Eclipse Accessibility Tools Framework
We talked to Kentarou Fukuda in the Eclipse Accessibility Tools Framework, part of the new Eclipse Galileo Release.
JAXenter: Can you describe the Eclipse ACTF Project in a few words?
Kentarou Fukuda: The Eclipse Accessibility Tools Framework (ACTF) project is working to provide an extensible and comprehensive framework for accessibility tools. Our ultimate goal is to that each artifact generated with or developed on the Eclipse IDE will be accessible for everyone.
JAXenter: Can you give a typical use case for the project?
Kentarou Fukuda: A typical use case of the current ACTF is to check and improve the accessibility of Web content. ACTF provides an integrated development environment for accessible Web applications, going even beyond legislative compliance (such as U.S. Section 508) and also considering the special usability needs of voice access users and low vision users. ACTF also can be used as an SDK to develop accessibility-related tools, such as accessibility checkers or usability visualization tools like our aDesigner (http://www.eclipse.org/actf/downloads/tools/aDesigner/index.php).
JAXenter: What´s new in the Galileo Version of ACTF ?
Kentarou Fukuda: In the ACTF 0.7 (Galileo release), ACTF extends the Web, J2EE, and PHP Perspectives of Eclipse with seamless accessibility-evaluation features, such as automatic error detection, visualization of usability for voice access users, and image-processing-based simulation of the views of people with various visual problems. These features can help developers in quickly recognizing, learning about, and improving the accessibility of their applications. ACTF 0.7 supports checking the accessibility of ODF files by using the latest OpenOffice.org 3.x. Flash accessibility check function of ACTF supports SWF version 9 files. We also provides documentation for users and developers in this release.
JAXenter: Why is it important to be part of Galileo?
Kentarou Fukuda: To join an annual release was one of our main objectives for the project. We want to contribute to Eclipse and to raise public awareness of the project. Through this work, the quality and the maturity of ACTF were drastically improved. It’s a good experience for us to work with such a large community. We’ll continue to enhance ACTF by leveraging this experience.
JAXenter: Where do you see ACTF in one year? How will the project evolve after Galileo?
Kentarou Fukuda: The Eclipse ACTF team is planning to start community implementation of checking logic for new and coming accessibility guidelines, such as WCAG 2.0 and the new Section 508 revisions. We are already working on several new features for visual complexity visualization and accessibility evaluation for mobile devices, which will expand the coverage of ACTF in the next release. We also have plans to work with other Eclipse projects, such as WTP and PDT, to provide a more integrated accessibility improvement environment for Web developers. Please give us your feedback to improve ACTF!