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Re: APIs

From: Jon Gunderson <jongund@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 12:10:43 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: "Hansen, Eric" <ehansen@ets.org>, "UA List (E-mail)" <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
User Agents in general should use standard APIs for a function.  But if 
there is no standard API, they may need to define their own API to satisfy 
a requirement.


At 11:44 AM 10/12/2000 -0400, Hansen, Eric wrote:
>I am trying to sort the world of APIs as presented in the document. I find
>it somewhat confusing to sort out the references the "APIs", "standard
>APIs", "standard input APIs", and W3C DOM (which is a kind of standard API,
>both input and output, I suppose).
>Is there any time that we refer to APIs in the document that we DON'T mean
>"standard APIs"? If we _always_ mean "standard APIs" then we should either
>always say that or factor out the word "standard" and then link to a fuller
>explanation in the glossary.
>We have part of a definition of "standard APIs" in checkpoint 5.4:
>"5.4 Provide programmatic read and write access to user agent user interface
>controls using standard APIs (e.g., platform-independent APIs such as the
>W3C DOM, standard APIs for the operating system, and conventions for
>programming languages, plug-ins, virtual machine environments, etc.)
>[Priority 1]
>Note: For example, provide access to information about the user agent's
>current input configuration so that assistive technologies can trigger
>functionalities through keyboard events, mouse events, etc."
>Thus "standard APIs" include: "platform-independent APIs such as the W3C
>DOM, standard APIs for the operating system, and conventions for programming
>languages, plug-ins, virtual machine environments, etc."
>We should probably consolidate the existing definitions for "API" and
>"Standard device APIs" (see below):
>"Application Programming Interface (API)"
>"An application programming interface (API) defines how communication may
>take place between applications."
>"Standard device APIs"
>"Operating systems are designed to be used by default with devices such as
>pointing devices, keyboards, voice input, etc. The operating system (or
>windowing system) provides "standard APIs" for these devices. On desktop
>computers today, the standard input APIs are for the mouse and keyboard. For
>touch screen devices or mobile devices, standard input APIs may include
>stylus, buttons, voice, etc. The graphical display and sound card are
>considered standard ouput devices for a graphical desktop computer
>environment, and each has a standard API."
>I presume that this is basically an editorial issue, but I highlight this
>because if there is the inconsistency that I think might exist, then fixing
>it would slightly change the wording of many checkpoints.
>Eric G. Hansen, Ph.D.
>Development Scientist
>Educational Testing Service
>ETS 12-R
>Princeton, NJ 08541
>609-734-5615 (Voice)
>E-mail: ehansen@ets.org
>(W) 609-734-5615 (Voice)
>FAX 609-734-1090

Jon Gunderson, Ph.D., ATP
Coordinator of Assistive Communication and Information Technology
Division of Rehabilitation - Education Services
College of Applied Life Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign
1207 S. Oak Street, Champaign, IL  61820

Voice: (217) 244-5870
Fax: (217) 333-0248

E-mail: jongund@uiuc.edu

WWW: http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~jongund
WWW: http://www.w3.org/wai/ua
Received on Thursday, 12 October 2000 13:11:44 UTC

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