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Minutes of the Open A11y Expert Handlers SIG Call 2008/04/28


  • Neil Soiffer (NS/chair)
    • Pete Brunet (PB)
    • Gregory J. Rosmaita, (GJR, scribe)
    • Janina Sajka (JS)
      • regrets: Alexander Surkov

Agenda Review

Approval of Last Meeting's Minutes

Minutes of Expert Handlers Conference Call 2008/04/28

TOPIC 1: Expert Handlers: Editing Scenarios/DOM Interaction (continued)

scribe's note: discussion postponed

TOPIC 2: Developers' Expectations

Feedback from Alexander Surkov

Scribe's Note: Since Alexander cannot join the meetings in person, and since he has been patiently waiting for an answer to the following inquiries, it is imperative that we deal with his feedback and communicate via the list and minutes.

Alexander Surkov Issue 1

Originally I look for the way how to make accessible MathML in Firefox, I look for ideas and any experience in this field. I ran through expert handlers pages and tried to catch general idea. Unfortunately I didn't find any technical details how it should helps with MathML accessibility. So I'll try to form some questions and in some cases I'll try to give my understanding of this.

1) What is expert handlers?
It is the way to link the client software (like Firefox) and server software (screen readers) in order to expose XML languages (like MathML) to server software (make it accessible).
2) How does it look?
There is mediator that transforms information about XML language used on the certain web page (in the case of web browser) into some XML structure (by RDF/OWL usage). This XML structure should be exposed to AT (screen readers). Here I can see two possible approaches: AT deals with XML structure or there is another mediator that transform that XML structure to the certain AT API calls (like IA2 or ATK).

If the item above makes sense then I have following up questions:

1) Why do we need the mediator and why do we need to use RDF/OWL?
Doesn't AT API allow to expose interested XML languages directly?
2) How should it look for accessible XML languages like HTML. Will something be changed in their handling?

source: What is expert handlers? post by Alexander Surkov, 17 April 2008

Alexander Surkov Issue 2

There is two cases: when the browser supports the XML dialect natively or it doesn't. When the browser does then browser EH plug-in is the browser itself (another words: browser EH plug-in is hardcoded into browser). For example, like we have in Firefox for HTML. There we expose HTML content to AT by AT API (like ATK or IAccessible2) usage. If the browser doesn't support some XML dialect then browser EH plug-in may be a JavaScript script that allows the browser to expose that XML content to AT and here @implements attribute is used to define when that script should be executed. In this chain I don't get what role does AT EH plug-in play. Is it used when the specialized markup should be transformed to information to be used by something else than screen readers? Where are ontologies here?

source: post by Alexander Surkov, 23 April 2008


PB: XML dialects handled natively communicate directly with a11y API; assumed expert handler would be code that would natively fire MSAA (or similar) events and respond to MSAA (or similar) calls

NS: in releation to?

PB: native support

NS: if a11y API interface can be exposed will be used; allows traversal and supplies actual content

PB: plug-in would be javascript code --- code executing in UA javascript environment; not sure how would work; thinking more about a C++ model

NS: javascript can't provide interfaces that MSAA can use

GJR: javascript created with the dojo toolkit, thanks to becky gibson's work, should work by supporting ARIA

PB: right; will be done through ARIA

NS: javascript can get at an interface, but don't know how one would do it

PB: don't think a javascript discussion

GJR: also ECMAScript, AJAX, AxsJAX -- all provide better options/interfaces/communication with ARIA or directly with a11y API

NS: could imagine situation where one uses a Greasemonkey type approach

GJR: that's what Accessmonkey is being developed to do

JS: what exactly is javascript doing in native browser? understand client side, but taking a11y out of equation, if markup is XML, what is javascript doing? don't understand his point

NS: something has to provide interface -- unknown, unsupported -- who will provide? could use javascript to fix problem

PB: javascript scripting can't do this

NS: if browser doesn't support XML dialect, use javascripted handler -- not enough there to make an interface

NS: answer is: as far as we know, can't do with javascript, but could do with C++ or other programming language

NS: @implements -- only on SCRIPT

GJR: currently, yes

GJR: need to determine precisely which "WML" XML Events 2 refers to:

(scribe's note: the reference to WML in the XML Events 2 draft has been dropped by the working group responsible for the document.)

NS: what is expert handler? way to expose XML

GJR: AlexanderS coming from the position that what is needed will be included in XML dialects, we are coming from the opposite position -- that specialized markup cannot be relied upon to provide natively what is needed for read/write interaction with specialized content in context

NS: dealing with expert, not generalized markup

NS: expert handler implements Element Traversal, recursively given path to MathML and expert handler is invoked -- may not be there, if not there has to go get them;


Excerpt from XML Events 2

3.5.Event Handlers

This specification does not require an XML application that uses XML Events to use any particular method for specifying handlers. However, the examples, particularly those in the section on attaching the attributes directly to the handler, are intended to give examples of how they could be specified.

It is however recognized that two methods are likely to occur often: scripting (such as XHTML's SCRIPT element) and declarative markup using XML elements (such as WML's onEvent element). A companion specification will provide markup to support these methods.

TOPIC 3: Identify Agenda Items for the 5 May 2008 Handlers Call