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Created: August 17, 2001.
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W3C Launches Conformance and Quality Assurance Activity.

W3C has announced a new Conformance and Quality Assurance Activity designed "to solidify and extend current W3C quality practices regarding specification editing, validation tools and test suites, and coordination efforts within W3C." The activity will be supervised by Karl Dubost, W3C Conformance Manager. A W3C QA Interest Group has been formed as well as a QA Working Group. The QA activity will "work on the quality of W3C specifications, promote the development of good validators, test tools, and harnesses for implementers, and think ahead to additional steps. The main objective of the QA Working Group is to foster the development of usable and useful test suites endorsed by the W3C, which share a common look and feel, and ensure that the validating tools of the W3C are fully operational, useful and educational. The working group will seek to (1) improve the quality of W3C specifications with respect to conformance statement, test assertions, tutorial/examples, formal representation of languages, etc.), by conducting reviews of specifications and producing guidelines for specification writers; optionally, the WG can work on specification improvement, but this is not a required deliverable; (2) develop a common framework/harness for developing and running tests and a process for maintaining/adding/removing tests from test suites; reviewing existing test tools (3) ensure coordination with W3C Working Groups developing specifications (formal channel, appeal); (4) coordinate works with internal W3C horizontal groups: WAI, I18N, TAG, and Communications Team."

From the QA Activity Proposal: "W3C creates the technical specifications regarded by the Web community at large as Web standards. In order for these standards to permit full interoperability and access to all, it is very important that the quality of implementation be given as much attention as their development. As of the beginning of 2001, W3C has published more than 20 Recommendations. As our family of specifications gets more complex, their acceptance and deployment on the market becomes an ongoing challenge. The past experiences of HTML, CSS or more recently SMIL are strong incentives to start this Activity with due diligence... Several W3C Working Groups, as well as individuals from the W3C Team or the Web community have started to assemble test suites, produce validation tools and follow good QA practices. As a pre-Activity work item, we've been gathering these existing W3C related QA efforts in a QA Matrix. In addition, external organizations or individual persons, such as NIST or OASIS, have been active in the field of conformance and testing of W3C technologies, with varying degrees of W3C Working Group coordination. These existing efforts are very important and will serve as a basis of future work as we move forward in the formalization of our new QA Activity at W3C. However we believe that in order to be really effective, QA work for W3C technologies must be driven from inside W3C, with very close coordination with W3C Activities, in order to give a unique and approved reference for external developers. QA is absolutely necessary in order to ensure interoperability and usability and also to have consistency between the specifications we produce. The QA Activity will benefit the Web community, industry, and Members, as a guarantee of interoperable products, which is the core mission of W3C..."

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