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Sodbeans 1.5: Enhanced NetBeans IDE Accessibility for the Blind

· Java Zone

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Our team at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville has officially released Sodbeans 1.5, a NetBeans module suite designed to enhance accessibility for the blind in modern programming environments. This is a major release for our team, with hundreds of bug fixes, major additions to our programming language (Hop), a new text-to-speech engine on Mac OS X, and significant new additions toward making NetBeans more accessible generally.

For those interested, our final release notes are available here:

https://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/sodbeans/wiki/Sodbeans/ReleaseNotes

You can download the latest version of Sodbeans in two forms, either with a windows installer, from here:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/sodbeans/files/Sodbeans/Sodbeans_1_5_0/sodbeans-windows.exe/download

Or without the installer as a zip binary from here:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/sodbeans/files/Sodbeans/Sodbeans_1_5_0/sodbeans.zip/download

If you are interested in testing Sodbeans, we could definitely use the help. Perhaps most pertinent at this moment, we are especially interested in getting feedback both on accessibility issues generally and on our programming language. Anyone willing to help out by trying it, sending feedback, or filing bugs would be greatly appreciated. Dedicated users that want to submit patches to fix potential issues are also welcome.

And finally, thanks to all for their help in getting this release together, including testers from the blind community, the students and teachers at the Washington State School for the Blind who gave us tremendous feedback, to the rest of my development team, to the National Science Foundation who is generously supporting this work, to my grant partners Chris Hundhausen and Derrick Smith, to my friends and colleagues at SIUE, and to the NetBeans community for helping us tackle this very complicated issue.

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