Archive for December, 2005

AJAX has been the other big software story of 2005, along with Web 2.0

December 31, 2005

By: Dion Hinchcliff – Ajax has been the other big software story of 2005, along with Web 2.0. An optional ingredient to Web 2.0 software, Ajax has changed the perception of Web-based software as being horribly clunky, page-oriented, and boring when compared to native computer applications. Ajax describes a set of techniques that makes Web software quite the opposite.   (more…)


December 29, 2005

By Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer – – BOSTON — Beleaguered Massachusetts CIO Peter Quinn has resigned, but the controversy surrounding his decision to adopt OpenDocument formats won’t end with his departure. State officials haven’t indicated they plan to amend Quinn’s plan to adopt OpenFormat standards by Jan. 1, 2007 — a deadline that has advocates for people with disabilities worried.   (more…)

Creating accessible applications with Eclipse: An introduction

December 15, 2005

Hand on Computer Screen illustrationLevel: Introductory Mark Pilgrim, Accessibility Architect, IBM
Barry Feigenbaum, Worldwide Accessibility Center, IBM
Richard Schwerdtfeger, Distinguished Engineer, IBM
Kip Harris, Worldwide Accessibility Center, IBM
15 Dec 2005

from The Rational Edge: This first article in a new series on building accessible applications with Eclipse begins by looking at assistive technologies and disabilities. It then discusses the functions and features that make Eclipse well suited for creating accessible applications on Windows or UNIX.  

Accessibility is an umbrella term that covers everything and everyone involved in making a product usable by people with different abilities. Software accessibility has become a rapidly expanding field that encompasses all of the following:

  • Creation of application programming interfaces (APIs) for application developers that expose a program’s user interface to other programs.
  • Creation and incorporation of assistive technologies (ATs) — third-party software and hardware that hooks into an application’s accessibility APIs.
  • Compliance with the legal accessibility requirements mandated by several countries, including the US.
  • Accommodating end users with a variety of abilities and disabilities.
  • Ensuring interoperability for system accessibility features.

In the US, the primary commercial (versus humanitarian) driver for making applications accessible is a 1998 amendment to the Rehabilitation Act, known as Section 508. Requiring federal agencies to make their information technology accessible to people with disabilities, Section 508 applies to all information technology procurements within these agencies, with certain exceptions (see Appendix).   (more…)