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Re: Last call comments from WCAG working group

From: Ian Jacobs <ij@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 13:31:32 -0500
Message-ID: <3A2FD784.2ACCBAB3@w3.org>
To: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
CC: Jon Gunderson <jongund@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>, WAI UA group <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>

After some discussion with Charles, it would seem that people have
different interpretations of checkpoint 5.4. The question seems to
be: Do UA developers have to provide access to ATs even when there
are no standard (system) APIs for doing so?

1) For access to content, the answer is you have to implement the
   DOM, so there is no issue.

2) For access to UI controls, checkpoint 5.4 says:

    Provide programmatic read and write access to user agent 
    user interface controls using standard APIs ...." 

   Does this mean:
    - You must provide access using standard APIs.
    - You must provide access, and you must use standard APIs 
      (when they exist) to do so?

If the interpretation is the latter, then I think Wendy's question
is answered: UA developers must always use some API. (Talking with
AT developers to create a good one is, in my opinion, out of scope
for this document though a good thing to do.)

Added as issue #457

 _ Ian

Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
> On Wed, 6 Dec 2000, Jon Gunderson wrote:
>   Responses in JRG:
>   JRG: If the developer is relying on the VM for some accessibility
>   functionalities required by UAAG, the developer may only be able to claim
>   conformance for certain operating systems that they can demonstrate
>   actually meet the guidelines.  Therefore they may not be able to claim
>   conformance for every OS with a Java VM.
> But they can claim conformance with "any conforming Java VM".
> Wendy
>   >It was my understanding of this section that if a standard accessibility
>   >API does not exist for an operating system, that the developer must create
>   >and use their own.  This would cause an AT developer to learn a different
>   >API for each browser on a platform that did not have an accessibility API.
> [and good reasons why this can be a problem]
> In actual fact it makes life a bit painful for the developers. Basically, if
> there isn't an API they have to make one. If there is, they have to use it.
> So if they start working on a system without one, and they make their own,
> and then a later version of the system introduces a standard one, they cannot
> conform for the later versions of the system until they change to it. Which
> gives them a strong incentive to work with the developers of the underlying
> OS's, but doesn't just leave a requirement as vague as "work with some other
> folks"

Ian Jacobs (jacobs@w3.org)   http://www.w3.org/People/Jacobs
Tel:                         +1 831 457-2842
Cell:                        +1 917 450-8783
Received on Thursday, 7 December 2000 13:31:35 UTC

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