C ya in San Fran!

Ed and I are getting fired up for SAS Global Forum in San Francisco next week.  SAS Global Forum is a huge conference where SAS users from around the world come together to share tips and tricks about SAS. It is also a great opportunity for the geeks and data-heads here in SAS R&D to share the exciting new features available in our products.

This year, Ed has teamed up with David Kelley and Julianna Langston to present a cool new feature that will make a huge impact for SAS users with disabilities.  The feature is called ODS EPUB and here’s how it works.

The Output Delivery System (ODS) is a great way to share the results of analyses that have been performed using SAS. ODS currently supports a variety of output formats including HTML, PDF, RTF, etc. Well, in version 9.4, SAS will support a new output format called EPUB.

EPUB is a new publishing format that can be used to publish electronic books for iPads and other mobile devices. Lots of eBook readers support the EPUB format including iBooks on the iPad.

Screenshot of GO MOBILE paper on iPad

Now, the neat thing is that EPUB supports great accessibility features for users with visual impairments, motor impairments, and all types of disabilities.  David Kelley and the ODS team made sure that the new ODS EPUB destination in SAS 9.4 supports those accessibility features. They also selected iBooks on the iPad as the primary supported eBook reader because of the wonderful built-in accessibility features of the iPad. That means, when a SAS programmer creates an eBook with ODS EPUB, the resulting eBook will be accessible to the broadest possible audience with little or no extra effort. Now that is cool!

Willie and Mikey

Willie with Mikey (guide dog of George Kerscher)

Let me pause to express a word of thanks to Ed’s friend (and fellow dog-lover) George Kerscher, the president of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). George is a blind guy who has been working on accessible mainstream publishing for more than two decades.  He’s the person who coined the term print-disabled. Through the efforts of George and the IDPF, people with print disabilities are now finally getting access to all the books, magazines, and other publications that most people take for granted.

So, if you’re going to San Fran next week, be sure to check out the Go Mobile with the EPUB Destination paper in the SAS Global Forum conference proceedings and attend the presentation on Tuesday, April 30 at 1:30pm. You can also check out a a live Super Demo at demo station #4 on Monday at 1:30pm or Tuesday at 12:30pm.

One more thing … when you see me at SAS Global Forum you’re gonna want to pet me because I’m irresistibly cute. However, that’s a big no-no. When my harness is on, that means I’m working and I can’t socialize. If you want to show me some love please feel free to post a comment below … I’ll get back to ya as soon as possible.

tags: accessibility, epub, ibook, ipad, print disabled, SAS Global Forum

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