WAI-ARIA Lexical Processing

Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) received a Formal Objection about the abstraction of value types, leaving the specific serialization to the host language and allowing similar WAI-ARIA constructs to be lexically different depending on context, in turn making user agent implementation more difficult. This concern was raised as an outcome of the processing of public comment 18 "5.2.4 Value".

Review of this objection by the Director concluded that the concern should be alleviated by this clarification of where lexical processing is defined in WAI-ARIA, and where it is defined in host languages. When both WAI-ARIA and host language rules are taken together, a complete processing model exists.

Within the WAI-ARIA specification, the section on Role Attribute sets out the requirement that host languages provide an attribute with the name "role" that accepts the names of WAI-ARIA roles as values. The State and Property Attributes section requires host languages to allow attributes whose names match the names of WAI-ARIA states and properties, which have the name pattern "aria-*". State and Property Attribute Processing references the abstract value types defined by WAI-ARIA as well as a suggested mapping to host language attribute value types. At the moment mappings are available for HTML 5 and XML Schema and may be expanded to other host languages in the future.

HTML 5 is the first host language expected to formally adopt WAI-ARIA within its specification and the concern of the objection is presumed to apply to user agents that consume HTML 5 content. However, these concerns apply to the HTML specification (and more generically, any host language incorporating WAI-ARIA), not the WAI-ARIA specification. WAI-ARIA is considered complete, and additional questions about lexical processing in host languages should be addressed within those specifications. Therefore the Director concludes that WAI-ARIA is ready to advance to Candidate Recommendation.

HTML ISSUE-129 addresses ARIA integration in HTML 5. The Protocols and Formats Working Group will pursue the following steps to clarify lexical processing of WAI-ARIA in HTML 5 as part of this issue: