Accessible Web Development Tools on the Rise

Today, even before my morning cup of coffee, I received this pleasant Google Alert in my inbox.

Visual Studio 2005 makes accessibility a real possibility — IT-Analysis – UK

… now comes with a validation program that will check that the code generated is firstly valid XHTML and then adheres to the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI …

The article discusses the importance of providing web developers and programmers who use Microsoft’s .NET framework (specifically, ASP.NET) with the ability to create accessible web pages through the use of their native development tools. Visual Studio 2005 seems to make a big leap forward in this regard, finally supporting XHTML pages, providing an interface to select the alt and longdesc attributes of images, and not requiring the use of tables for layout purposes. It can even incorporate a “skip navigation” link.

Several days ago I got my first look at a web site created with Adobe GoLive CS2 and was pleased to see an abundance of divs where there used to be tables, and a spattering of CSS throughout the page. While still leaving much to be desired, there’s no question that the newest versions of web development tools on the market today can make far better web sites than they used to. That’s good news for everybody since the overwhelming majority of web sites on the Internet today are created by using these programs. And since not all developers know how to write accessible web pages, having programs that do is a good first step.