In-Process 3rd May

I hate when the year is flying by and someone reminds me. So, I won’t start off by telling you that we’re a third of the way through 2022. Right, now that’s out of the way, let’s see what I DO have to tell you:

NVDA 2022.1 Beta 4

Preparations for NVDA 2022.1 are continuing in earnest. We’ve released a new Beta, NVDA 2022.1 Beta 4. This includes a number of important updates:

  • New language translations – thanks to all our hard working translators!
  • Aliases for controlTypes have been restored for add-on developers
  • Fixed a bug with SayAll and Chrome 100
  • Fixed a crash related to updating settings while using OneCore

All going well, we’re aiming to put out a release candidate in a couple of weeks, and the final release later in May. All subject to change of course. We would rather put out something stable a little later, than push something out before it is ready.

Our add-on community is also working hard towards NVDA 2022.1. As of last Wednesday (27th April), over 40% of add-ons are compatible with NVDA 2022.1. This is another reason we haven’t hurried the release of NVDA 2022.1. The NVDA add-on compatibility page lists the status of each add-on:

Joseph Lee also posts regularly in the NVDA users list to keep everyone informed.

Errors in the log

While we’re in the beta period, it’s a good time to look at how our beta versions differ from the final “stable” version. Once we add a feature, it starts off in “Alpha” builds. These are very early pre-release builds. As we get closer to a new release, we collate all the features, fixes and updates which have been added to alpha since the last release. These move from “Alpha” to “Beta”, then to “Release Candidate” builds. Finally, we package everything up in a brand new stable release. There are subtle differences between the different types of builds. One of these, is what happens when NVDA encounters an error.

Whenever NVDA encounters an error, it writes the details in the NVDA log. You can find the log in the %temp% folder (note the percent signs). In Alpha and Beta versions of NVDA, a sound is played when this happens. In Release Candidate and final release builds, NVDA records the error, but the sound is not played by default. The error is still written to the log (unless logging is disabled). In 2021.3, we introduced an option to enable that error sound in the stable version.

So why is the error sound played? Essentially, it is for developers to know that an error has occurred. This can be useful for those developing NVDA itself, add-ons, or other programs. It is not a feature aimed at end users, although end users who test beta versions may encounter it. It can be useful, but for an end user, the key criteria for “is this actually a problem?” is – ok the error sound played, but did it impact what you were doing? If the sound hadn’t played, would you even have noticed a problem? Often something fails (which causes an error in the log) but NVDA will try something else which does work. In that case, there is no impact on the function the user was attempting to use. While we ideally wouldn’t have any errors in regular use, what we really want to prioritise are issues which impact your ability to do something.

If you do encounter an error and can describe it and how to replicate it, please do ensure it is recorded on our Github issue tracker. During the beta period, we especially want to know about errors in the beta which do not occur in older versions. If you are unsure about writing up an issue, or if you encounter a security issue, please write to us.

What does NVDA stand for?

Someone recently asked about the name of the program: NVDA. The short answer is that it stands for Non-Visual Desktop Access. You pronounce it as the four letters one after the other.

It’s an acronym!”, I hear you say. Actually, no, it is not an acronym.

An acronym is an abbreviation which takes the initial letter of each word in a phrase and it forms a word. Those tests for COVID-19 you can do at home? They’re Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT), pronounced like the animal. That’s an acronym. In fact, COVID-19 itself is also an acronym, short for “COronaVIrus Disease of 2019”. NASA, QANTAS and PIN are also acronyms.

You can’t really pronounce NVDA any way other than as individual letters N, V, D, then A.

That kind of abbreviation is called an initialism. As Grammar Girl explains, FBI and CIA are two other examples.

If you enjoyed the distinction between those words, then you might be a logophile (a lover of words)!

In any case, we’ve reached the end of another In-Process. Do try the NVDA 2022.1 Beta 4 and Join in the conversation in the NVDA user group. And if you have any features of NVDA (or words!) you’d like to know more about, do get in touch.