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Re: System API checkpoint issue

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 14:18:36 -0500
Message-ID: <3838458C.4B912130@w3.org>
To: schwer@us.ibm.com
CC: Jon Gunderson <jongund@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
schwer@us.ibm.com wrote:
> Jon,
> I had a brief meeting with the IBM web browser team and we discussed
> Mozilla accessibility. Mozilla is designed as a cross-platform solution
> even though it is compiled for each platform. It turns out that all
> components including the application chrome can be accessed through their
> DOM. Our guidelines state that we need to use the system-provided
> accessibility features like MSAA however they also require that we use the
> DOM albeit for the actual document.

"Their DOM" is not the same as "The DOM" (meaning the W3C DOM).
despite the good design idea of making the system platform independent,
by not using system conventions or a recognized API, the design causes
assistive technologies to lose. Consistency among the interfaces
offered by the particular user agent across different platforms may
be less important than consistency among different pieces of software
on a given platform.

Perhaps the checkpoints are flawed or behavior in the case of
overlap is underspecified. Consider these three requirements:

  1) Implement system conventions (checkpoint 5.2 of [1])
  2) Implement the W3C DOM (checkpoint 5.6)
  3) Implement your own, accessible and open API (checkpoint 5.1).
      NOTE: I'd like to review what 5.1 means exactly.

Mozilla seems to be doing 3 at the expense of 1. Is there a
way to map Mozilla's API to MSAA on Windows? 

This seems like a real issue where developer and AT input would
be very useful.

 - Ian

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/1999/WD-WAI-USERAGENT-19991105 
> The conclusion of the meeting was that the User Agent guidelines should
> allow for cross-platform accessibility through DOM 2 as a minimum since
> this will utimately be a W3C standard providing the solution provider can
> clearly define how an assistive technology would interact with the DOM to
> provide an accessible solution. I believe that cross-platform accessibility
> is a more important issue given that it can enable assistive technology
> solutions on other OS platforms and devices. Support for device
> independence and standard I/O API and all other requirements would still
> apply naturally.
> I would like to raise this issue for the next meeting.
> Rich
> Rich Schwerdtfeger
> Lead Architect, IBM Special Needs Systems
> EMail/web: schwer@us.ibm.com http://www.austin.ibm.com/sns/rich.htm
> "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
> I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.",
> Frost

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel/Fax:                     +1 212 684-1814
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Sunday, 21 November 1999 14:18:21 UTC

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