The first release candidates for LibreOffice 4.3.0 are already bouncing around the internet and, besides great new features like the ones I’ve been explaining in my latest posts, they come with a set of fixes to ease the life of screen reader users and developers alike. This is, once again, a part of the accessibility work we do at Igalia.
Back in April, when the Gran Canaria hackfest took place, I started working on the bug #71556. The problem was that typing on a document triggered a lot of unnecessary text-attributes-changed events. These events had a variety of origins, but most of them were caused by modifications in the internal text attribute rsid, used for change tracking and with no relevance per se for the user. The bug is not completely fixed, but addressing the problem with rsid attribute allowed us to get rid of the most annoying part of it; now LibreOffice only sends one unnecessary event when we type the first character in a new paragraph and not with every keystroke.
Bug #71558 is also related with the same kind of events; in this case, text-attributes-changed was not being triggered when a word became marked as misspelled. Actually, the spell-checking status is not internally treated as a text attribute and because of that there were no events indicating its change. The patch explicitly raises the event which lets the accessibility code check the status of the text attributes and find out the spelling mistake. While I was working on this issue, I also detected a weird behavior when checking the text attributes through the Python API; it resulted to be a bug in the bridge between AT-SPI and ATK, which I reported and fixed too.
A triaging session took me to bug #74681; the main issue reported there had already been fixed for a while and only small bits regarding missing accessible names in some buttons were missing. I fixed that allowing toolbar buttons to use their tooltip text as the accessible name if it is not explicitly set, and now the paragraph properties panel is fully accessible.
Finally, I retook the work I had been doing in relation with ATK roles at bug #39944 and detected wrong mappings for LibreOffice EDIT_BAR, EMBEDDED_OBJECT and HYPER_LINK accessible roles. I fixed them and opened a ticket in ATK bugzilla to create ATK roles for the five cases that were still registering custom roles. Once that ticket is managed, hopefully we will be able to close bug #75191 too, which is related with the deprecation of atk_role_register.
These fixes are added on top of the ones coded in February hackfest, making 4.3.0 the most accessible LibreOffice so far… Until the next version arrives, of course!