What is a VPAT? Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1998 provides strict accessibility standards that any technology must strive to meet before the U.S. federal government can consider purchasing it. As such, federal IT purchasers must conduct market research about a product before it can be adopted by their agency. A VPAT (Voluntary Product Accessibility Template) provides purchasers with detailed information about a product to help them conduct their market research. Other customers in the IT industry, as well as foreign governments, have also adopted aspects of Section 508 into their purchasing requirements. For more information about Microsoft’s commitment to Section 508, please see http://www.microsoft.com/enable/microsoft/section508essay.aspx.
Why Beta 2? Typically we wait until RTM to publish a VPAT for a product. However, for Visual Studio 2005 we wanted to push the envelope and make this VPAT available for Beta 2. Since there is a Go Live! license for Beta 2, the availability of the VPAT can help our field establish early-adopter wins based on Visual Studio 2005 – especially in the government sector, which represents a very large portion of Microsoft’s customer base. By having the Beta 2 VPAT available it also allows us to solicit feedback about our accessibility story in Visual Studio 2005 and gives us a chance to make fixes in the product, or clarifications in the VPAT document, based on that customer feedback
Where can i view the Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 VPAT? http://download.microsoft.com/download/c/2/3/c23bc250-5f80-4d0c-a29d-877355ff91e8/Visual%20Studio%202005%20Beta%202%20VPAT.doc
Thanks Brian for making my writing sound so much better than it really is <grins>