Blind Community Software


MarkupBinder version 0.6 beta 10 June 2013

Since I lost my sight later in life, I became gradually convinced that using text formatters as opposed to interactive word processors such as Word or OpenOffice is a better way for blind people to create documents.

A number of word processors are fully accessible for the blind using a variety of screen readers. However, while the content quality produced by blind people is equal to their sighted colleagues, the format of the document can be unsatisfactory. Word processors are based on the principle of WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get - and so if you can't see then it is difficult if not impossible to control what you get!

To address the above problem, MarkupBinder is based on the use of a text formatter as opposed to a word processor and it is aimed at light to medium complexity documents.

To produce a single page document, the well established Markdown markup is used. This means that the user marks various parts of a document such as headings, lists and bullet points with simple symbols. Then, in a matter of seconds, the document is converted to a well formatted page. By default, single page documents are produced in HTML but can be converted if desired to other formats. Examples of single page documents are personal notes.

To produce multi-page structured documents, files marked with Markdown are placed in a folder hierarchy representing the desired structure of the document and then in a matter of minutes, these pages are converted to fully structured HTML linked pages ready to use on a personal computer or ready to be uploaded to a web site. Examples of use of multi-page structured documents are software manuals in a web site and personal notes linked together for easy retrieval on the user's computer.

This web site and all the software manuals were produced using MarkUpBinder. The SpeakOn manual is an example of over 200 pages in a structured document. Browsing through the manual, notice the way page location and headings are produced automatically at the top of pages and the automatic links produced at the bottom of pages.

At this stage MarkupBinder is a bit geeky in that installation in Windows requires manual configuration which is not difficult to perform but would not suit a typical user. Structured documents require one-off configuration by editing simple text files. Actual editing is done in a text editor and documents are produced with a single shortcut.

More information on download, installation and use can be found

MarkupBinder was developed by Isaac Porat and ported to Linux by Bill Cox

Copyright (c) Isaac Porat 2010 - 2013, all rights reserved.

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