bratt, W3C COO. "The W3C Quality Assurance Activity led the way in the development of guidelines and tools, helping our Working Groups create implementable specifications, and in turn helping software developers understand and implement W3C technologies. QA's products will be integral resources that ensure the work of W3C's Working Groups is of high quality."

Quality Assurance is Essential to Standards Development and Deployment

W3C launched the QA Activity in 2001, following a successful Workshop, with these goals: to improve W3C specifications by offering guidelines to W3C groups, by reviewing draft specifications for adherence to these guidelines, and by helping W3C groups develop test suites and other tools to promote interoperable implementations.

W3C's QA Working Group Highlights Good Practices in Document Series

Since that time, the QA Working Group produced six documents, including today's new Recommendation, the Specification Guidelines. By identifying both requirements and "good practices," the Specification Guidelines help both W3C and other specification authors create and describe technologies in ways that make it easier for developers to implement them as intended. The QA Working Group also put together templates for writing conformance clauses as well as full specifications.

In addition, the QA Working Group has published the QA Framework Primer, QA Test FAQ, the Variability in Specifications Working Draft, and The QA Handbook. One of the group's more famous and useful documents is the W3C Quality Assurance Matrix, a list of over 100 W3C specifications, with links to conformance clauses, test suites and validators.

W3C's Quality Assurance Effort Supported by W3C Members, Developer Community

W3C's QA efforts had the support of W3C Members and the broader development community from the start. Since its inception, the Activity included participants from Boeing, Microsoft, NIST, The Open Group, RealNetworks, and Sun Microsystems.

As many in the Web community are interested in creating implementable specifications, but may not be able to make the kind of time commitments required for successful Working Group participation, W3C also formed the QA Interest Group. This group has both public and Member involvement, and has been critical in developing efforts that encourage better-written specifications, test suites, and validators. Through participation on the W3C public evangelist mailing list, Web designers and developers the world over have contributed practical and up-to-date ideas for making better specifications and educational materials. The software development work launched by the Interest Group will also continue, ensuring a reliable set of tools and validators.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, nearly 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see http://www.w3.org/