Conformance testing, also known as compliance testing, is a methodology used in engineering to ensure that a product, process, computer program or system meets a defined set of standards. These standards are commonly defined by large, independent entities such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) or the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
Conformance testing can be carried out by private companies that specialize in that service. In some instances the vendor maintains an in-house department for conducting conformance tests prior to the initial release of a product or upgrade. In the software industry, once the set of tests has been completed and a program has been found to comply with all the applicable standards, that program can be advertised as having been certified by the organization that defined the standards and the corporation or organization that conducted the tests.
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