Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) Overview
The Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) is a machine-readable format for expressing test results. The primary motivation for developing EARL is to facilitate the processing of test results, such as those generated by web accessibility evaluation tools, using a vendor-neutral and platform-independent format.
Web authoring tools and quality assurance software can use EARL to aggregate test results obtained from different testing tools including web accessibitity evaluation tools, validators, and other types of content checkers. EARL uses the Resource Description Framework (RDF) to define the terms for expressing test results.
EARL is primarily intended for developers of:
- Web accessibility evaluation tools
- Web quality assurance and validation tools
- Web authoring and development tools
- Web content description and labeling frameworks
EARL is an RDF vocabulary, the terms of which are defined by the following specifications:
- Evaluation And Report Language (EARL) 1.0 Schema - Last Call Working Draft 10 May 2011 - defines the core schema for EARL. It is planned to become a W3C Web standard, called a W3C Recommendation.
- Developer Guide for Evaluation And Report Language (EARL) 1.0 - Working Draft 10 May 2011 - describes the motivations for EARL and provide a tutorial introduction on how to use the terms. It is planned to become a W3C Note.
- HTTP Vocabulary in RDF 1.0 - Working Draft 10 May 2011 - provides terms to record HTTP exchanges between a client and a server in RDF. It is planned to become a W3C Note.
- Representing Content in RDF 1.0 - Working Draft 10 May 2011 - provides terms to represent content (such as HTTP body entities) in RDF. It is planned to become a W3C Note.
- Pointer Methods in RDF 1.0 - Working Draft 10 May 2011 - provides terms for representing pointers - entities that permit identifying a portion or segment of a piece of content. It is planned to become a W3C Note.
- Requirements for the Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) 1.0 - Working Draft 29 October 2009 - describes the requirements for the scope, design, and features of EARL.
The difference between W3C Recommendations and W3C Notes are described in How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process.
EARL 1.0 reuses other RDF terms such as those provided by the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) and the Friend Of A Friend (FOAF) project. EARL terms can also be reused for other purposes, such as for content description and content labeling.
On 10 May 2011 ERT WG published EARL 1.0 Schema as a Last Call Working Draft. This Last Call publication is accompanied by Working Draft publications of the remaining four EARL 1.0 specifications. ERT WG believes to have addressed all comments received so far and is looking for final feedback, especially on the EARL 1.0 Schema document. The "Status of this Document" sections of the respective publications includes specific questions and guidance for providing comments. The review period for this series of publications ends on 10 June 2011, after which ERT WG will assess the next steps.
The ERT WG Charter lists the deliverables and milestones that the Working Group expects to accomplish, see also How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process for more information on how these deliverables are accomplished.
Technical document format
The EARL 1.0 documents follow the W3C format for technical specifications, which includes several sections at the beginning: links to different versions, editors, copyright, abstract, and status with the link to errata and the email address for comments. Most WAI specifications have a link at the top to the Table of Contents.
EARL documents are developed by the Evaluation and Repair Tools Working Group (ERT WG), which is part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). For more information about the Working Group, see the ERT WG home page.
The ERT Working Group encourages feedback about EARL by developers and researchers who have interest in software-supported evaluation and validation of Web sites. Feedback from developers and researchers who have interest in Semantic Web technologies for content description, annotation, and adaptation is also strongly encouraged. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, a publicly archived mailing list.
In addition to feedback on an on-going basis there are formal periods for public review, which are described in How WAI Develops Accessibility Guidelines through the W3C Process: Milestones and Opportunities to Contribute. Opportunities for review and comment of WAI documents are announced on the WAI home page and WAI Interest Group (IG) mailing list. An email address for sending comments is included in the "Status of this Document" section. For more information about the development of EARL or to be added to a EARL reviewer list of people who want to get direct notification of EARL documents for review, contact the ERT WG Team Contact.
Opportunities for contributing to ERT WG and other WAI work are introduced in Participating in WAI.