QA Framework: Specification Guidelines

W3C Candidate Recommendation 10 November 2003

This version:
Latest version:
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Dominique HazaŽl-Massieux (dom@w3.org)
Lofton Henderson (lofton@rockynet.com)
Lynne Rosenthal (lynne.rosenthal@nist.gov)
See Acknowledgments.

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The principal goal of this document is to help W3C Working Groups to write clearer, more implementable, and better testable technical reports. It provides both a common framework for specifying conformance requirements and definitions, and also addresses how a specification might allow variation among conforming implementations, both of which facilitate the generation of test materials. The material is presented as a set of organizing guidelines and verifiable checkpoints. This document is one in a family of Framework documents of the Quality Assurance (QA) Activity, which includes the other existing or in-progress specifications: Introduction, Operational Guidelines, and Test Guidelines.

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/.

This document is a W3C Candidate Recommendation made available by the W3C Quality Assurance (QA) Activity for discussion by W3C members and other interested parties. For more information about the QA Activity, please see the QA Activity statement.

The QA Working Group has made changes and improvements in response to Last Call comments, as documented in Change History. At a high level, the normative requirements of the guidelines and checkpoints are substantially the same. However, much of the text has been edited for clarity, precision and simplicity, and the guidelines have been reorganized for better usability. New structuring and CSS styling have been applied to all of the guidelines and checkpoints. See also the disposition of last call comments.

The QA Working Group resolved to seek transition of Specification Guidelines to Candidate Recommendation in order to gather trial application experience from the W3C Working Groups. Based on this experience, the QA Working Group will decide whether to request to advance to Proposed Recommendation or to publish as a Working Group Note. To allow time to gather experience, the QAWG does not expect to request to advance to the next state sooner than 10 May 2004. Feedback from the Working Groups will be used to update the preliminary implementation report.

The QAWG expects to show two implementations of each checkpoint in "QA Framework Specification Guidelines" before requesting to advance to the next state.

Publication as a Candidate Recommendation 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.

The QA Working Group Patent Disclosure page contains details on known patents related to this specification, in conformance with W3C policy requirements.

You may email comments on this document to www-qa@w3.org, the publicly archived list of the QA Interest Group [QAIG]. Please note that comments that you make will be publicly archived and available, do not send information you would not want to see distributed, such as private data.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Concepts
  3. Guidelines
  4. Conformance
  5. Definitions
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. References
  8. Change history

0.1. Appendices

  1. Checklist of Checkpoints sorted by guidelines
  2. Checklist of Checkpoints sorted by priority
  3. Normative list of Test Assertions