Thoughts, and suggestions with using Python with VoiceOver on the mac.

macOS & Mac Apps

Hello appleVis community,
I had a question for you about Python as a Programing language. I've used it some, and the IDE I've used is Eclipse. I've had to have someone sighted with me when I use it to make sure that spaces don't get messed up. As python is space sensitive.
I wanted to hear your thoughts if you have used it. What IDE did you use? How well did it work? What would you suggest for me? And anything i should mention to my professor?
at least in my experience I have trouble getting the the text field where you would type your code, and I've needed help here and there because it's my first coding language, and at least with research i've done python isn't the best thing to teach someone blind.
For those of you who use a Braille display with the IDE is it worth using?
i'm opened to hear any suggestions and advice.



Submitted by Steve on Thursday, September 29, 2016

Any text editor will work; even TextEdit so long as you save in plaintext and not RTF. Frustratingly, VoiceOver has no mechanism for reporting changes in line indentation as you navigate code, despite multiple requests for them to add this most basic of features that even exist in Linux with Orca. You will need to count spaces if you use VoiceOver exclusively. A Braille display would be beneficial as you will see the whitespace characters displayed there. You might also investigate getting set up with Emacs and a package known as Emacspeak. The environment is straight out of 1985, and there is a bit of a learning curve. But on the other hand, because it is self-voicing I am reasonably certain that you will hear spacing changes, syntax errors, and other information that VoiceOver is incapable of providing on its own.

Submitted by Survivor Wolf on Thursday, September 29, 2016

Steve is correct in that any text editor will work for python, and work better than Eclipse does on Mac, which is a right pain in my experience. I personally used iText Express.

Using a braille display could definitely be helpful. Another tip is even though the standard practice is not to use tabs, I do because Voice Over and other screen readers, at least in many editors, will say "tab" and it's fewer of them to count than if you use spaces. This would be less of an issue if you have a braille display, of course.

I also found that Python was one of the easiest languages from a screen reader perspective, because the naming conventions are to spell most words out and to use camel case or to separate words with underscores, which makes the code read more easily than something like C++ where the creators were very adverse to using whole words to name things.

Good luck in your studies!

Submitted by splyt on Thursday, September 29, 2016

Use a windows vm with edsharp a free editor written by Jamal Mazrue. A free editor and a free screen reader and a little bit of desire to make things work, something that Apple does not have when it comes to Mac OS.

Counting spaces or tabs is not acceptable because it is not productive and your sighted coleags do not have to do it. Nobody should ever need to make this kind of work around ... the rule is if sighted people don't have to do something you do not have to do it. If a platform forces you to do something your coleags don't have to do it then this is the wrong platform, at least if there are better alternatives or platforms available.

If you need to use Mac OS use the py braces package that will dinamuically put and remove braces around blocks so you do not have to worry.

Submitted by Steve on Thursday, September 29, 2016

That's precisely why I rarely do actual code writing on the Mac (unless I'm debugging some platform-specific). Instead, I use Windows and a Linux VM to replicate my Mac dev environment. It's a pain to get going, but more accessible in the long run. BTW, every Windows screen reader can report spacing, which gives you much greater flexibility in choosing what would work best for you.