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Re: XForms Myths Exposed - By Ian Hixie (Opera)

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 16:13:18 +0000 (UTC)
To: Andy Harrison <andyh@agaricus.co.uk>
Cc: www-forms@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.61.0503111604500.17726@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Fri, 11 Mar 2005, Andy Harrison wrote:
> "Scripting is bad for accessibility. False."
> I'm not so sure that was a correction. I thought it to be a bit of an 
> outburst to be honest. Don't get me wrong, I'm learning to use XForms 
> myself right now, so I don't have strong opinions either way, but it 
> strikes me that there is a definite progression in terms of 
> accessibility with XForms vs HTML and I was quite surprised at your 
> remark.

The progression, IMHO, is really between the generally high skill set of 
your average XForms author and the comparatively low skill set of your 
average HTML author. It is quite possible to write highly accessible HTML 
(even if it uses scripting) and quite possible to write highly 
_in_accessible XForms. In both cases, the author is violating either best 
practice guidelines or actual rules of the language.
HTML is a media-independent, device-neutral semantic markup language at 
its core. Most accessibility problems with HTML pages come from people 
abusing APIs that aren't even standardised (such as .innerHTML) or using 
standard APIs in illegal ways (for example, using document.write() on 
documents that were not created via document.open()).

The reason, IMHO, that most XForms now is better in terms of accessibility 
is simply that the authors writing it are learning how to do it right. If 
XForms reaches a critical mass where authors from the "copy paste" line of 
work become prevalent, then accessibility will suffer as it did with HTML.

(Take the recent XForms calculator as an example. It uses tables for 
layout, a highly inaccessible way of presenting an interface.)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Friday, 11 March 2005 16:13:20 UTC

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