GUIs (was Re: A comment on Slashdot)

cpt.kirk at cpt.kirk at
Sat Apr 15 01:24:42 EDT 2000

While it could be argued that not all apps are accesible, I don't see any
arguing that this is the fault of the application developers.

The thing is that in Winblows it takes application support to make MSAA
work. M$ Office is a great example of this effect. Because they created
new controls that were not in MSAA definitions, MSAA failed to work with
them. The same thing has happened to other programs. In short, the only
way to program with known accessibility is to limit oneself to the M$
Foundation Library. But this negates the whole point of C++. A developer
is supposed to be able to create a new control. Should it then rest on him
to modify the OS so that speech works?

My feeling is that MS has done a poor job of making their products
accessable. This is a result of several factors. The first being that it
is a late life after thought. Next, there is minimal support given to
making/keeping it accessible. Someone said 12 developers are on the team.
It sounds about right. The lack of commitment is further illustrated in
IE4. It was known that MSAA would break. The product shipped anyway. It
was promised to be right for Win98. That was an empty promise. I saw that
one get cut. I knew one of the guys who was testing that (though not with
a screen reader).

Part of the problem is that Winblows is a cobbled OS. Part of that is due
to market forces. Part is due to the desire to gain ever larger market
share at any cost. I think eventually we will see the downfall of M$
because they can no longer build on what they have. Combine that with a
refusal to start with new code. (Or the inability to do so.) The thing is
that MS suffers from lack of documentation within their own code. There
are segments that nobody there knows what the function is. But when said
segment is pulled strange behaviors appear. Sometimes the fix for the
problem is to turn it into a "feature" that can't be disabled. Such is the
fate of the stupid tooltip that explains what the X in the upper right
hand corner faced. The switch to turn it off broke and they didn't know
why. In the end they just removed that from the config menus.

Kirk Wood
Cpt.Kirk at

Why can't you be a non-conformist, like everybody else?

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