Internet Explorer is a universal product used by people young and old, new and experienced, speaking many different languages. A lot of people take advantage of IE’s built in accessibility features (like page zoom, caret browsing, find in page, etc) and additional assistive technology such as screen readers to use the web. Accessibility is beneficial to everyone no matter what their abilities.
As with every Internet Explorer release, we are committed to delivering a browser that’s accessible for all users. Part of achieving that goal is making sure assistive technology works well with IE. IE9 fundamentally changes how users interact with the browser and how the browser takes advantage of the entire PC. Those changes also impact how assistive technology interacts with IE, which necessitates updates from some assistive technology. For example, the new notification model is not read by many screen readers, and screen readers can no longer depend on the GDI display subsystem since IE9 uses Windows Direct2D and DirectWrite as part of enabling hardware-accelerated HTML5.
Complete Web Standards with multiple browser implementations and comprehensive test suites are the backbone of the interoperable Web. Getting web standards through the complete standardisation process and turned into official W3C Recommendations takes a lot of effort. While it is tempting to view the latest editor’s draft of a specification as a “standard”, a large part of the complexity that ensures good interoperability happens in the “last mile”. In the last couple of weeks, several key web specifications have reached important milestones and these examples illustrate how the process works.
Last Call is the signal that the working group believes the spec is functionally complete and is ready for broad review from both other working groups and the public at large. The working group must respond to all the comments received during Last Call and this often results in changes to the specification. A further Last Call could be necessary if the changes are substantial.
The HTML parser is an important part of how we deliver on same markup because it plays a vital role in how the DOM is constructed. Therefore, it also plays a big role in how any DOM API or CSS rule is applied. While we’ve talked a lot about some of the high-profile API improvements in IE9 – getElementsByClassName, addEventListener, and so on – one important improvement we haven’t talked about is the HTML parser.
This is clearly important for developers, so we made interoperability improvements to our HTML parser in IE9 Standards Mode. This blog post provides practical guidance on how these improvements affect your site and how to avoid pitfalls in areas where all browsers still don’t behave the same way.