At the LibreOffice Conference in Paris, Michael Meeks demonstrated a
prototype of LibreOffice Online. A video is available on YouTube:
This prototype is being discussed on the Design mailing list (see
Since this is relevant to accessibility, I am forwarding the message I
sent to that mailing list.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: [libreoffice-design] APP/Online LibreOffice
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2011 22:43:30 +0200
From: Christophe Strobbe <Christophe.Strobbe@esat.kuleuven.be>
On Fri, 21 Oct 2011 21:53:40 +0200, Astron wrote:
As it was explained at the conference, the code used in one will be
the other, so we won't have two suites. As for UI improvements we
make them in an incremental way. No one will change the UI
simply is not realistic.
The problem is that mobile platforms use completely different UI
toolkits and also have completely different UI needs etc.
Did you attend Michael Meeks' presentation at the conference?
Michael said that LibreOffice Online (LOOL) uses HTML5 Canvas to
display the user interface, in other words, it does not use a user
Some background on HTML5 Canvas for those who are not familiar with it:
"The canvas element provides scripts with a resolution-dependent bitmap
canvas, which can be used for rendering graphs, game graphics, or other
visual images on the fly.
Authors should not use the canvas element in a document when a more
suitable element is available. For example, it is inappropriate to use a
canvas element to render a page heading: if the desired presentation of
the heading is graphically intense, it should be marked up using
appropriate elements (typically h1) and then styled using CSS and
supporting technologies such as XBL.
When authors use the canvas element, they must also provide content
that, when presented to the user, conveys essentially the same function
or purpose as the bitmap canvas. This content may be placed as content
of the canvas element. The contents of the canvas element, if any, are
the element's fallback content."
HTML5 Canvas accessibility (i.e. lack of accessibility) has been
heavily discussed on W3C mailing lists.
HTML5 spec editor Ian Hickson has stated that creating an editor in
Canvas makes no sense:
If I remember correctly, he used this as an argument for not making
However, specification editors cannot prevent HTML5 authors from doing
such things, and Richard Schwerdtfeger (IBM) used this as an argument
for making Canvas accessible:
Issues and discussions around Canvas accessibility have also been
collected at <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/wiki/AddedElementCanvas> (a wiki
used by the HTML5 Working Group).
When I asked Michael Meeks at the conference if LOOL was going to be
made accessible, part of his response was a question whether I knew any
Canvas-based applications that are accessible. Of course, I didn't. So
Michael is aware of the accessibility problem that Canvas represents.
Using a UI toolkit instead of Canvas would at least allow some level of
accessibility to screen readers: accessibility support is being added or
has been added to such libraries as JQuery UI, YUI, Mootools and a few
others. I believe that work on accessibility in UI toolkits for mobile
applications has also started, but I think this is far from mature.
For now, the
best I could imagine on mobile platforms would be a capable ODF
document viewer (unlike the existing viewers for Android).
Anyway, on the whole I'd agree to the notion that we need a mobile,
touch-oriented version of LibreOffice to stay afloat. (...)
Work on making touch-based interfaces accessible is also under way, if
I am not mistaken.
K.U.Leuven - Dept. of Electrical Engineering - SCD
Research Group on Document Architectures
Kasteelpark Arenberg 10 bus 2442
tel: +32 16 32 85 51
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- [libreoffice-accessibility] Fwd: Re: [libreoffice-design] APP/Online LibreOffice · Christophe Strobbe
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