Requirements for the Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) 1.0

W3C Working Draft 11 July 2005

This version:
Latest version:
Jim Ley, Invited Expert <jim@jibbering.com>
Shadi Abou-Zahra, World Wide Web Consortium <shadi@w3.org>


This document describes the requirements for the scope, design and features of the Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) 1.0. The Evaluation and Report Language is a standardized format to express test results. The primary motivation for developing this language is to facilitate the exchange of test results between Web accessibility evaluation tools in a vendor neutral and platform independent format. It will also provide reusable vocabulary for generic Web quality assurance and validation purposes.

Status of this Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at http://www.w3.org/TR/.

The Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group (ERT WG) encourages feedback about this document, Requirements for the Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) 1.0, by Web developers and researchers who have interest in software-supported evaluation and validation of Web sites. In particular, the group is looking for feedback about how complete these requirements are, and how well they address generic Web quality assurance and validation purposes.

The purpose of Requirements for EARL 1.0 is to focus and guide the development of EARL 1.0 to Recommendation status. The ERT WG was rechartered in 2005 to resume work on the EARL 1.0 Working Draft of 6 December 2002. While the ERT WG had previously made significant progress on the EARL 1.0 Working Draft, the group had never produced a requirements document. The ERT WG has developed Requirements for EARL 1.0 in order to ensure clarity and consensus on the goals for EARL 1.0 before its completion.

Please send comments to the mailing list of the ERT WG. The archives for this list are publicly available.

This is a W3C First Public Working Draft of the Requirements for the Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) 1.0. This document will be published and maintained as a W3C Working Group Note after review and refinement. Publication as a Working Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

This document has been produced as part of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). The ERT WG is part of the WAI Technical Activity. The goals of the ERT WG are discussed in the Working Group charter.

Table of Contents


On 1 January 2005, the ERT Working Group was chartered to continue the development of EARL 1.0. The following is a collection of requirements set forth by the Working Group. Each requirement is labeled with one of the following key words:

The specification produced by the WG must satisfy this requirement.
The specification produced by the WG must address this requirement.
The specification produced by the WG can exclude this requirement.

1. Scope

EARL 1.0 will be a formal language to describe test results.
EARL 1.0 will be abstract enough to describe generic test results from the domain of Web quality assurance.
EARL 1.0 will be sufficiently complete to describe test results from the domain of Web accessibility evaluation.

2. Design

EARL 1.0 will be an RDF Schema as defined by the RDF Vocabulary Description Language 1.0
EARL 1.0 will be developed and published according to the W3C QA Framework: Specification Guidelines.
EARL 1.0 will be machine readable and computational within reasonable time.
Editorial Note: the term reasonable time is ambiguous. See the message about machine processable constraint for more information.
EARL 1.0 should reuse existing vocabulary whenever possible and appropriate.
EARL 1.0 will support the extension of its core vocabulary to specific domains.
EARL 1.0 will provide built-in extensions of its core vocabulary to the domain of Web accessibility evaluation.
EARL 1.0 will support automated, semi-automated, manual, or heuristic testing.
EARL 1.0 will provide vocabulary that supports internationalization.
EARL 1.0 will define a conformance model consisting of a minimal set of required vocabulary and restrictions on how to use them.

3. Features

EARL 1.0 will provide a framework for describing the context in which the results were obtained.
EARL 1.0 will provide mechanisms to relate test results with the specific location within the subject that triggered the result where applicable.
EARL 1.0 should support persistency of the validity of the results with respect to modifications or variations of the subject due to its dynamic nature where applicable.
EARL 1.0 will support aggregation of test results according to different criteria (for example with respect to the subject).
EARL 1.0 may support backward compatibility of the language with previous versions published in earlier Working Drafts.