Congrats Mono A11y
Many congratulations to Mono Accessibility, team for getting their first release out into the open. The Mono A11y team must be one of the largest open-source A11y groups out there and I’m really excited about the work they are doing. WinForms and Moonlight are not yet my thing, but if Silverlight takes off the UIA provider they have created will undoubtedly form an essential part of Linux accessibility.
I don’t believe that it will be in the first release, but I’m really keen to see work start on the UIA client library for Mono. C# and Mono sound like a great place for developing new ATs.
AT-SPI D-Bus on freedesktop.org
For people who don’t know about Gnome accessibility or AT-SPI D-Bus:
AT-SPI D-Bus is a project which aims to use D-Bus instead of ORBit/CORBA as the IPC mechanism for Linux accessibility. For anyone interested in finding out about the Gnome accessibility architecture the developers page has some good information. Oddly enough KDE has a very good Gnome A11y overview, and Sun has a good diagram. Long story short the AT-SPI D-Bus aims to write a new, D-Bus based adapter for ATK, a registry daemon, and client libraries that are API compatible with the existing cspi and pyatspi.
The project has a new home on the freedesktop.org servers.
The code-base exists at: git://anongit.freedesktop.org/git/at-spi2/at-spi2-core.git.
We are keeping a page on the linux-foundation wiki updated with all our progress. Unfortunately I’d say that the code is not yet ready for a first release. For reasons soon evident the code isn’t currently getting the love it deserves. (Help MUCH appreciated)
The reason we chose freedesktop.org and the Linux Foundation instead of Gnome hosting is that we wanted to emphasize the cross-desktop possibilities of a D-Bus based accessibility architecture.
Gnome, KDE & Mono: How it all fits together
The Mono A11y architecture diagram is missing something important that the AT-SPI D-Bus project can add – QT accessibility.
The drive to D-Bus accessibility came from ORBit deprecation, the embedded community and an ideal of cross-desktop accessibility. Its the last motive that has me most excited right now. QT currently has a D-Bus framework based heavily off AT-SPI, but unfortunately it has never been taken far enough to be compatible with existing AT-SPI ATs. The reason that the ATK, cspi and pyatspi libraries are not getting my attention right now is that I really want to get started on bringing QT into the mix.
A QT adapter for AT-SPI D-Bus will certainly round-out the Accessibility infrastructure on Linux. Not being involved in the KDE community I don’t have much say on how they do A11y, but I hope to make it as easy as possible for them to choose AT-SPI D-Bus. Along with the Mono work this could mean that QT, GTK, ATK, Winforms & Swing apps are accessible, using the same ATs, in both KDE and Gnome. I think that would be a fantastic achievement. If we work hard enough accessibility could be one of the big success stories of a joint Akademy/Guadec next year.