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The Importance of Specification Review

Writing software specifications is more complicated than one would initially suspect. The specification needs to be completely clear so that it can not be misinterpreted by an implementation or application developer in order to achieve full interoperability.

UniSoft offers a specification review service to its' customers. This activity offers two major benefits to the specification authoring body:

  1. It provides a very thorough review of the specification.
  2. A complete set of test assertions (test descriptions) are produced which create a building block for generating a full conformance test suite for the standard.

During the process of producing the test assertions and performing the specification review, UniSoft will highlight the following:

This process has been tried and tested in the development of test assertions for a wide variety of different standards. UniSoft has used this process in test developments for IEEE POSIX, MIT X-windows, NFS protocol, Secure Electronic Transaction (SET) protocol, Common Data Security Architecture (CDSA), SUN RPC protocol and the DVB MHP standard.

The test assertions provide a starting point for the development of software tests that provide coverage of the specification requirements. The test assertion development phase reviews the specification both from the viewpoint of the implementers and the application author. The application viewpoint is considered through an assessment of the testability of each test assertion as appropriate test strategies for test case implementation in software are outlined. This process also helps to identify areas in which testing specific interfaces could be added to increase the coverage of automated tests.

The test assertions provide a fundamental element of a test plan for the development of a test suite implementation that may be used to measure implementation conformance to the specification.