Upcoming Changes to Deque WorldSpace Suite of Software Tools

See also this Product Update Notice in PDF format

May 5, 2020

Dear Customer,

We are excited to let you know that Deque will be rebranding its WorldSpace products. Over the coming months, you will see the following products be renamed:

  1. axe DevTools is the new name for WorldSpace Attest. axe DevTools gives development teams the tools they need to build truly accessible websites and mobile apps.
  2. axe Auditor is the new name for WorldSpace Assure. axe Auditor provides accessibility testers the tools to audit your websites and mobile apps, more efficiently and consistently than they could with regular report tools.
  3. axe Monitor is the new name for WorldSpace Comply. axe Monitor allows large scale monitoring and reporting of Web sites, tracking your accessibility status over time, providing you with the most up-to-date status of your organization’s web accessibility.

Details on the next releases of axe Auditor and axe Monitor will be coming soon, but these tools will maintain the same features you have come to trust from their WorldSpace suite equivalents.

The first release of axe DevTools will be much more than simply a name change. This email summarizes all of the changes you can expect.


The free axe Extension will become an integral part of the axe DevTools offering. Users who log into the axe DevTools Server through the axe Extension will unlock access to expanded functionality. This functionality includes intelligent guided tests, component testing, result recording and exporting.

The current WorldSpace Attest Browser Extension will be renamed the “axe Expert Extension” on May 5th, 2020 and will continue to operate as it does today. The Chrome Web Store links, the Firefox XPI, and the methods by which you obtain and distribute the extensions will remain the same.

Intelligent Guided Tests

As part of the rebranding efforts, we are expanding what is being offered as part of axe DevTools. The intelligent guided tests that were launched in axe Beta (formerly axe Pro beta) will be available to all licensees of axe DevTools.

This functionality will be exposed through the axe Extension when a user logs in to an axe DevTools Server. This server can be installed on premises within your organization’s hosting environment, or in the Deque secure cloud.

Note: You will need to schedule the installation. Please contact your account executive and/or project manager. If you are uncertain as to who to contact, please email helpdesk@deque.com.

axe DevTools registries

We will be exposing new registries for the distribution of packages through our Agora Artifactory system. The old registries will continue to exist for as long as the old APIs are supported. We will stop publishing prerelease artifacts to the product registries. All Java packages for HTML and Android will be in the same registry and the new registries will be given names that make it instantly clear what they are used for.

  • devtools-maven: all java packages, both for HTML and Android

  • devtools-npm: all JavaScript packages for NPM and Yarn

  • devtools-nuget: all C# Nuget packages

  • devtools-gems: all Ruby Gems

  • devtools-bin: all other files (for example executables, extension bundles etc.)

axe DevTools version sync

All axe DevTools components have a three-position version number made up of major.minor.patch. For example, “axe-core 3.1.2” or “Attest-Java 3.7.0.”

In the past, it has been difficult to determine what version of a library contains what axe-core version by default. This will change in the first release of axe DevTools. First, we will release axe-core version 4.0. Following that, all axe Devtools API packages that include axe-core 4.0 will also be numbered 4.0 and the major and minor version numbers will be kept in sync from that point forward.

For example, if you are using axe-devtools-selenium 4.2.0, you know it is bundled with axe-core 4.2.x by default and is backward compatible with axe-core version 3.0 and up. Patch version numbers will not be kept in sync, so that we can release bug fixes independently.

The version sync only applies to integrations that use axe-core; this includes all the Java, NodeJS, Ruby and C# packages that use axe-core, as well as axe DevTools CLI (formerly AGet). It does not include the axe Extension, nor does it include Android and iOS packages or applications.

axe-core 4.0 enhancements

Custom Rules

A new approach to custom rules will be rolled out as part of the axe-core 4.0 release. Instead of using JavaScript to customize rules or adding your own rules, rules can be adjusted or created with a JSON configuration with custom rules 4.0.

Custom rules 4.0 simplifies changing and creating new rules for your organization’s ruleset. For example, if you want to change the color-contrast rule to report different impacts for different contrast ratios, custom rules 4.0 lets you do this without a single line of JavaScript. Custom rules 4.0 will be available in all rebranded products from the moment they are released.

Support for the existing custom ruleset will be available until September 2021, and all axe products that can run the existing custom ruleset format will continue to do so until the next major version (e.g. axe DevTools 5.0). The axe Extension with an axe DevTools license will have support for custom rules 4.0 added to it sometime late 2020 or early 2021.

Static Analysis Support

axe-core has had some support for static analysis. The 4.0 release will significantly expand this capability so that it will be possible to create meaningful linting and editing tool integrations.

Watch Mode

axe-core has had dynamic analysis modules like react-axe and agnostic-axe that allow single page applications written in certain frameworks to be analyzed automatically while using the application. These packages all implement their own mechanism for DOM change observation and analysis. We plan to add a common implementation of this to the axe-core library, starting with axe-core version 4.0.

axe DevTools package names

Because the Attest name is changing to axe DevTools, all package names will also change. This requires anyone who wants to use the new versions or features in axe Devtools to make some changes. These new names will be released first with the 4.0 major release. In addition to new package names, other API changes may occur. The details of this will be made available as the API designs are worked out in the future and will be communicated in the documentation and release notes.

Going forward, all axe DevTools packages will be prefaced with “axe-devtools” either in the name or as part of its scope or group. All open source packages will similarly be prefaced with “axe-core.”

JavaScript Namespaces

We created two new package scopes (namespaces) on npmjs.org that we will use for all JavaScript packages. The one exception is the axe-core package itself– this will keep the simple global axe-core name.

