OSS-Based Development of a Web Accessibility Observatory

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Title: OSS-Based Development of a Web Accessibility Observatory.
Author(s): Terje Gjøsæter, Morten Goodwin, Parastoo Mohagheghi.
Published date: June 2006.
Published at: Second Workshop on Web Accessibility and Metamodelling 2006


The EU-funded project EIAO (European Internet Accessibility Observatory) is establishing the technical foundations for a large scale observatory for monitoring the accessibility of European web sites.We will in this paper focus on presenting a heterogeneous architecture implemented for the EIAO web accessibility observatory. The architecture presented in this paper has been made possible through the use and reuse of Open Source Software (OSS) components. While OSS operating systems and desk top applications are widely used, there have been few publications on benefits and challenges of reusing OSS components for application development. Due to the availability of code and the right to modify it, OSS components may be modified and extended to fit the application requirements. The quality is also raised by using the resources of the OSS community for bug fixing or reporting fixes back to the community. This abstract presents examples of components that are central to the Observatory application.The observatory's software architecture contains components developed from scratch and based on OSS components. The goal has been to reuse OSS as far as possible to shorten development time. Only when no suitable OSS component has been found, new components are developed from scratch. We may therefore divide the components into two main categories; new, and OSS-based components.

As shown above, the software architecture has been made possible through the use and reuse of OSS components. This includes the new components, which use open source components without modification, and the OSS-based components, which customise existing OSS components. The OSS components offer a variety of functionality central for the development of the observatory. One main criteria for OSS selection is the readability and understandability of code for modification and the quality of documentation and support. Thus, we have benefited from the availability and openness of Open Source software in multiple ways.For the next release of the EIAO Observatory, we plan to do a more thorough test of needed functionality of the integrated third party OSS components. We hope this will limit the number of unknown bugs and improve the quality of the software, while the architecture is mainly stabilized by now.


author{Terje Gjøsæter, Morten Goodwin Olsen and Parastoo Mohagheghi},
title{OSS-Based Development of a Web Accessibility Observatory},

The author of this document is:
Morten Goodwin
E-mail address is:
morten.goodwin [at] uia.no
Phone is:
+47 95 24 86 79