by Andrew Kirkpatrick, Group Product Manager, Accessibility
I’m happy to share the news that Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4 are now available for download from the Adobe web site.
The open-source Flex SDK includes many accessibility improvements in the components to ensure that users of assistive technologies can access Flex applications more easily. During the development cycle the Adobe Flex team utilized the skill and accessibility experience provided by SSB BART Group and The Paciello Group to ensure that the accessibility implementations for standard Flex controls that developers will use are as accessible as possible. TPG and SSB were working waist-deep in the code and did a great job, not only on the exist set of components (Halo components) but also on the brand new Spark component set. As a result, the set of accessible controls is larger than ever and better than ever.
During this cycle we’ve also worked with Freedom Scientific to help reduce the need for Flex scripts for JAWS. As of right now, scripts are not needed for users of JAWS 11, although users of earlier versions of JAWS will use the existing scripts. We also worked with NVAccess and their open source screen reader NVDA, and NVDA users will have positive experiences with Flash and Flex applications also.
Read more about Flex 4 at http://www.adobe.com/products/flex. Flex is available for download at http://www.adobe.com/go/flex4_sdk.
Authoring accessible Flex application is easier than ever not only because of improvements to the components – Flex also provides new convenience properties in MXML to make adding accessibility information simple, and Flash Builder provides additional accessibility support. Flash Builder 4 (formerly called Flex Builder) is designed to help authors build rich internet applications (RIAs) using Flex. In Flash Builder 4 we’ve changed the default setting for new Flex applications to enable accessibility. In the past there was concern about impact on performance, but we feel that it is important to make Flex applications as accessible as possible with our tools.
We’ll have more information and tips about Flex 4 and Flash Builder 4 in the coming weeks. You can read more about Flash Builder 4 at http://www.adobe.com/products/flashbuilder/ and download a trial to check it our yourself.
Congratulations to the Flash Builder and Flex teams on a great release!