Microsoft Enables Java for People With Disabilities

LOS ANGELES, March 18, 1997 — Today at CSUN, a conference and trade show focused on technology for people with disabilities, Microsoft Corp. announced the Microsoft® Active Accessibility
(MSAA) for Java
specification. This specification enables Java developers to easily and immediately begin making their applications usable by the millions of computer users with disabilities. Until now, applications developed with Java have been unusable with accessibility aids, which are specialized utilities for alternate computer input and output that allow people with disabilities to use computers. To eliminate this barrier, the Active Accessibility for Java specification permits the integration of any Java application with accessibility aids running on a variety of computing platforms. The specification is currently available and can be freely implemented by any Java developer or accessibility aid manufacturer.

“The Internet holds great promise for equalizing opportunities for people with disabilities,” said Jamal Mazrui, a legislative analyst for the National Council on Disability. “The inaccessibility of Java-based applications has been a threat to that promise. A welcome benefit of Active Accessibility for Java is that it makes it easier for businesses writing Java Applets to comply with legal requirements like those in the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act and the Telecommunications Act.”

Active Accessibility for Java provides a standard set of Java interfaces to integrate with specific accessibility aid products or a given platform’s native accessibility APIs, making it easy for Java developers to add cross-platform support for accessibility aids. Active Accessibility for Java builds on Microsoft’s experience with its Active Accessibility API on the Windows® operating system. MSAA is the native accessibility API set on the Windows platform, providing the system files and specifying conventions for the operating system and applications to actively cooperate with accessibility aids. Microsoft plans to deliver an implementation of the Active Accessibility for Java specification on the Windows platform using MSAA. Furthermore, the Microsoft Application Foundation Classes fully support Active Accessibility for Java. Applications created using this state-of-the-art set of cross-platform class libraries will automatically provide integration with accessibility aids – no additional effort is required by developers.

“Java is an exciting new programming language, and we want to ensure that applications written in Java are accessible to everyone,” said John Ludwig, vice president of the Internet client and collaboration group at Microsoft. “That’s why we’re ensuring that the Active Accessibility for Java specification is available to all developers on any platform.”

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Active Accessibility and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Java is a trademark of Sun Microsystems Inc.

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