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Open Source "Edapta"

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 10:03:08 -0800
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Message-Id: <E3387E5A-4FFD-11D7-A57F-000393D9E692@idyllmtn.com>

Hi everyone,

Back in 2000 or so, I was employed by a company called Edapta that
worked on creating technologies that enabled Web sites to adapt
themselves to the user interface needs of their users, including people
with various disabilities.  This was innovative and cool stuff.

Nobody wanted to fund Edapta, though, and we soon went out of
business, almost.  (I went without paycheck for three consecutive
months.)  Finally, we were bought by a Belgian company called
Reef, who had a content management system.

Reef paid lip service to the concept of accessibility but did nothing
to actively develop the Edapta software beyond a half-hearted
attempt to integrate it in to their poorly done CMS.  (E.g., in Reef's
CMS, there was no field for alt text on images; you had to fake it
by setting the height attribute to something like
'130" alt="Site Map"'.  I feel pretty justified in pointing out that 
an accessibility standpoint, Reef's software was a nightmare.)

Due to various problems, ranging from lack of vision to lack of
technical leadership to failure to pay employees, Reef imploded.
I got fired just before the implosion, because I dared to question
Reef's refusal to pay employees the portions of our salary which
had been earned, so I wasn't there at the very end, but from what
I've heard, it wasn't pretty.

With the spectacular failure of Reef, Edapta effectively died a
second time, although there were factions in Reef who were
vehemently opposed to any accessibility-related activities in
the company apart from ill-conceived attempts to sell software
capabilities which did not yet exist (and which the company had
no plans to create) -- so really, Reef's demise was simply the
final bullet in the Edapta project.

Edapta's technologies were built on open standards, such as
XML, XSLT, CC/PP, and other commonly used Internet
technologies which have become more ubiquitous in the three
years since 2000.  Server support for transformational user
interfaces has increased dramatically, and there are many more
tools available which can address the needs of users for not only
an "accessible" interface but a "usable" one as well -- one which
is tailored specifically for each visitor according to her
preferences or requirements.

I am interested in finding people who would be willing to work
on an open source "edapta" server project -- in other words, putting
together the available tools (Apache, XSLT, etc.) to develop a free
package which can be installed on Web sites to enable content
delivery transformations.  There are already projects underway at
large companies to do similar work, but the price makes them
unacceptable options for small Web sites.  Accessibility should not
be a luxury, and for that reason, I think it's important to have free
alternatives which can increase the utility for sites for people with

If you are interested in such a project, please email me to let me
know, at kynn@idyllmtn.com -- or if you are going to be at the
CSUN conference later this month, please look for me there . I
have a presentation on the future of Web accessibility on Thursday
afternoon, and I would love to talk to people afterwards, or any
other time at CSUN.


PS:  If you're aware of anyone looking for a Web accessibility dude,
I'm still looking for a regular job.

Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>                     http://kynn.com
Chief Technologist, Idyll Mountain                http://idyllmtn.com
Author, CSS in 24 Hours                       http://cssin24hours.com
Inland Anti-Empire Blog                      http://blog.kynn.com/iae
Shock & Awe Blog                           http://blog.kynn.com/shock
Received on Thursday, 6 March 2003 13:00:25 UTC

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