SUN brings power of JAVA to users with disabilities
Java Accessibility API Supports Assistive Technologies Including Screen Readers and Braille Terminals
Last Update: Monday, 29-May-2006 06:13:09 PDT
From SUNFLASH of the 23.07.1997.
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA - July 23, 1997 -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. today
announced the preview specification for its JavaTM Accessibility API,
which will enable Java developers to write applications that many more
of America's 40 million people with disabilities can immediately access
and use. The Java Accessibility API is designed to allow assistive
technologies such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, speech
recognition systems and Braille terminals to access Java applications.
It is available for public review at http://java.sun.com/products/jfc/.
The Java Accessibility API was created through an open design process
based on input from licensees and developers, as well as experts in the
assistive technology field. Java Accessibility is one of the core
foundation services in the Java Foundation Classes, a comprehensive set
of graphical user interface components and foundation services designed
to simplify development of Internet, intranet and desktop
"The Java Accessibility API was designed to allow people with
disabilities greater access to the world of Web technology -- both at
home and in the workplace," said Jon Kannegaard, vice president of
software products at JavaSoft, a business unit of Sun Microsystems,
Inc. "For example, a developer can now create a single application to
be used by users with and without disabilities at the same time."
Java developers will be able to start creating applications that
support the Java Accessibility API immediately. These
Accessibility-enabled applications will run seamlessly on Java-enabled
machines that do not require assistive technology support. In
addition, technologies developed using the Java Accessibility API will
enable further advances in Java computing in areas outside of
accessibility. For example, using the Java Accessibility API to refine
speech recognition capabilities will enable developers to create
nomadic applications that do not rely on either touch or vision.
The Java Accessibility API and all the features of the Java Foundation
Classes will become part of the next version of the
Java Development Kit
(JDKTM), due later this year. More information on the Java
Accessibility API can be found on the Java Foundation Classes Web page
at http://java.sun.com/products/jfc. Further details can be found at
Sun's Accessibility site: http://www.sun.com/tech/access.
Java Internet Business Expo
JavaSM Internet Business ExpoSM takes place August 25-28, 1997 in
New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The Java industry will
converge on this event to showcase the latest applications and
solutions that take Java beyond the desktop -- from consumer
electronic devices to enterprise-wide Java-based computing. For more
information, or to register, visit http://www.javaexpo.sbforums.com or
- American Council for the Blind
- "I applaud Sun's leadership and approach to making Java
accessible," said Brian Charlson, first vice president at American
Council for the Blind. "Sun is designing accessibility directly into
the Java Platform, rather than retrofitting it as an afterthought.
Java licensees should work with Sun to make their implementations of
Java accessible, and follow Sun's leadership in Java Accessibility.
The blind community does not need multiple approaches to making Java
Contact: Brian Charlson
American Council for the Blind
- American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
- "I am particularly encouraged that Sun is developing the Java
Accessibility API from the ground up as an integral part of Java, and
not as an afterthought and retrofit," said Janina Sajka, director,
Information Systems at American Foundation for the Blind. "We're
looking forward with growing excitement to the products that will
result from their efforts. The 'pluggable' user interface that will
be enabled by Sun's work may well prove the most usable yet created
for people who are blind. Since bits and bytes do not intrinsically
discriminate against anyone, it is only right that communication and
information architectures based on bits and bytes should also include
everyone who has the desire to learn and contribute. Sun's efforts
and dedication are turning these principles into tangible reality.
This is truly an exciting prospect for people whose only good access
to information is a well-adapted computer."
Contact: Janina Sajka
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
- Apple Computer
- "When Apple founded the industry's first Disability Solutions Group
in 1985, it acknowledged that the personal computer, like no other
tool before it, enabled kids and adults with disabilities not just to
do something faster or more efficiently, but in many cases to do
Today, Apple Computer, Inc., is pleased to support Sun Microsystems
in its effort to help make the Internet universally accessible. The
Internet -- which provides unprecedented access to information and
creative avenues of expression -- is a distinctively powerful tool for
individuals with disabilities. The 'Java Accessibility API' helps
build 'electronic curbcuts' into the Internet, making it a place that
is more open, more friendly, and more useable by people with a range
Apple looks forward to working with Sun in the continued
development and implementation of the 'Java Accessibility API' and
other tools that enable the Internet to be easily used by kids and
adults who are disabled."
Contact: Russell Brady
Apple Computer, Inc.
- Blazie Engineering
- "We are very impressed with Sun Microsystems' efforts to build
support for accessibility into Java right from the beginning," said
Deane Blazie, president of Blazie Engineering. "Sun is building a
Java Accessibility API based on the needs of, and feedback from, the
Assistive Technology community. Furthermore, the 'pluggable' user
interface architecture allows us to build alternative interfaces such
as audio and Braille, so that applications can be directly accessible
for the first time, without the need for screen readers to interpret
the visual contents of the display. With the Accessibility API and
the pluggable user interface architecture, Java is definitely the best
way to go for the disability community."
Contact: Deane Blazie
- "IBM Special Needs Systems has been working with Sun's
accessibility group to build next-generation accessibility into Java,"
said Rich Schwerdtfeger, Lead Architect, IBM Special Needs Systems.
"Sun's announcement of the Java Foundation Classes supporting
accessibility is a statement to the industry that open-standards
accessibility is not considered an afterthought, but as an important
component starting with the initial design. IBM endorses Sun's 100%
Pure Java accessibility efforts, and we will continue to work with Sun
to ensure that future versions of Java have accessibility features that
can be used by application developers to access-enable their
applications, independent of operating system or platform."
Contact: Judy Radlinsky
- Netscape Communications Corp.
- "Netscape is committed to supporting the disabled community by
providing products and features that enable disabled people to leverage
the power of the Internet," said Rick Schell, senior vice president of
client and platform products division at Netscape Communications
Corporation. "By developing the Java Accessibility API, JavaSoft is
providing the underlying technologies in Java that make these features
possible. Netscape plans to leverage the new Java Accessibility API to
deliver powerful capabilities for the disabled in our future products."
Contact: Andrea Cook
Netscape Communications Corp.
- University of Toronto
- "The Java Foundation Classes have the potential to be the most
accessible and flexible user interface system to date," said Jutta
Treviranus, manager, Adaptive Technology Resource Centre Information
Commons. By virtue of separating the presentation and control from
the underlying logical structure, the Java Foundation Classes
encourage applications which accommodate the very diverse interface
needs of computer users. Sun's open design process helps to ensure
user responsive products. The Adaptive Technology Resource Centre at
the University of Toronto is pleased to be part of this design
process, assisting Sun in making JFC-based applications barrier-free
to people with disabilities."
Contact: Jutta Treviranus
University of Toronto
- University of Wisconsin (Trace Research and Development Center)
- "Sun is to be commended for its efforts to solicit input from the
disability community starting relatively early in Java's development,"
said Gregg Vanderheiden, professor of Human Factors/Industrial
Engineering, University of Wisconsin and director of Trace Research and
Development Center. "They have also acted on this early input, have
made changes to the core class libraries, and have now introduced the
first version of the Java Accessibility API. Particularly notable is
Sun's effort to work on both direct accessibility (where Java applets
and applications would be directly usable by people with disabilities),
and with enhancing the compatibility of Java applets and applications
with screen readers and other assistive technologies used by people
Contact: Gregg Vanderheiden
University of Wisconsin (Trace Research and Development Center)
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