QA Framework: Specification Guidelines

W3C Working Draft 12 September 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 Working Draft (WD), 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.

This Working Draft consolidates changes and editorial improvements undertaken in response to feedback received during the Last Call publication of the Specification Guidelines which began on February 10, 2003. A list of the Last Call issues addressed by the Working Group is also available. This document aims at gathering feedback on the resolutions to these issues before to enter in Candidate Recommendation phase. If you wish to comment on those changes, the comment period closes in 2 weeks. Please submit your comments by September 26, 2003.

This part of the Framework document family has a companion QA Framework: Specification Examples & Techniques. That informative companion document is currently being progressed as a W3C Note. At least until this guidelines document stabilizes, that Examples & Techniques companion will be maintained and frequently updated in QA Working Group Web space. Although that document is not the principal subject of this review, the QAWG welcomes feedback on it as well.

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

Please email your comments 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.

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.

Table of contents

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

Two appendices to this document [SPEC-CHECKLIST] and [SPEC-ICS] present all checkpoints in a tabular form sorted in their original order and sorted by priority, for convenient reference. A third appendix presents the test assertions derived from the conformance requirements set by this specification.