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Proposal to address desktop browser/AT communication

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1999 10:59:17 -0500
Message-ID: <36D17ED5.76A049CB@w3.org>
To: w3c-wai-ua@w3.org

Below is a proposal for two checkpoints that I hope
will address the desktop browser/AT communication question.
I hope we can discuss this at the 24 Feb 1999 teleconference.

 - Ian

Summary of Issues

 - UAs and ATs need to communicate.

 - ATs want access to UA controls as well as document 
   content (and they want to use as few interfaces
   as possible to do so).

 - It is within the scope of the WAI UA WG to
   address communication between ATs and desktop
   graphical browsers.

 - It is outside the scope of the WAI UA WG to address 
   communication between ATs and software in general.

 - There are no (to my knowledge) platform-independent
   interfaces for interprocess communication about
   software controls.

 - DOM Level 1 addresses programmatic access to document content, 
   but this alone is not sufficient for addressing
   all the communication/control needs of AT developers.

 - DOM Level 1 does not address interprocess communication.

 - It is costly for AT developers to implement
   many interfaces (i.e., to consider user
   agent communication a special case).

Summary of Conclusions

 - Part of W3C's mission is to promote interoperability
   among Web agents. However, W3C does not yet offer 
   a communication solution (Recommendation) that meets 
   all of the needs expressed by AT developers. 
   Some platform-dependent solutions address some,
   but not all, of these needs.
 - These guidelines should:

   a) promote interoperable communication
      where an applicable specification exists 
      (DOM Level 1 and future levels) 

   b) promote browser/AT communication today, even if that
      means platform-dependent solutions.

   An important question that merits WG attention is:
   what is the most important information that should be
   made available to AT's (for example, that is not made
   available by the W3C DOM). The results of WG
   consensus on this issue could be part
   of the techniques document or the basis of a set
   of requirements to the W3C DOM WG.

The Proposal

ACKNOWLEDGMENT: The following proposal is primarily
Al Gilman's.

Two checkpoints:

  1. Priority 1. For desktop graphical browsers.

     Desktop graphical browsers must export 
     programmatic interfaces to ATs and should
     follow operating system conventions to
     do so. [We might say "when such conventions
     exist" here, but I don't think it's necessary.]

  2. Priority 1. For both types of UA.

     Exported interfaces must conform to 
     those specified by a W3C DOM Recommendation.
     [We might say "where applicable" here, but
      I don't think it's necessary.]

  Please note: There is no checkpoint requiring 
  ATs to export interfaces. Is such a checkpoint
  necessary? I suspect that if so, it's at most
  a Priority 2.

 - Ian

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org) 
Tel/Fax: (212) 684-1814 
Received on Monday, 22 February 1999 11:01:05 UTC

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