Gosh, what a snappy title. I’m not expecting a job offer from Buzzfeed any time soon.
Today, Apple sent their consolidated feedback on Web Components to the webapps Working Group. The TL;DR: they like the concept, are “considering significant implementation effort”, but want lots of changes first including removal of subclassing, eg <button is=”my-button”>.
my-button element inherits focussability and activation with return or spacebar withut you having to muck about with
tabindex or keyboard listeners. (I wrote about this in more detail last year in On the accessibility of web components. Again.)
Apple raised a bug Remove the support for inherting from builtin subclasses of HTMLElement and SVGElement and notes “without this hack accessibility for trivial components is harder as more things have to be done by hand” (why “this hack”? A loaded term). However, it calls for removal because “Subclassing existing elements is hard as implementation-wise identity is both object-based and name / namespace based.”
Implementation is hard. Too hard for the developers at Apple, it appears. So Web developers must faff around adding ARIA and tabindex and keyboard listeners (so most won’t) and the inevitable consequence of making accessibility hard is that assistive technology users will suffer.
HTML has a series of design principles, co-edited by Maciej Stachowiak who sent Apple’s feedback. One of those is called “Priority of Constituencies” which says
In case of conflict, consider users over authors over implementors over specifiers over theoretical purity. In other words costs or difficulties to the user should be given more weight than costs to authors; which in turn should be given more weight than costs to implementors; which should be given more weight than costs to authors of the spec itself, which should be given more weight than those proposing changes for theoretical reasons alone.
Fine words. What changed?