Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

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Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Christiane Taras
Hello,

I'm working on a tactile browser for visually disabled people. I have a
tactile display where I can show texts and graphics on 120x60 pins. Now
I'd like to connect my display with Firefox. I'd like to use the whole
layouting feature from Firefox for my display as I think that I
couldn't do the layouting any better or faster.

My problem is: I don't know where to start.

I'm really a beginner in Firefox development. I just wrote a little
extension, but nothing more.
I downloaded Firefoxe source and tried to find some starting point for
me but I wasn't successful.

My aim is not to develop an own Firefox or so, but just an extension, a
plugin or a patch for Firefox, which every person can install easily.

Can anyone please help me?

Greetings,
        Christiane

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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Jason White
On Tue, Aug 08, 2006 at 01:34:01AM -0700, Christiane Taras wrote:
> I'm working on a tactile browser for visually disabled people. I have a
> tactile display where I can show texts and graphics on 120x60 pins. Now
> I'd like to connect my display with Firefox. I'd like to use the whole
> layouting feature from Firefox for my display as I think that I
> couldn't do the layouting any better or faster.
Apparently someone is already working on a braille extension to Firefox, but I
don't have a reference to the Web page, and a quick search didn't locate it.
The speech extension, which may have informative code in it, is
 http://www.firevox.clcworld.net/

I am sure the FireFox experts on this mailing list will have suggestions as to
how you can access the layout and style information. How do you plan to treat
tables that exceed the dimensions of your display? Will the user scroll the
display, or would it be better from the user's point of view to re-format the
table as is typically done in embossed braille?

Is this the metec display? I remember discussing it on a mailing list,
probably ten years ago. If I remember correctly, there is at least one in
Germany and possibly another in Canada. The production cost of the hardware is
enormous, and I was told that it was electro-magnetically driven. It is to be
hoped that hardware designers find ways of manufacturing tactile displays with
similar capabilities, but as a much reduced cost, so that people who could
benefit from it will be able to gain access to such equipment.

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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

crayne
In reply to this post by Christiane Taras
Christiane,

Here is a link that you might find useful:

http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Building_an_Extension

There should be no need to modify the Firefox source to create an
extension, although you might want to look at the code from time to time to
find out how to do things that are not well documented :-)


Susan





                                                                                                                                                     
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Hello,

I'm working on a tactile browser for visually disabled people. I have a
tactile display where I can show texts and graphics on 120x60 pins. Now
I'd like to connect my display with Firefox. I'd like to use the whole
layouting feature from Firefox for my display as I think that I
couldn't do the layouting any better or faster.

My problem is: I don't know where to start.

I'm really a beginner in Firefox development. I just wrote a little
extension, but nothing more.
I downloaded Firefoxe source and tried to find some starting point for
me but I wasn't successful.

My aim is not to develop an own Firefox or so, but just an extension, a
plugin or a patch for Firefox, which every person can install easily.

Can anyone please help me?

Greetings,
        Christiane

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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Aaron Leventhal-3
In reply to this post by Christiane Taras
If you want information on positioning you'll need to get nsIAccessible
for those DOM nodes you care about that for:
http://lxr.mozilla.org/seamonkey/source/accessible/public/nsIAccessible.idl

nsIAccessible is an interface that's implemented for all objects. It
provides information about the role, state and position/bounds of
something. See the GetBounds() method.

Here's an example of nsIAccessible being used in Javascript:
http://lxr.mozilla.org/seamonkey/source/accessible/public/nsIAccessible.idl

For other layout information you can use getComputedStyle -- you can
search the web for examples of that being used.

The idea of working with another existing a11y extension such as Fire
Vox sounds like a good one.

Finally, I'm interested to hear more about the the end user experience
you are aiming for.

- Aaron
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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Christiane Taras
In reply to this post by Christiane Taras
Jason White wrote:
> Apparently someone is already working on a braille extension to Firefox, but I
> don't have a reference to the Web page, and a quick search didn't locate it.
> The speech extension, which may have informative code in it, is
>  http://www.firevox.clcworld.net/

Thanks for your hint. I will search for some information.


> How do you plan to treat
> tables that exceed the dimensions of your display? Will the user scroll the
> display, or would it be better from the user's point of view to re-format the
> table as is typically done in embossed braille?

