Illustration of a shark beneath the surface with an axe fin above the water. The shark labelled axe-core 3.0.

aXe 3.0 is Coming – Here’s What You Should Know

aXe-core, the accessibility engine driving many of Deque’s products will soon see it’s 3rd major release. The release, scheduled for March 2018, will introduce support for Shadow DOM, a web technology that is quickly changing how modern web development is done. Shadow DOM is one of the three specifications that form the Web Components standard. Deque is the only accessibility automation vendor that supports this new standard. Without this ability, your analysis could be simply ignoring parts of the page that are inside shadow DOM. The 3.0 release will also see a drastic boost in speed, now running up to 80% faster than previous versions.

To allow a smooth upgrade path to aXe 3.0, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. aXe 2.x will be supported for the foreseeable future in all WorldSpace products, to allow organisations to upgrade at their own pace. Even if you upgrade to newer versions of Comply or Attest HTML, you will be able to use those with your existing aXe-core version.
  2. Custom rulesets will have to be updated for aXe 3.0, so that they can test within Shadow DOM.
  3. WorldSpace Attest will release 2.0 versions of all tools in April 2018, to support aXe 3.0. All the version 2.x tools will be compatible with aXe 2.1.0 and newer. Older versions of Attest HTML tools (i.e. versions 1.x) are not compatible with aXe 3.0.
  4. WorldSpace Comply will add aXe 3.0 in Q2 2018, while remaining compatible with aXe 2.1 and newer.
  5. WorldSpace Assure will be releasing an aXe 3.0 version in April 2018.

Technical Details

The release of aXe 3.0 and Attest HTML tools with version 2.0 introduces two breaking changes to the API. Integrations and reporting tools built on top of aXe or Attest should be tested for the following changes:

  1. The a11yCheck() method call, which was deprecated in aXe 2.1 / Attest 1.1 has been removed. The run() method should be used instead.
  2. The property that can be found in all aXe results has been modified to accommodate Shadow DOM selectors. Pages containing Shadow DOM will now have nested arrays of strings, in addition to arrays of string returned as its selector. For details, see:


As always, stay tuned here and in contact with your engagement manager for the latest as aXe 3.0 comes to a neighborhood near you.

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