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Re: How Does BETSIE Work?

From: Martin McCormick <martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 09:06:39 -0500
Message-Id: <200207301406.g6UE6dw14950@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

	Thanks to all of you who replied.

nick@webthing.com writes:
>A few months ago, I floated the idea of an accessibility proxy,
>one of whose functions should be precisely to interpret script
>and provide an accessible rendition.  I have a demo proxy
>running at <URL:http://valet.webthing.com:8000/>, but a
>general-purpose Javascript engine is a wishlist item rather than
>a current feature.

	This is a very interesting idea.  A year or so ago, I
started exploring the idea of adding javascript support to lynx.
I went so far as to recompile it with the -g flag so as to use
gdb on it and try to learn how it works when it operates normally
and then how it works when it is trying to digest one of those
relative links on one of our javascript-infested sites.

	I got far enough to agree with the lynx experts who
basically say that it would require a total rework of lynx.

	I think the idea of a proxy is fabulous for the
foreseeable future.  It is going to be quite a while before the X
windows system is accessible even if everybody was to devote a
tremendous effort to that task.

	As I always like to say, people who are blind don't use
the GUI.  They use software that bludgeons the system in to
behaving like a command line or at least a character-based screen
application.

	I think all the text browsers I have seen that do some
javascript are a noble effort, but they don't hold a candle to
lynx since they are so new and don't have the diagnostics and
user conveniences built in to them that lynx has.

	This brings us to the proxy idea.  In other words, build
something that bridges the stuff that works to the data which are
broken.

	I have all but given up hope that any sanity will ever 
creep in to the web design seen because the technology is 
vendor-driven and everybody is doing
all the wrong things for all the wrong reasons.  The argument
from web sites is basically that they are just running
Frontpage or Domino and "you just need to upgrade," whatever that
means.  To most of those types, "upgrade" means buy Windows and
buy JAWS and shut up.

	On a more positive note, I would love to help.  I do some
C programming but I am not a computer scientist.  I am an
electronics technology type who got in to computers 23 years ago
because:

1.   you could do so many interesting things with them.:-)
2.  It seems that they should allow people who are blind to
more easily access print information without the need for intervention by
human readers, etc.

	Well, I haven't changed my first opinion at all, but my
second statement is tempered by the sense that certain companies
and certain ways of thinking made a colossal mess out of what
could have been very useful and what we have is almost like
electronic warfare with measures and countermeasures rather than
thoughtful progress to make it work for everybody so we can go on
and think about other things.  To me, the proxy idea sounds good
and I am willing to roll up my sleves to help make it happen
since getting over this problem is extremely important to a
number of people.


Martin McCormick WB5AGZ  Stillwater, OK 
OSU Center for Computing and Information Services Network Operations Group
Received on Tuesday, 30 July 2002 10:06:44 GMT

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