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.

Who EARL is for

EARL is primarily intended for developers of:

What is in EARL 1.0

EARL is an RDF vocabulary, the terms of which are defined by the following specifications:

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.

What is the status of EARL 1.0

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.

Who develops EARL

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 public-wai-ert@w3.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.

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