Decentralized search engine & automatized press reviews

Version 1.6 : Newspapers of Record, accessibility and Android

It might surprise you but this version is bringing more sources and new features.

Regarding sources, all the "Newspapers of Record" (those prestigious international newspapers [1]) have been added to the collection, or, when incompatible, listed here.

With the other french general purpose sources recently added, it brings the total slightly above 240 sources.

We now count 20 sources of "photo" result type (and 20 for "videos"). Images have also been parsed for a total of 40 sources, including simple illustrations of regular text results.

The parsing of images have been simplified, via dedicated source-description fields (to be documented soon).

Support for Android, via Icecat Mobile 68.4 (or Fennec 68.12) from is now fully operational, since Christopher changed the tool that handles multiple tag selections from Selectr to Choices.js and we stopped using the badly supported String.replaceAll(). We also decided to redirect the browser console messages to ondemand alert() popups to simplify operations.

After a moment of breakage, the Tor Browser is working with again (as tested with version 10.0 of Tor Browser, based on Mozilla Firefox 78.3.0esr), I didn’t had the time to investigate what was broken in the version 9.5.1.

The last big subject was accessibility. The Accessibility Foundation funded by the NGI0 project conducted an audit on 19 points were investigated and the evaluation level was : WCAG 2.1 "AA". So at first, I was quite happy to be developing good software, with 6 points approved.

After all that self-satisfaction, I started to read the personalized description of the problems encountered in the 13 other points… I was torn between the critics over my work, and the clear and concrete problem descriptions. Solutions were most often suggested. I felt some as offensive regarding the freedom of the expression of my artistic sensibilities, but then I took a great breath and started to test some color picking rules about contrasts. I managed to get the WCAG addon Contrast checker by Rumoroso validating a color palette acceptable from my artistic point of view, and it was, to be true, a readability improvement.

Starting from there, I studied each point in detail : headings, clear link purpose, alt attributes on images, valid HTML (so no links without href, so using button instead…), focus order (with a new invisible 1st link to directly skip to main input) and finally : the keyboard trap.

Accessibility is not a cryptic area, it’s just a matter of thinking about people browsing the via Braille tablets and screen readers. Those specific devices might be less tolerant about invalid HTML than a top notch web browser.

When no mouse is available, is it still possible to discover and use your web interface ? In this context, you start to rely heavily on your tab key to navigate and point focus. The keyboard trap, it’s when an elaborated widget interprets the tab key and do something with it that is not handing the focus back to your web browser and so to the next widget of your page. With such a widget, once tab-ed in, you can’t tab-out anymore. You’re trapped.

It was the case with our instances of CodeMirror in the setting page. This widget allows to edit JSON with syntax coloration to help defining new sources, but it was not handing the focus back.

People from the Accessibility Foundations have always been fast and efficient to respond my questions, but regarding this special case the answer was a not-really documented feature, cited in a comment (by the author) in this issue.

In conclusion, the appearance of the add-on evolved a lot during this accessibility work and I must admit that it made it better, even for average users.

I hope you’ll enjoy using this new version of and that you’ll speak about it around you to help journalists and associations / NGO to find their way toward

1. Listed in the corresponding English version of the Wikipedia page