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Re: About authoring tools


From: Terence de Giere
Date: Nov 23, 2003 12:35PM

Michael D. Roush wrote: "Since the W3C has just released Amaya 8.2, is
anyone else looking at it?...."

Amaya is a good combination editor and web browser - it produces valid
XHTML pages, although support for authoring in HTML seems to have been
dropped somewhere back in one of the version 6 or 7 releases. Further,
Amaya has a number of alternate views of a web page that allow a quick
check of a number of accessibility requirements - alternative text view,
table of contents view (proper use of headings), links only, code
source view, and parsing errors.

Because its graphical view is significantly different from the major
browsers rendering of HTML, XHTML and CSS, I doubt developers will want
to use Amaya to check visual page renderings. As with other graphical
page editors, Amaya has incomplete CSS rendering, so complex linked
style sheets with CSS positioning may not render in a useful way in the
editor, but even sophisticated graphical commercial applications like
Dreamweaver MX 2004 fail in this respect.

I think Amaya, like the Opera browser, is a very useful addition to a
developer's tool kit. Amaya, because it does not support scripting, auto
refresh, and a number of other technologies that may cause problems with
assistive technology, and because it has these alternative views of a
page, Amaya allows a developer to quickly see if there are accessibility
related problems in a page. Because it has a built in parser, it can
also list the location of incorrect coding.

I have not checked Amaya for its accessibility as an application, but it
is a wonderful tool for a developer to evaluate, and sometimes repair,
web site problems related to accessibility. As an example I just went to
The Bank of New York web site (http://www.bankofny.com/) in Amaya 8.2.
This site is a dead site in this browser, presenting the user with a
blank page. No table of contents, no links, a blank alternative view, a
parsing error indicating an invalid FRAMESET tag (although this latter
error was caused by not escaping characters in the JavaScript on the
page) This script, which writes most of the page structure and content
to the page is a major accessibility problem for this site because there
is no alternative for what it does.

Amaya is still not complete as the W3C intends, and it does have some

It is also free, source code is available, and pre-compiled binaries are
available for Windows and a number of Linux distributions, a four to
five megabyte download. Users having other architectures are expected to
compile the Amaya source code.

Terence de Giere


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