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Day: February 2, 2000

W3C Issues Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines As a Recommendation

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announced the release of the “Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0” (ATAG 1.0) specification, providing guidance to developers on how to design accessible authoring tools that produce accessible Web content. As a W3C Recommendation, the specification is stable, contributes to the universality of the Web, and has been reviewed by the W3C Membership. W3C encourages developers to promote Web accessibility by implementing this Recommendation. The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 explain how developers of authoring tools, such as HTML editors and site management tools, can encourage and assist in the production of accessible Web content through prompts, alerts, checking, repair functions, and help files in their tools. In addition to their value to accessibility, many of the principles addressed in the specification, such as the importance of producing and preserving valid markup, promote interoperability of the Web in general. The Guidelines address not only the accessibility of content produced by tools, but also the accessibility of the tool itself. The Web is not a read-only medium, and accessible authoring tools will enable all people to publish to the Web, regardless of disability. The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 address a broad range of tools, including WYSIWYG editors, “save-as-HTML” conversion tools, tools that dynamically generate content from databases, formatting tools, image editors, and site management tools. ATAG 1.0 consists of twenty-eight requirements, called “checkpoints,” for developing accessible authoring tools that produce accessible content. The checkpoints are organized according to seven overriding design principles, called “guidelines.” As with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, ATAG 1.0 checkpoints have three priority levels, which correspond to their importance for accessibility. There is a checklist providing a quick overview of the checkpoints by priority. W3C has made icons available for products claiming any one of the three conformance levels. The Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines Working Group is preparing a variety of implementation support materials to assist developers, including the “Techniques for Authoring Tool Accessibility,” published today as a W3C Note. At the time of this release, every requirement of the Guidelines has been implemented by one or more existing tools, though no tool yet satisfies all checkpoints. www.w3.org/WAI

OnDisplay Launches Free B2B XML Server

OnDisplay, Inc. announced that it will deliver a free business-to-business XML server software for any organization that needs to establish secure, guaranteed exchange with online trading partners. Called XML Connect, the new product enables the exchange of XML business documents — such as purchase orders, invoices, and order confirmations — seamlessly and securely with any other XML Connect user, as well as with users of OnDisplay’s CenterStage eBizXchange product. OnDisplay believes that by seeding the market with XML Connect, the company will greatly accelerate the adoption of XML and B2B commerce. Shipping now in limited partner release, XML Connect will be generally available on March 30, 2000, as a free download from the XML Connect web site (www.xmlconnect.net) and from OnDisplay’s web site. The product will include free online support. The new XML server will support all of the XML schemas on the market. XML Connect also allows B2B e-commerce participants to set up secure connections with their trading partners without the need to purchase and install proprietary software on both ends of the trading partner connection. The new XML Connect product provides guaranteed, secure, real-time delivery of business documents over the Internet. It consists of an XML-based messaging server with an open, published API and supporting documentation. Customers who deploy XML Connect will be able to upgrade their implementations to OnDisplay’s CenterStage eBizXchange easily and seamlessly. CenterStage eBizXchange provides scalable B2B integration capabilities for organizations that need to rapidly connect with hundreds or thousands of trading partners simultaneously. Leveraging the CenterStage 4 platform for “many to many, any to any” B2B integration, CenterStage eBizXchange provides: www.ondisplay.com

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