XTech2007 – XForms – do I need them?

Now in XTech2007 – arrived in time for the afternoon session of XForms by Steve Pemberton. XForms allow you to pass XML into/out of forms rather than relying on HTML. In includes things like validation – if you tell it something is a date, then you can check in makes sense as a date. And there’s stuff about credit cards, etc. So it makes sense to adapt them for – say – chemistry so that we can check data and molecules on submission.
I hadn’t looked at them for ca 3-4 years as I hadn’t seen any implementations. In fact, according to Steve, XForms has been the MOST implemented W3C spec ever. The reason I have missed them is that they tend to be used in mobiles as well as browsers and there is also a lot of star-centered business – a company whose customers all use XForms and there is central control. Nothing wrong with that, but it won’t be obvious to non-customers. Also the insurance industry has gone for them in a big way.
But most of the implementations come from the actual communities rather than being based on libraries (which is what we need). There is XSmiles which might help us – I think it’s now mature. But the scale seems a bit daunting “we used to have 30 programmers working on UIs for 5 years, now we solved the problem in 1 year with only 10 programmers”. Sic.
But there do seem to be plugins for Firefox (or they are in the pipeline). Using, I think, XBL and some with SVG. So maybe there is still hope for the browser in this area.
But whether we can move quickly towards a validating chemical data entry tool … I will continue to hack with broken tools for a little while
(In the original version of this post I used the erroneous “XMLForms”)

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3 Responses to XTech2007 – XForms – do I need them?

  1. Erik Bruchez says:

    Hi, I just thought I would mention the correct name is not “XMLForms” but “XForms” πŸ˜‰
    And there are open source, Ajax-based implementations like Orbeon Forms and Chiba which you can integrate with your application and don’t require plugins or other client-side information. (Disclaimer, I am one of the main developers of Orbeon Forms.)

  2. pm286 says:

    (1) MEA CULPA!
    in the early days of XML we used to have XMLFoo – XMLStyle, XMLLink etc – which migrated to XSL(T) and Xlink, so I have fallen into the trap of adding XML to the concept. I will edit the post – I think this rewriting of history will be acceptable.

  3. Erik Bruchez says:

    Thanks for fixing it. You wouldn’t believe how many different spellings of “XForms” have shown up on the web πŸ™‚

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