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Re: How Does BETSIE Work?

From: <nick@webthing.com>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 19:05:45 +0100 (BST)
To: Martin McCormick <martin@dc.cis.okstate.edu>
cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0207291846120.1337-100000@jarl.webthing.com>

On Mon, 29 Jul 2002, Martin McCormick wrote:

> 	It seems as though lynx users had trouble accessing the
> main BBC site due to the usual problems with javascript, etc.

As others have noted, there isn't, nor ever was, an accessibility
problem with well-written Javascript.

> 	It is my understanding that BETSIE automatically
> processes the web pages from the main site and renders them in
> script-free html.
> 	Is this true and how likely is the concept to be able to
> be transplanted to some other site?

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.

> 	I am asking because we have a bunch of web sites where I
> work that are created with Lotus Domino and would be accessible
> via lynx if not for all the javascript navigation.  I would like
> to see something automated because we all know how much trouble a
> second but never equal text site can be.

Now that should be an altogether easier scenario than a general-
purpose script-cleanser, as we can work with what your tools
are specifically doing.

> 	I would like to say to our web group, "See, it can be
> done without lots of on-going extra effort.  Just set it up and
> the problem is 95% solved."

The immediate future plans for my proxy include making it into
a general-purpose filter module for Apache, that can fix outgoing
content whatever its origin (static, dynamic, or proxied).

This should serve in situations like yours, and would enable
you (for example) to configure your site at "www.example.org"
with an accessible alternative at "access.example.org" with
no additional work for your developers.

> [ chop good reasons for wanting it ]

I can't yet offer you a readymade solution, but I'll be very interested
in working with you to implement one.

Nick Kew
Received on Monday, 29 July 2002 14:05:50 UTC

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