FICS client for the blind for MAC

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FICS client for the blind for MAC

Postby Olivier Deville » 22 Mar 2016, 09:27

Here is a question by Gabriele, hopefully somebody can help?

Ciao Olivier.
You have more contact with chess players than me, for sure.
I'm desperately searching an accessible client to play FICS with a Apple
Mac computer. No problem under Windows, where Winboard with Jaws is
pritty good, but unfortunately there is nothing under Mac OS X but the
direct connection via the Telnet on Terminal.
If you know someone who's a computer geek, could you please passi it
throw my request?

Thank you very much.

Gabriel.
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Re: FICS client for the blind for MAC

Postby H.G.Muller » 22 Mar 2016, 09:53

Last summer someone made an 'accessible version' of XBoard as a Google Summer of Code project. Currently this is a fork separate from the branch that I was developing. We plan to integrate it in the main line, but I have had little time to work on XBoard in 2015, and the new branch does not compile on the old Linux system I am working on.

I suppose the accessible version can be compiled for Mac as well. (But I have no Mac.)
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Re: FICS client for the blind for MAC

Postby Josh Pettus » 22 Mar 2016, 19:29

Am I correct in assuming the accessible version makes use of Orca? My understanding is that Orca only works with the linux kernal. OSX is really based off of FreeBSD. So I'm afraid it won't work :( And even then, I bet Orca is suppose to be integrated with X11 which I opted out of for the OSX release. I'm afraid I'm at a loss as to what I could do to make a working solution even with the additional GSoC code...
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Re: FICS client for the blind for MAC

Postby H.G.Muller » 22 Mar 2016, 21:27

Well, blind people will have a screen reader installed on their computer, or they could not use it at all. This screen reader should be responsible for the reading of menu items, dialog texts etc. This is normally not something the application has to know about; screen readers just intercept the system functions for rendering texts on the display. The question is whether the screen readers in use on Mac will be able to interact with the GTK dialogs and menus, or just on native OSX Apps.

The only other issue is that the accessible XBoard wants to speak a sentence now and then. I thought that for this it could make use of a general text-to-speech interface, not belonging to any screen reader. I remember I pressed for having that, because I imagined a speaking version would also be used by sighted people that want to play thrugh a sensory Chess board, and would not want to look at the screen all the time to see what the opponent moved. Such people would likely not have a screen reader that could read it when XBoard displays it somewhere as text.
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Re: FICS client for the blind for MAC

Postby Josh Pettus » 23 Mar 2016, 01:21

I know for a fact the OSX screen reader can only read the cocoa menu, it can not read the GTK stuff. If our app were cocoa it would work with very little additional effort, but GTK is another story. I had a discussion with the gtkmacintegration maintainer JRalls as I was hoping they would have a solution, and he basically said we would need some additional software to handle the GTK side, (just as we use gettext to handle GTK translations and not the OSX XBoard menu which is handled by the OSX mechanism) which is Orca, but as I said It doesn't look like Orca can work. I'm afraid there isn't a single GTK app that exists that has this feature to use as reference.

For sighted people we could use the command "say" to speak strings to the user, and maybe use the text interface to speech to text enter a move using OSX built in speech to text ability. I tried experimenting with that before and didn't actually work. It may require a dialog box to enter text into in the first place, but let me experiment with that some more before you do anything.

I wanted it because the built-in chess app has pretty good integration with OSX's speech features, and would have loved XBoard to be able to do something like it at some level.

[edit]
For the record, here is the email conversation I had:

Code: Select all
> On Jan 15, 2015, at 5:09 PM, John Ralls <jralls@ceridwen.us> wrote:
>
>
>> On Jan 15, 2015, at 2:04 PM, Joshua Pettus <jshpettus@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>> Hi,
>>
>> On a couple of occasions Xboard has been requested to have voice over support.  Is there any implementation of this for GTK apps?   From what I have seen from other ones, and the online documentation, it doesn’t look like it. As of now the menubar reads, but there is no support with the various in-window items.
>>
>
> No. Gnome has its own screen-reader program called IIRC Orca. You’d have to set that up in your application bundle somehow. I’ve no experience with a11y and don’t even know where to start.
>
> Regards,
> John Ralls
>
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