The @axe-core scope will be used for all Deque maintained (official) open source packages. This is to ensure that it is clear which packages are maintained by Deque and which ones are created and maintained by other developers or organizations. The current axe-webdriverjs package will be published as @axe-core/webdriverjs when the 4.0 version is available.

The @axe-devtools scope will be used for all enterprise packages that are available commercially as part of axe DevTools. The current @deque/attest-webdriverjs package will be published under @axe- devtools/webdriverjs, starting with the 4.0 version.

This creates a very clear and easy mapping between the open source version (with limited functionality) and the enterprise version.

Java Namespaces

The open source Java namespace for HTML APIs will be “com.deque.html.axe-core” starting with the 4.0 release. The enterprise Java namespace for HTML APIs will be “com.deque.html.axe-devtools” starting with the 4.0 release.

Android Java APIs will use the “com.deque.android” namespace with packages of axe-core for open source and axe-devtools for enterprise functionality.


For Ruby, we will prefix each open source gem with axe-core and each enterprise gem with axe- devtools. axe-matchers becomes axe-core-selenium, and axe-core-cucumber and attest-ruby will become axe-devtools-selenium and axe-devtools-cucumber respectively.


Open source C# Nuget packages will be named using axe-core and enterprise packages with axe- devtools. attest-csharp will become axe-devtools-selenium.

Table of example changes

The table below summarizes some of the change examples mentioned above:


Current scope and name

New scope and name



axe-core (unchanged)






























axe DevTools CLI


Attest Reporter

axe DevTools CLI

Miscellaneous Name Changes

A few other changes will also occur:

  • Name changes: Some packages will have their names changed to be more descriptive. Attest-node becomes @axe-devtools/script-builder, attest-standards becomes @axe-devtools/ruleset, and attest-js becomes @axe-devtools/browser.
  • Package splits: attest-ruby and attest-java will have its cucumber component move into a separate package. By doing so, package names become descriptive: “axe-devtools-cucumber” and “axe-devtools- selenium.”
  • CLI tool merge: AGet, Attest Reporter and Attest Standards will be put into a single package called axe DevTools CLI. This will be available as the “axe” command. axe DevTools CLI will be available as executables for Windows, OSX and Linux as well as an “npc” command for NPM and Yarn.

Rollout and support timeline

Rollout of rebranded products starts in May with the intelligent guided testing functionality (cloud or on premises installation of the axe DevTools Server) on May 5th. In the following months, all rebranded components will be rolled out. The current components will be available and supported for 12 months after the release of the rebranded version. While no new feature work will happen on the current components, we will continue to do security-related updates to ensure your organization can easily transition to our new versions at your own speed.

The new Agora registries will become available the week of May 5.

How to take advantage of these improvements

We recommend completing the following to upgrade to the most current tool offerings:

  1. Connect the new registries to your internal artifact distribution system (Nexus or Artifactory)
  2. Whitelist the axe extension (if not already being used)
  3. Communicate the branding change with your users
  4. Schedule your axe DevTools Server deployment by contacting your Account Executive, Project Manager, or the helpdesk@deque.com
  5. Configure your Chrome browser to point to your axe DevTools Server
  6. Update your package management system to point to the new packages as APIs are released

Connecting to the new registries

Before migrating your code from Attest APIs to axe Devtools integrations, a number of things may need to occur first:

  1. If you are using Nexus, or some other registry, it will need to be set up to use the new Artifactory registries. For details see the Artifactory or Nexus documentation on proxies.
  2. If security audits need to happen for major releases, remember to have these done

Beyond that, upgrading will be mostly a simple “replace all” operation. Wherever it is used, replace the Attest package names with the new axe DevTools names. Beyond that, for any API changes, a migration guide will be included in the documentation of the axe-core 4.0 release.

Whitelisting the axe Extension

If your organization is using Chrome store whitelisting, you should initiate the steps to whitelist the Chrome axe Extension. The intelligent guided testing functionality is only available currently through the Chrome extension.

The Chrome ID for this extension is: lhdoppojpmngadmnindnejefpokejbdd

The URL for the listing is: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/axe-web-accessibility- tes/lhdoppojpmngadmnindnejefpokejbdd

Configuring your extensions

axe DevTools extensions (axe Expert extension, axe Extension for Chrome and Firefox) can be configured through browser policies. Please consult the documentation for instructions on how to control the extension policies.

These policies can control the configuration of the axe DevTools server, whether usage monitoring is turned on or off, and which server address to use to capture usage monitoring data.

Upgrading the axe Expert Extension

For Chrome, the Attest Browser Extension will automatically be upgraded to the rebranded axe Expert Extension when it is available. For Firefox, a link to the XPI extension file will be provided in the axe Expert Extension guide.

Migrating custom rules

If your custom rules are written and maintained by Deque, please contact your project manager about upgrading these to support axe-core 4.0. For organizations maintaining their own custom rulesets, please keep an eye out for the axe-core 4.0 release announcement. Documentation on how custom rules work in 4.0 will be available as part of the release.

Native Android and iOS

Any changes not already mentioned that are made to the current services will be backwards compatible through the end of 2020. After 2020 we will do our best to continue remaining backwards compatible, however, this will not always be possible. We know the following changes will eventually occur:

Upgrading to axe Auditor and axe Monitor

Upgrading from WorldSpace Assure to axe Auditor or from WorldSpace Comply to axe Monitor will follow the same process as any previous upgrades of those products. As soon as upgrades are available, a Deque representative will be in contact to work with you and schedule an upgrade.

Customer support

If you have any questions, feedback or suggestions, please reach out to our helpdesk: helpdesk@deque.com. We look forward to hearing from you!


The Deque Team