At the moment we work with a special browser which we wrote in Java.
This is reformatting the table. We plan to develop a table explorer
which shows an overview and where rows, columns and cells can be
selected. We already have developed an explorer for SVGs where
different colors, paths, circles etc. can be selected.


> Is this the metec display?

Yes, it's a metec display and it is old, heavy and electro-magnetically
driven. At the moment we plan a project to develop a new display
together with metec.

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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Christiane Taras
In reply to this post by Aaron Leventhal-3

Aaron Leventhal wrote:

> If you want information on positioning you'll need to get nsIAccessible
> for those DOM nodes you care about that for:
> http://lxr.mozilla.org/seamonkey/source/accessible/public/nsIAccessible.idl
>
> nsIAccessible is an interface that's implemented for all objects. It
> provides information about the role, state and position/bounds of
> something. See the GetBounds() method.
>
> Here's an example of nsIAccessible being used in Javascript:
> http://lxr.mozilla.org/seamonkey/source/accessible/public/nsIAccessible.idl
>
> For other layout information you can use getComputedStyle -- you can
> search the web for examples of that being used.

This sounds really good! I'll try this. If it is as easy as it seems
now it would be really really great. Thanks for this hint I think it
will help me much. Unfortunately you posted two times the same link,
but I found some examples with JavaScript. Thanks again.

Christiane

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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Aaron Leventhal-3
Here's the correct link for the Javascript nsIAccessible usage:
http://www.mozilla.org/access/samples/js-nsIAccessible.htm

- Aaron

Christiane Taras wrote:

> Aaron Leventhal wrote:
>> If you want information on positioning you'll need to get nsIAccessible
>> for those DOM nodes you care about that for:
>> http://lxr.mozilla.org/seamonkey/source/accessible/public/nsIAccessible.idl
>>
>> nsIAccessible is an interface that's implemented for all objects. It
>> provides information about the role, state and position/bounds of
>> something. See the GetBounds() method.
>>
>> Here's an example of nsIAccessible being used in Javascript:
>> http://lxr.mozilla.org/seamonkey/source/accessible/public/nsIAccessible.idl
>>
>> For other layout information you can use getComputedStyle -- you can
>> search the web for examples of that being used.
>
> This sounds really good! I'll try this. If it is as easy as it seems
> now it would be really really great. Thanks for this hint I think it
> will help me much. Unfortunately you posted two times the same link,
> but I found some examples with JavaScript. Thanks again.
>
> Christiane
>
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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Aaron Leventhal-3
In reply to this post by Christiane Taras
Note that nsIAccessible is not a "blessed" interface. This means, under
normal circumstances, it can't be used by content.

Hence the directions on the page:
 > Directions: enter about:config in your URL bar and set
 > signed.applets.codebase_principal_support to true, otherwise the
 > script won't work!

However, an extension is chrome and can use nsIAccessible. So you should
be fine. Just FYI, if the extension doesn't work you need to use
signed.applets.codebase_principal_support

Also, in Firefox 3 we are straightening out nsIAccessible so that it:
1) Always reports the same roles and states, whether on Linux or Windows
2) Cross platform specialized interfaces such as nsIAccessibleValue,
nsIAccessibleTable, nsIAccessibleEditableText, nsIAccessibleText,
nsIAccessibleHyperText, nsIAccessibleHyperLink, nsIAccessibleDocument
and nsIAccessibleSelectable are available on all platforms. In Firefox
1.5 and Firefox 2 they are only available in the scripting environment
under Linux.

- Aaron

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Re: Bringing Firefox layout to tactile display

Christiane Taras
In reply to this post by Aaron Leventhal-3
Hello,

I think I have good news for the accessibility community. Aaron, your
hint was really what I needed. Thanks again. It works really, really
fine. Today I've finished a conceptual implementation for my tactile
browser. It's based on a Firefox extension, a CSS stylesheet, some
JavaScript code and some Java code. I really think we could have a
working TactileFirefox in a half or one year. We'll try to design it to
work with single- and multiline braille displays.
Furthermore we're working on the development of a new and less
expensive multiline display.
I'll keep you up-to-date.

Greetings,
      Christiane

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