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RE: 5.2

From: Lee Roberts <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Dec 2002 12:29:58 -0800
To: "'John Slatin'" <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>, <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Cc: <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Message-ID: <001e01c2af79$17d8e830$5f814094@rose>

IE5.5 for Windows and IE5.0 for Mac operate with the basically the same
engine.  Although IE for Mac has been created from the ground up, many
of the features it supports are IE only features.  I'm not pointing out
the "skin" or the user-adjustable features - I'm referring to the way IE
supports JavaScript and XML.  Those two features take us beyond the
surface of the browser and put us into the supporting engine.  The two
browsers are only different in the way they handle CSS with IE for Mac
being much better than IE for Windows.  So, in my opinion they would not
be separate implementations - rationale: we could say that because IE5.0
and IE6.0 are so different in how they handle CSS that they are separate
implementations when they are not separate, but only an improvement on
the previous version.

If we go with a focus upon assistive technologies that then causes
problems for people with other browsers.  As with the javascript
example, two pages served based upon how the browser identifies itself,
we still leave out a considerable percentage of individuals that chose
to not be burdened by the problems of the more common browsers.  As for
the developer that doesn't have the technologies, a simple visit to a
library for the blind will help with that issue.  Additionally, I refer
to friends and usenet groups on a lot of things that I can't check
because I have a small shop and don't have the money to spend on all the
technologies.  I feel that if I can do this then so can the other

Robust would refer more directly to the technologies used to provide the
content.  While the technology may work in one browser, user agent, or
assistive technology, that technology may not be operable in another
browser, user agent, or assistive technology.  I perceive our goal here
as ensuring that the technology used works in more than one user agent
and assistive technology as Guideline 5 directs.  This would remove the
possibility of misunderstanding leading to people considering Internet
Explorer, Netscape, or Opera as assistive technologies.

At this point, I'm proposing we add a level 3 success criteria of: "An
alternate method of providing the content be used for browsers, user
agents, and assistive technologies that can not support the technologies
required."  This will ensure that no one slips through the loopholes we
may have inadvertently left open due to short-sightedness or
improvements in one technology over another.


John Slatin's Questions:
What Jason writes (see below) prompts another pair of questions:

1. What constitutes an "implementation" in the sense of the term as used
here? Is IE 5.5 for Windows a *different* implementation than IE 5.0 for
Macintosh?  If I understand Lee correctly, he would say "No-- these are
merely two instantiations of the same implementation."  But I'm not sure
whether Jason would agree-- and I'm not sure where I stand either, given
the amount of time Web developers have to spend to ensure that their
content works correctly on both Windows and Mac.

2. If "interoperable" means, in essence, that mainstream technologies
"used by the content" must be compatible with assistive technologies
used by people with disabilities, (a) can we say that in some reasonably
concrete form instead of using such high-level abstractions? and (b) how
can Joe and Josephine Web Developer know if they meet this criterion if
they don't have access to a wide variety of assistive technologies?

A third question just popped into my head: are we engaging in circular
reasoning in the way we talk about interoperability here? It's my
understanding that "Robust" (our keyword for the principle expressed by
Guideline 5) might be translated as "Interoperable."  If that's correct,
then we can't use the word "interoperable" in checkpoints or success
criteria whose purpose is to define what "interoperable" means.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jason White" <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
To: "John Slatin" <john_slatin@forum.utexas.edu>
Cc: "'Lee Roberts'" <leeroberts@roserockdesign.com>; <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
Sent: Saturday, December 28, 2002 6:34 PM
Subject: Re: 5.2

> John Slatin writes:
>  >
>  > Here's a slight reworking that does little more than simplify the
>  > == John's reworking of Jason's text==
> This is good. My original wording wasn't, in any case, intended as a
>   proposal for inclusion in a draft but only as initial text for
>   the purposes of mailing list discussion.
>  >
>  > Questions:
>  > What does "interoperable" mean in the sentence "There exist 
> multiple,  > independent, and interoperable implementations of the 
> technologies used
>  > the content"?
> I don't know whether the W3C has a standard definition of the term, 
> but essentially it means that there are no problems of conformance of 
> the different implementations to the specification that would give 
> rise to compatibility problems.  >
>  > Does content meet 5.2 if it works in Internet Explorer on both
>  > Macintosh but not in Netscape/Mozilla?
> 5.2 is concerned with the technologies used by the content, not with
>   the content itself. Thus the question at level 2, as currently
>   proposed, is not whether the content
>   "works" with different implementations, but whether it uses
>   technologies that are supported by multiple implementations. If
>   content used technologies in such a way that it would only "work"
>   with one implementation then it wouldn't meet the proposed level 2
>   success criterion. What is excluded is the situation in which the
>   content is functional only with implementation x, whatever it may
>   be.
Received on Sunday, 29 December 2002 13:30:58 UTC

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