Re: State and Status of WAI-ARIA approach to host-language embedding

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Michael Cooper writes:

> . . . I have prepared a summary document [0]

I too have found this very helpful, thank you.

I have spent some time exploring the test case helpfully provided by
Henri Sivonen [1].  I discovered that at least some of the apparent
failures of the :-based markup versions therein did not arise from the
material under test, but from accidental properties of the text

More generally, it appeared to me that if a bit more effort were
expended, the cost of the :-based approach could be reduced, thus
perhaps shifting the outcome of what we all agree is a cost-benefit

Accordingly I produced a new version [2] of Henri's test, testing only
my more elaborate :-based approach, which produces better results
(live version [3]) (frozen snapshot w. low-res thumbnails if the live
version has expired [4]).  The crucial observation about these results
is that in every case Javascript access to :-based ARIA attributes
succeeded, and in all but the Safari case (which I presume could be
fixed, I just couldn't get access to a Safari + debugger installation
in the time available) the Javascript setting of :-based ARIA
attributes succeeded.  CSS selection succeeded everywhere except IE,
where it failed across the board -- I presume this could be fixed for
IE8, given what I understand, but again I didn't have access to a
suitable IE8 installation.

I think this outcome, based on 6 hours' work by someone who is
definitely _not_ a Javascript/DOM/Browser-implementation wizard, calls
into question a crucial assertion in the argument (from [0]) against
the :-based solution:

  "Script authors would have to write alternative code for different
  browsers in their scripts for manipulating our state-variable
  attributes if they have names with colons.  This is a large extra
  burden on the script authors and hence [a] significant barrier to
  uptake of the accessible markup style."

The necessary Javascript to enable simple uniform access to and
setting of ARIA attributes across browsers and indifferently wrt XHTML
vs HTML in [2] is 16 lines long.  Including and using this code in
scripts designed to exploit ARIA is likely to be a _very_ small
overhead, certainly not a "large burden", compared to the ARIA
applications themselves, and in my view is a cost people should and
will be happy to pay to avoid the confusion for authors which will
arise as they try to understand when to use aria: and when to use
aria- if we follow the currently-favoured path.


- -- 
 Henry S. Thompson, HCRC Language Technology Group, University of Edinburgh
                     Half-time member of W3C Team
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Received on Thursday, 17 April 2008 13:34:42 UTC