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RE: Microsoft threat to XML? (no, script is defacto disaster, n ot threat)

From: Waddell, Cynthia <cynthia.waddell@ci.sj.ca.us>
Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 08:48:05 -0700
Message-ID: <0A005268C8DED311A23E0008C75D1EFF476370@sj-exchange.ci.sj.ca.us>
To: "'Al Gilman'" <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, David Sheehy <dsheehy@mac.com>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
I agree with Al. As our tools evolve we need to continue our analysis of
functionality and impact so that "accessibility by construction" can remain
in place.

Cynthia D. Waddell   
ADA Coordinator
City Manager Department
City of San Jose, CA USA
801 North First Street, Room 460
San Jose, CA  95110-1704
(408)971-0134 TTY
(408)277-3885 FAX

-----Original Message-----
From: Al Gilman [mailto:asgilman@iamdigex.net]
Sent: Sunday, May 14, 2000 10:14 AM
To: David Sheehy; w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Microsoft threat to XML? (no, script is defacto disaster,
not threat)

The genie is out of the bottle.  People are writing web applications in a
of declarative HTML or XML quasi-static stuff and imperative-language (i.e.
adequately declarative) overlays that change all that.  The result is not
for disability access adapted modes of interaction.

The threat to accessibility is the fact that if we try to say "don't use
scripts" we stand about the same chance as when King Canute decreed to the
that the tide should not rise.

Wrapping the script stuff in XML may be hostile, neutral, or friendly to the
objective of making the script stuff civil as far as disability access is
concerned.  We don't know.  We need to take the initiative to analyze the
functions performed by the scripts, assert what is needed in terms of
declarative meta-function so that this functionality can be morphed
appropriately in adaptive UI variants, and steer our commentary on
script-in-XML etc. based on that analysis.  Only then will we actually be
useful in steering technology into a "accessible by construction" place. 
Scripting is already the de_facto norm or standard, and it is presently not
civil, in the sense that it provides enough morphing support to serve
disability access modes successfully and effectively.

Don't blame scripting on Microsoft.  They have encouraged this development,
only because they listened to their customers.  And they are only the
fish in the school encouraging this development.  Not a unique voice making

If we can point the way to accessible scripting practices, including how it
gets blended or connected with XML, Microsoft will be there among others
bringing resources to bear to examine the proposals and if they make sense,
implement them.

Whatever you personally think of Sun, Adobe, Microsoft, et_al., to be
advocates of the disability interest we cannot affort to demonize any of
or fail to constructively engage with them in the search for an objective,
all-are-winners solution to this puzzle.

All the same reasons that make Microsoft the biggest imaginable pain when
are being a pain, make them the biggest imaginable help when they are being
help.  Whether they are being pain or help, is, mirabile_dictu, to some
under the control of the professional attitude we exhibit as we approach the


At 10:34 AM 2000-05-14 +1000, David Sheehy wrote: 

>> Basically, some developers at Microsoft saw a need to be able to package
>> scripts in a more reusable form. They could have come up with a
>> way of 'wrapping' the information that clients of scripts need, but they
>> decided to use an open and extensible standard (XML) to do that instead. 
> Using XML in this way does make it proprietary. XML is designed for all
> stuff you mention, but why should scripts be a *part* of the XML document?
> mean what are applets and parsers for? 
>> p.s. - Microsoft did not 'cause' your impugned lack of accessibility to
>> computers any more than any other company, and I wish you would stop
>> so. You could just as easily blame Apple - they had the first successful
>> GUI. Or Xerox - they had the idea for the GUI. Microsoft just happens to
>> the company that has developed the most successful GUI in the
>> The people on the ADG team at Microsoft are very passionate about what
>> do, and feel like they are doing good things that are advancing the
state of
>> the art. If you wish to belittle their efforts, or look down on their
>> in their accomplishments, please do so after you have done more than they
>> have. 
> OK, I was going to leave tech politics out of this. 
> However, it seems that it is perfectly acceptable to bash Adobe, who have
> never claimed to be a paragon of disabled services (like MSFT do), and
> offer visual products for the graphics industry. 
> On the other hand, it's not acceptable to raise perfectly valid concerns
> about the world's largest software company? They do the bare minimum that
> should be required of such a company, and then they act like they are
> saviours and release dozens of press releases when they do things for
> accessibility. They act like they are doing users a favour. Well, they
> HAVE to do all of this. Apple don't try to claim they are doing much about
> accessibility, they don't try to get PR from it, and they have always
> speech synthesis and recognition with their OS, unlike Microsoft. Anyway,
> not trying to defend them. I just think it's interesting that rather than
> dealing with these issues, you want to look for a scapegoat. I just want
> these things dealt with, whether it is with MSFT, Apple, or Adobe. 
> Microsoft aren't doing anyone a favour, but they act like it. 
> Microsoft are the major influence on the inaccessibility of the web, and
> majority of the world's computers. Their desire to knock off Netscape
> years of degradation of the W3C standards. OK, this is no joke, that IE
> browser war made the internet a miserable place to be. MS sabotaged Java
> Active X. I could go on, but you get the idea. 
> As far as Windows go, it's hardly usable by non-impaired users, let alone
> disabled. Just look at the ridiculous number of clicks it takes just to do
> simple things. Look at the illogical and verbose dialog boxes, with
> corresponding nonsensical options. It's a usability nightmare. Many
> office workers go into panic at the thought of using a computer, because
> Windows. 
> I'm sure the ADG team feel that they are pushing the state of the art, but
> that's just a hallucination. Why do they have to fill themselves with
> rhetoric? It's not really about 'pushing the state of the art' anyway.
> about standards. Why can't they just admit that accessibility is a basic
> thing, and they are not our saviours, just because they are trying to iron
> out problems which shouldn't be there in the first place? Maybe they are
> 'good guys', but no matter how good they are, we both know that they would
> never have the power or the inclination to stand up to the rest of
> Sure, they can fix a few problems here and there, but the overwhelming
> majority of Microsoft is moving away from accessibility. For the ADG to
> really do their job, they have to attack the problem at it's roots. Anyone
> who knows how Microsoft internal culture works, will know that that's
> going to happen, and the ADG are just as marginalised as anyone else. 
> I don't care how passionate they are, can they do the job properly? This
> thing with scripts in XML shows that they have little influence, or are
> unaware of the bigger picture. 
> Another thing. Linux is probably the best OS for accessibility. Now, if
> you've seen the MS "Halloween" documents, you will know how Microsoft
> to destroy Linux, which is a better solution for the disabled than
> could ever be. 
> No disrespect intended towards you personally, but I'd like to hear from
> someone independent on this. You are an ex Microsoft employee, and I don't
> trust a single word that comes out of Redmond unless it is independently
> verified. Microsoft are the biggest liars and hypocrites this side of a
> totalitarian state. Gates has recently been making totally dishonest and
> false statements to the media. Unfortunately, the media doesn't have the
> to call him a liar. 
> I don't think the sky is falling, and I can see how you operate - trying
> paint anyone who has a divergent opinion as a hysterical anti-Microsoft
> 'nutcase'. I'm just concerned about a serious issue. I don't think the
sky is
> falling, I just think MSFT is a definite threat to the future of
> technology. 
> David 
Received on Monday, 15 May 2000 11:54:17 UTC

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