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Re: Bobby 3.1 Released

From: Bruce Bailey <bbailey@clark.net>
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 11:35:41 -0400
Message-Id: <199905061540.LAA23503@smtp-gw2.vma.verio.net>
To: "Evaluation and Repair" <w3c-wai-er-ig@w3.org>, "Michael Cooper" <mcooper@cast.org>
Cc: "WAI IG" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Dear Michael et al.;

Bobby is, of course, a very good thing which only gets better and better. 
I still have a few questions which I hope do not come off sounding like
sour grapes.  I will limit my comments here to things that I was fully
expecting with the official release of 3.1.  I am very disappointed that
these items have been omitted.

(1)  Could you speak to the changes that were incorporated into version 3.1
as a result of dialog on the WAI-ER-IG listserv and with the recent
teleconference calls?  I looked through the "what's new" section, but could
not attribute anything specific.

(2)  Not all Priority 1 objectives have been addressed.  Bobby STILL does
not test for unique HREFs that are linked to from images and are hidden
(from text browsers / screen readers) by ALT="".  As discussed here and on
the recent teleconference calls this problem IS covered by checkpoint 1.1
and is an easy test.  The consensus of the WAI IG on this point is clear. 
Do the folks at CAST acknowledge that this is a Priority 1 item?

(3)  "Short and sweet" live links to Bobby of the form URL:
http://udl.cast.org/bobby?URL=www.abc123.com/mypage.html
now return an error message.  This is different behavior than with Bobby 1x
which performed the expected evaluation.  This is different behavior than
with Bobby 2x which returned a (wonderfully succinct but meaningless)
"Bobby Approved" page.  Granted, Bobby was never advertised as working this
way, but why shouldn't it?  This is the way the W3C validator is designed
to work!  Is it not a basic fundamental concept in programming that, even
as your algorithms go through constant upgrades and revisions, that the
same input results in consistent output?  Since Bobby keeps behaving
differently, perhaps you should be changing its URL each time?  This would
really annoy a lot of users, but then at least you will be capturing more
of those obsolete "four stars Bobby Approved" sites!  The proper way for
3.1 to behave is to have it automatically "correct" the above sample URL
to:
http://udl.cast.org/bobby?browser=AccEval&URL=www.abc123.com/mypage.html

I have provided constructive feedback to CAST on and off this list (by
phone and email) for well over a year now.  No, I am not a "player" in the
WWW but I don't think that diminishes the legitimacy of the concerns that I
raise.  For the record, I have had nothing but professional and thoughtful
responses from David Clark and Michael Cooper.  The fact remains that I
have not been able to have the least bit of influence on the code that CAST
releases.  Are there others on the WAI list that, at least on an emotional
level, feel ignored by CAST?  If not here, where should we be venting our
concerns?  Or, am I alone in my "ivory tower" impression of CAST and do I
deserve to be flamed off this particular soap box?

P.S. (Maybe it's related):  Why the huge discrepancy between the sites that
link to Bobby (4800) and the sites that are "Bobby Approved" (650)?  What
does it mean when fewer than one in seven pages that think Bobby is
important enough to reference actually bother with the award icon?  Does
anyone know (or even have a guess) if the W3C validator suffers from a
similar praise:use ratio?

Thank you.

Bruce Bailey, DORS Webmaster
http://www.dors.state.md.us/
410/554-9211

----------
> From: Michael Cooper <mcooper@cast.org>
> To: [SNIP]
> Subject: Bobby 3.1 Released
> Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999 9:29 PM
> 
> I am happy (ecstatic, actually) to announce the public release of Bobby
3.1,
> available from http://www.cast.org/bobby/. Both the server and the
> downloadable version have been updated for enhancements, bug fixes, and
to
> support the Web Content Guidelines that became a W3C Recommendation
today.
> Along with the release of Bobby we have posted a new look to the Bobby
web
> site and enhanced material that we hope will provide greater access to
the
> product.
> 
> More information will follow over the next few weeks. Please contact
> bobby@cast.org with comments or questions.
> 
> Michael Cooper
> CAST, Inc.
> 39 Cross St.
> Peabody, MA  01960
> Tel 978-531-8555 x265
> TTY 978-538-3110
> Fax 978-531-0192
> Email mcooper@cast.org
> http://www.cast.org/
> http://www.cast.org/bobby/
Received on Thursday, 6 May 1999 11:40:50 GMT

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