Re: Is Java Web Start covered by WCAG?

Agree fully with John regarding PhoneGap (and extend that to similar tools, including Electron).  The key to PhoneGap’s cross platform capability is that it is a thin platform specific native application that embeds a platform’s native HTML/WebViewer component… the user agent.  Web content that forms the actual user facing application may be comprised of HTML/CSS/Javascript/Image/Media resources packaged within the PhoneGap app, and loaded by the embedded WebView component (Not retrieved via HTTP). I think every user agent I’ve seen allows loading resources from the local file system. External URIs may be linked or referenced by the “local” Web Content in the PhoneGap app, and request it via HTTP.  I believe there is also a plug-in for PhoneGap that enables it to run its own embedded http web server/file system if your app requires it.

I have had this discussion with developers who argue this isn’t the web and WCAG not required.  It is a Web application whether the content is loaded locally or retrieved via HTTP.   Electron-based “desktop” applications, which embed the chrome browser, can do the same thing. I’ve seen apps where there is no local or remote web content… it is all generated and injected into DOM on the fly.

I’ve argued that if it is built, authored, or generated with web technologies, it doesn’t matter if the HTML rendered by the user agent is local, remote via HTTP, or generated on the fly… WCAG applies.

I think WCAG 2 needs to make these situations clear.


On 4/26/17, 4:35 PM, "John Foliot" <<>> wrote:

Hi all,

content (Web content)

information and sensory experience to be communicated to the user by means of a user agent<>, including code or markup that defines the content's structure<>, presentation<>, and interactions

user agent

any software that retrieves and presents Web content for users
Example: Web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs — including assistive technologies<> — that help in retrieving, rendering, and interacting with Web content.

If when it is run it uses HTTP to get its content

Hmmm... while in principle I tend to agree with this sentiment (along with the addition of HTTPS), that is not part of the
definition, and I would argue, rightfully so.

In theory, a PDF attached to an email could/would still be 'governed' by WCAG 2.0 (especially given how much extra WCAG 2.0.stuff - Techniques, etc., are PDF-focused), yet that email would not necessarily be using the HTTP protocol.

PhoneGap wraps web content that uses HTTP.  So does that make PhoneGap a user agent?

Per the definitions above, I would argue yes. The goal of PhoneGap is/was to allow developers to write their applications using the standard HTML/CSS/JavaScript stack, and then place that 'application' inside of a wrapper to emulate a native application (

Since the developer / content-author is using basic web technologies, I would argue then that WCAG applies to PhoneGapped apps as well (or at least, it should), as PhoneGap is, in effect, the user-agent. (Q: isn't part of the work of the MATF also looking at accessibility of native apps too?)

> (is)
Java Web Start is covered by WCAG
​ [JamesN]​
said, "The application is started from
a URL and the application is downloaded, installed updated and run
directly when clicking on a URL in a web page."

Web Start programs are no longer an integrated part of the web page, they are independent applications that run in a separate frame.
Programmers often speak of the Java Network Launching Protocol (JNLP) interchangeably with the term "Web Start". The JNLP protocol, defined with an XML<> schema, specifies how to launch Java Web Start applications.

JNLP works in a similar fashion to how HTTP/HTML works for the web. For rendering<> an HTML webpage<>, after the user clicks on a weblink, the browser submits a URL to a webserver<>, which replies with an HTML file. The browser then requests the resources referred to by this file (images, css<>), and finally renders the page once it has received enough information. Page rendering usually starts before all resources have downloaded; some resources not critical to the layout of the page (such as images) can follow on afterwards.

JNLP mirrors this process; in the same way that a Web browser renders a webpage, a JNLP client "renders" a Java app<>. After the user clicks on a weblink, the browser submits an URL to a webserver, which replies with a JNLP file (instead of a HTML file) for the application. The JNLP client parses this file, requests the resources specified (jar files), waits for the retrieval of all required resources, and then launches the application. The JNLP file can list resources as "lazy", which informs the JNLP client that the application does not need those resources to start, but can retrieve them later on when/if the application requests them.


Asking about Web Start is, to me, asking the wrong question. If Web Start is used to transport and then launch a User Interface-based application or content​, I'd argue that yes, it is in scope in the same way that PDF is in scope. But that's just me, and I think James is correct in asking for a definitive 'ruling' here. I'd vote Yes, content delivered via Web Start should be WCAG compliant as well.



On Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 2:57 PM, Laura Carlson <<>> wrote:
I can't tell either. James?

On 4/26/17, Gregg Vanderheiden RTF <<>> wrote:
> Can't quite tell from your description. If it is downloaded and
> installed and then run it is not the web application.
> If when it is run it uses HTTP to get its content then it is web
> content. What is download it is simply a special user agent.
> From your description it isn't quite clear which of the two cases it is
> Gregg
>> On Apr 26, 2017, at 8:45 PM, Laura Carlson <<>>
>> wrote:
>> Hello Everyone,
>> James asked on Oracle's Adapting Text comment [1] if Java Web Start
>> [2] [3] is covered by WCAG.  He said, "The application is started from
>> a URL and the application is downloaded, installed updated and run
>> directly when clicking on a URL in a web page."
>> Thoughts?
>> Thank you.
>> Kindest Regards,
>> Laura
>> [1]

>> [2]

>> [3]

>> --
>> Laura L. Carlson

Laura L. Carlson

John Foliot
Principal Accessibility Strategist
Deque Systems Inc.<>

Advancing the mission of digital accessibility and inclusion


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Received on Thursday, 27 April 2017 02:22:54 UTC