[Accessibility] Reviewing IAccessible2 & working to ensure that AT-SPI and IAccessible2 evolve in mutually compatible ways

Pete Brunet brunet at us.ibm.com
Wed Sep 24 12:30:29 PDT 2008

Peter, There were quite a few of us at IBM who spent several months 
ensuring that IA2 was as close as possible to AT-SPI.  Note that Aaron 
Leventhal was a member of that team.  One of his goals was to ensure that 
there would be a minimal effort to port between an MSAA/IA2 implementation 
and an ATK/AT-SPI implementation.  That effort has been proven in practice 
with the creation of Firefox 3 which is accessible on Win via JAWS, NVDA, 
and Window-Eyes and on Linux via Orca.

Based on the above history and my current workload I can't justify 
creating a document that summarizes the UAAPI (UNO A11y API) to MSAA/IA2 
deltas - and I don't see how an analysis of UAAPI would help anyone verify 
whether or not there is an optimal correlation between AT-SPI and 

Also, it has been proven, in the Lotus Symphony implementation, that UAAPI 
implementations can be bridged to MSAA/IA2 implementations.

It has always been a primary goal that IA2 would be as close as possible 
to ATK/AT-SPI and that is still a goal as we continue into the future. 
There is evidence of work toward this goal documented in the following 

I don't see any reason why the vote on IA2 1.0.2 needs to be delayed any 
further.  IA2 version 1.0.1 is implemented and proven in FF3 (and Symphony 
and Magic and I think some others).  IA2 version 1.0.2 only contains 
improved commentary and some new constants.  Both 1.0.1 and 1.0.2 have 
been well reviewed.  Future work on a version 1.1 can proceed, improving 
IA2, and taking into account any issues that come up in other 
implementation such as perhaps OpenOffice.

I think it's time to approve the spec and move on to the next version. 
What are others thoughts?

Pete Brunet
IBM Accessibility Architecture and Development
11501 Burnet Road, MS 9022E004, Austin, TX 78758
Voice: (512) 838-4594, Cell: (512) 689-4155
Ionosphere: WS4G

Peter Korn <Peter.Korn at Sun.COM> 
Sent by: Peter.Korn at Sun.COM
09/23/2008 05:19 PM

Open A11y <accessibility at a11y.org>, Pete Brunet/Austin/IBM at IBMUS, Li Yuan 
<Li.Yuan at Sun.COM>

Reviewing IAccessible2 & working to ensure that AT-SPI and IAccessible2 
evolve in mutually compatible ways

Dear Pete, Li, and the Open Accessibility community,

During the con-call earlier today, we discussed the upcoming vote on 
IAccessible2.  During the discussion, we understood that we had 
essentially these two goals for the two accessibility interfaces with 
respect to eachother:
1.      We would like to ensure that AT-SPI and IAccessible2 evolve going 
forward in a way that is as compatible/aligned as possible, in order to 
2.      We would like it to be as easy as possible for cross-platform apps 
(e.g. OpenOffice, Firefox/Mozilla, KDE & GNOME generally) to be accessible 
on multiple platforms (Windows via IAccessible2 & UNIX via AT-SPI) with 
the minimum of additional work
While Willie has provided some review and feedback to the list (which has 
been discussed via e-mail), we felt it would be good for the AT-SPI 
maintainer (Li Yuan) to also provide his review & feedback - especially 
given the goals of helping ensure that evolution of these two 
accessibility frameworks were as compatible/aligned as is reasonable to 
do.  I also suggested that it would be helpful - again in service of these 
goals - to have a summary of the changes made and the reasons for the 
changes in IAccessible2 since it branched from the UNO Accessibility 
framework from which it came.

To that end, Pete - could you please produce such a summary for 
IAccessible2?  Likewise, Li - can you summarize the key changes/additions 
to AT-SPI over the last 2 years, and what they were in service of?

I think with these summaries (and with your review of Pete's summary and 
the IAccessible2 spec. Li), we will be in a good place to both vote on 
IAccessible2 becoming a formal specification of the Open A11y group and 
also to ensure that both specifications continue to evolve in compatible 


Peter Korn
Accessibility Architect & Principal Engineer,
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
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