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Re: AccMonitor

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From: Terence de Giere
Date: Aug 26, 2003 8:09PM


Carol Foster wrote:

Does anyone have knowledge or experience of AccMonitor or any other
HiSoftware product that is NOT tied in to Microsoft products...

Maybe you could clarify this question a bit. Did you mean: are there versions that do not run on Windows platforms? Linux? UNIX? SCO UNIX (which includes everything everyone has ever written for UNIX)? Maybe Mr. Yonatis (the CEO of HISoftware by the way) could clear up some points.

Will AccMonitor parse files like Cold Fusion code, ASP code, PHP code etc., or just the final page after it is processed and served by the server?

Generally we want to check the accessibility of the final page that the user experiences. I'm not sure whether any product is adept at navigating parts of pages or non-HTML tag names to check the accessibility at that level.

Since many developers will create multiple versions of pages for different browsers that can be assembled using detection schemes and includes using PHP, ASP, JSP etc., I think we also need to know if AccMonitor can successfully spoof various user agents, so it can test the served version of a page for a particular user agent, should a site be programmed that way.

It is logically possible for web pages composed of includes, and other generated HTML code to have accessibility problems even if the disassembled parts might check out OK, so checking raw code except for the final full page could lead to not catching errors. So it is not perfectly clear whether testing anything but the page a user is going to experience is practical. It might be most practical when developing general templates for a site, but still the final page is what has to be compliant. To check PHP, ASP, JSP, Cold Fusion, and languages used in CGI would mean that the software has to process code for each of those languages, which might not be practical to develop. Accessibility is at the users' end, not the server side.

While ideally we are trying in accessibility to create a single page that works for all browsers, this may not work out in real practice. For example, a number of government agencies are still tied to Netscape 4, which has a poor CSS implementation and might be best handled by a different style sheet applied by the server, or even slightly different HTML, to deal with some lacks of standards support.

Manual checking of pages is usually almost always necessary, so someone who knows what they are doing has to be part of use the package. The various applications developed by HISoftware do indicate what needs to be checked manually. They also can give a good overview of what percentage a particular problem on large site is, so one can gauge what kind of resources will be needed to fix the site.

I have been told that HISoftware is very responsive to user input, something a lot of software companies seem to have forgotten about.

Terence de Giere
<EMAIL REMOVED>





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