Client Meeting Notes

August 28

Notes

Today, the aptly (and perhaps temporarily) named Team Gunderson held its first meeting with our client, Professor Jon Gunderson. After we each exchanged the requisite polite greetings, we got down to business. Upon request of the then-ill-informed members of Team Gunderson, Professor Gunderson began explaining in detail the origins of the project, what work had previously been done on it, and where he would like us to take it. The members of Team Gunderson listened intently to his revealing yet rather broad description of the project, each of us periodically chiming in with an 'I see' or a 'go on' to assure him of our attentiveness. After laying down the broad project definition (essentially, make an Office 2007 plug-in that will allow for accessibility analysis of Word documents and Power Point presentations), the quasi-monologue of a conversation transformed into a dialogue as Professor Gunderson discussed with us his expectations both of the project and of the individual members of Team Gunderson. As pizza prizes seemed to be involved if said expectations were adequately fulfilled, we all eagerly agreed that his terms indeed seemed quite reasonable. With the long term now taken care of, the discussion moved towards the more pertinent 'so what do we do now?' phase. Professor Gunderson requested simply that each of the members of the group read and understand the tenants of 'Best Practices,' install and familiarize ourselves with Visual Studio, and download and examine existing Office 2007 plug-ins so that we may gain an understanding of how to 'talk to' Office '07. The members of Team Gunderson once again shook hands with Professor Gunderson, thanked him kindly for sparing a moment of his assuredly busy day, and made a quick yet courteous exodus from his office.

Goals

  1. Download and familiarize ourselves with Visual Studio
  2. Examine previous incarnations of 'Project Gunderson'
  3. Familiarize ourselves with Subversion
  4. Learn well the tenants of 'Best Practices'

September 4

Notes

We spent the week familiarizing ourselves with the current accessibility tool provided through CITES. In addition, we set up our dev environments. This involved setting up and obtaining Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft Office 2007. In addition, we became familiar with how to use SVN repositories and Windows users obtained Tortoise SVN. Some early research into creating Office addins was done. Through our research, we determined that there were two well-documented ways to create Office addins.

  • Create an addin through a COM interface. This seemed to be the best-documented method online. However, it involved a lot of marshalling and unmarshalling of data and seemed to be better suited for previous versions of Office.
  • Create a managed addin. This used a new set of Visual Studio bindings for Office 2007 released a few weeks ago. The technology is still very new and there isn't a large amount of documentation. However, it seems to be a safer and cleaner way to interact with Office applications.

Goals

  1. Create a simple Hello World addin for Word 2007 (Nick)
  2. Gain understanding Word 2007 Object Model (Brett)
  3. Determine how to access underlying document programatically within Word 2007 (Mahmud)
  4. Gain understanding of the docx format and how a document is represented in xml (Alan)

September 11

Notes

Nick created a working prototype of a Hello World addin. This prototype allowed the user to click a button on the ribbon and be greeted by a MessageBox with the content "Hello World". It was created by using the Visual Studio Tools for Office Second Edition. The workflow for creating addins seemed to be very streamlined and we were able to design the addin just like a normal Windows Forms application. Mahmud was able to find several informational videos about the OpenXML format (the XML format that Office 2007 apps use). Alan was able to find several documents about the structure of docx documents. Brett was able to find several documents outlining the object model structure for Word 2007. He worked with Nick to create an addin which would pull some information out of the actual document. With the combined efforts of the group, we were able to actually pull out a string representation of the XML of the underlying document. In the future weeks, we hope to find a cleaner way of doing this (editing individual tags for separate structures within the document, etc.).

Goals

  1. Access individual parts of document (images, headers, etc.) and get XMl representation of data.
  2. Parse through document for violations of best practices.
  3. Create a sidebar to provide a summary of best practice best violations.

September 18

Notes

We explored ways to actually write new content to the XML content of the document and ran into several problems. It seems as if one has to either use the object model to work with documents within Word or use the OpenXML for documents outside of Word. In addition, we familiarized ourselves with the OpenXML syntax by watching several training videos. Everyone spit up writing checkers for each category of best practices. Nick developed an images module, Alan developed a lists module, Mahmud developed a headers module, and Brett developed a charts module. In addition, much work was put into creating a pluggable architecture for different accessibility checkers. In the future, if a new best practice needs to be checked, one needs to simply provides a new AccessibilityModule to run. We currently have an addin which will check the current document for best practices and alert the user to what accessibility errors occurred.

Goals

Note: These goals are for the next two weeks, since we won't have a meeting September 25.

  1. Access individual parts of document (images, headers, etc.) and get XMl representation of data.
  2. Parse through document for violations of best practices.
  3. Create a sidebar to provide a summary of best practice best violations.

October 2

Notes

We presented our accessibility analyzer for Gunderson and got some feedback. Generally, he se seemed very impressed and wanted us to continue along the same lines with no significant deviations. During the course of the meeting, we determined that we all needed to agree on a design for the user interface. In addition, to make sure that we are all clear on what guidelines constitute a best practice, we decided to formalize our rules for best practices.

Goals

  • Develop a prototype of the interface
  • Write a design document outlining best practices, what constitues a violation of the best practice, how we plan to detect the best practice, and possible solutions to a violation of the best practice.

October 9

Notes

We presented the design document for Word best practices to Gunderson and made sure he agreed with our findings. We decided that it would also be beneficial for everyone to formalize the requirements for the tool and present them the following week.

Goals

  • Create a design document outlining PowerPoint best practices (i.e. what the best practice is, how to detect a violation of it, how to fix violations, etc.) (Alan & Mahmud)
  • Formalize requirements document (Brett & Nick)

October 18th

Attended

  • Nick
  • Brett
  • Alan (late)

Absent

  • Mahmud

Notes

We reviewed our requirements document with Gunderson. He seemed generally pleased and made a few suggestions as to how to clarify the purpose. In addition, we determined that conversion of PowerPoint slides to HTML wasn't a primary goal of the project. If we have extra time, he would rather see us spend more time making the tool cleaner and more powerful. This allows us to focus more on making content accessible rather than concentrating on publishing practices.
In addition, we determined a timeline for the rest of the semester. Our current milesone is to have a beta version with basic detection/correction ability out by Thanksgiving. This will detect a subset of best practice violations (i.e. images missing tags) and provide the user with a way to correct it. More information on this milestone can be found on the schedule.

Goals

We won't be meeting again until November 2nd.

  1. Begin work on beta version of Accessibility plug-in for Thanksgiving deadline.
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