Friday, March 7, 2008

IE8 embraces ARIA! and... extends?

Finally making time to post some thoughts about this.

Wow! Thank you Microsoft. Now we have FF, Opera, and IE8 as platforms for accessible web2.0 applications. Notice any browser missing? (See end)

Don't read it please, but the MSDN has an article about support for ARIA markup in IE8.

Now, this is awesome, but... As Anne van Kesteren points out the good news is tainted by the non standard way ARIA information can be accessed in IE's DOM. I'm not going to give an example here since I don't want to accidentally promote potential IE only accessibility syntax where cross platform syntax exists.

We're on the case and are hopeful IE8 will change the docs to promote cross browser accessible DHMTL development (the setAttribute/getAttribute way).

More convenient access can always be provided in the various JavaScript toolkits (or not), but we just need to make sure the IE only way is not spread around in any ARIA educational material. Including the MSDN.

WebKit where is your ARIA support? My nagging continues.

[Updated MSDN link]


David Bolter said...

I must admit I do like the idea of having the ARIA attributes be properties of DOM objects. It has been pointed out to me the real cause for concern is that MS did not notify the PFWG (or the HTML WG) of this convenience API. Maybe it was just an oversight.

Charles Silverman said...

It looks like David Hyatt responded...

"This work is dependent on refactoring our accessibility code to bevcross-platform. I don't think we should bake in more Mac-specific code to do ARIA before that refactoring is complete. Our first goal should be to get the accessibility code from Objective-C to C++ so that GTK and Windows can get unblocked on adding their support (e.g., MSAA on Windows). Once we've done that we should be able to add an ARIA implementation with mostly cross-platform code.

"This would be an excellent Google Summer of Code project."

It looks like the intention to adapt ARIA is now clearly stated.

David Bolter said...

Hi Charles.

Yup. Let's hope the different browser developers work together to make sure the ARIA implementations are similar, if not identical.

The ARIA User Agent Implementors Guide should help!

David Bolter said...

update: I think the MSDN article I linked to has changed for the better... still seeing problems in other articles though.