Adobe Spry 1.6 improves standards support, adds progressive enhancement

In January this year I complained about Adobe Spry and obtrusive, inaccessible JavaScript. Spry is yet another JavaScript library that features Ajax helpers and various effects and behaviours. The problem was that the examples on the demo site used non-standard and obtrusive code, and as we all know examples get copied and used as is regardless of how many warnings there are.

I didn’t expect things to change and dismissed Spry as something that can’t be used in the real world, at least not if you care about Web standards and accessibility. Well, I may need to change my mind about that. The reason is that I found out from the post Spry 1.6 and the Dreamweaver Updater on the Spry Team blog that Spry 1.6 has in fact improved support for both Web standards, accessibility and progressive enhancement. That’s good news of course.

Some of the changes in Spry 1.6:

  • You can now use the framework without breaking validation
  • Several of the examples in the Spry Demo Gallery now use progressive enhancement
  • Real links can be used to trigger events, providing for full keyboard navigation support

The people on the Spry team have also written a series of articles on Best Practices with Spry and made several demos of Spry used unobtrusively.

It’s not perfect yet, but it’s encouraging to see Adobe improving Spry in these areas.

Posted on October 22, 2007 in Accessibility, JavaScript, Web Standards


  1. Thanks for the kind words, Roger! For what it’s worth, the Spry team has been taking ALL the feedback they’ve received - particularly on standards and best practices - very seriously over here. Keep it coming!

    -Scott, Adobe Systems

  2. It’s good to hear that Adobe is getting in line. While not a framework that I would use, I’m certain a lot of people will because it’s from Adobe.

    Speaking of Adobe, Roger, have you had time to play with Adobe AIR yet? It looks very interesting and I would like to hear your opinion on it.

  3. Thanks for this article Roger. I just started tinkering with Spry, as my main editor is Dreamweaver, and was concerned about the implementation of web standards and accessibility. Spry seems to be a very powerful tool, and I look forward to actually using it in an upcoming project!

  4. The Spry framework was one of the first things I was examining wen I got hold of Dreamweaver CS3. At the time it seemed useful, but of course accessibility was an issue. It is good to see Adobe are continuing to improve their offerings. I’ll have to pull down the latest version of Spry and poke around in there now.

  5. That’s good news, I don’t use Spry myself but it’s good to see the improvements being made available within Dreamweaver. It’s important as it’s a tool that many people may use while learning web design, so bad habits instilled there can take a long time to change. Good job by the Spry team there :)

  6. Awesome Roger. It looks like your efforts paid off in that you contributed to affecting a positive change. For a while I’ve been asking those who write pubic-use code make it valid and accessible, but I am just one voice in the crowd.

    My feeling is that those who care about standards will be presented with copy-and-paste quality mark-up, and to those who don’t care will be not affected that they are aware of one way or another… thus it’s win-win to do it right.

    As it is right now, most copy-and-paste code I see on the web requires at least some editing to make it right. So, thumbs up to Spry for taking appropriate action — that’s one less thing placed on the shoulders of developers.

  7. Great news! I played with Spry while it was in beta last year and spent a lot of time tweaking. Looking forward to checking out what they’ve added/changed.

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