[Accessibility] ATK/AT-SPI interoperability on Windows and MacOS

Pete Brunet brunet at us.ibm.com
Tue Aug 7 13:00:03 PDT 2007

Marcus, There have been discussions with Microsoft.  Their plans are to 
support UIA which is a solution for managed apps on Win.  For the 
situation as of last December see this blog entry from Rich Schwerdtfeger: 
 http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/schwer?tag=UIA  (I don't 
know what their recent thoughts are on UIA for unmanaged apps.)  So the 
best we could do was to create IAccessible2, an extension to what MS 
provides.  As Peter points out MSAA+IA2 are pretty close to ATK. Hopefully 
Apple will eventually create something that is close as possible to 
MSAA+IA2 and ATK.  BTW, IA2 is currently implemented in IBM Lotus Notes 8, 
JAWS, and Window-Eyes, and is being implemented in Firefox 3.

Pete Brunet
IBM Accessibility Architecture and Development
11501 Burnet Road, MS 9022E004, Austin, TX 78758
Voice: (512) 838-4594, TL 678-4594, Fax: (512) 838-9666
Ionosphere: WS4G

Peter Korn <Peter.Korn at sun.com> 
Sent by: accessibility-bounces at lists.linux-foundation.org
08/02/2007 01:25 AM

accessibility at linux-foundation.org

Re: [Accessibility] ATK/AT-SPI interoperability on Windows and MacOS

Hi Marcus,

Are you familiar with the IAccessible2 interface(s)?  They look a lot 
like ATK/AT-SPI, and provide a superset of MSAA that works on Windows. 
Folks who have cross platform applications have said it is about 15% 
more work to support IAccessible2 and ATK from the same application. 
15% is more than 0%, but significantly less than 100%...

I can't speak to the Carbon system...


Peter Korn
Accessibility Architect,
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

> Hi,
> I wonder, if there are any plans to get into touch with the Microsoft
> Windows and Mac OS accessibility architects to get to some common
> agreement about accessibility interoperability.
> For me as a developer it's pretty hard to learn three different a11y
> interfaces and develop software, which works with at least the three
> major accessibility providers (MSAA, ATK/AT-SPI and the Carbon
> accessibility system). It's also pretty time consuming and thus costly
> to maintain an accessibly software system, if you have to take care of
> three different underlying architectures. Even with toolkits like Gtk+
> it is not possible to have accessibility aware systems on all target
> platforms.
> Are there any plans to provide interoperability interfaces or even a new
> abstract accessibility definition the developers can rely on in the near
> or far future?
> Are there even some MS or Apple responsibles on this list who'd like to
> share their thoughts about that issue?
> Regards
> Marcus
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