[September 14, 2000] Designed by Shanti Rao (Raosoft, Inc.) and Jeffrey Henning (Perseus Development Corp.), the EFS Technical Description with its Electronic Form System Definition (XML schema) provide a specification for electronic forms for email and web middleware from several vendors... [the specification] describes information to work with online forms independent of vendor and display technology; it has enough information to guide a DBMS or data analysis program, but not so much as to make it difficult to write a data entry program."
According to the online technical description, "The goal of the EFS is to define a basic, extensible file format for forms and surveys. This standard is geared toward electronic forms and web browsers, but an EFS form could concievably be printed out on paper, faxed, compiled on a disk, or placed into a telephone answering system. While EFS is about human interface to databases, EFS does not specify schemes for storing or presenting form data. An application is said to be 'EFS 1.0 Compliant' if it recognizes the specifications in EFS Level 1 and uses those specifications in Level 2 and Level 3 which are applicable. The application need not handle all the types of input and data which could be included in a .form file, so long as it only modifies that portion of the file that it understands. EFS is an 'open' standard, meaning that anyone may suggest changes and improvements."
Some design for EFS are: "(1) Make information about the form, the fields and data types, commonly available to form design, data entry, and data analysis programs. (2) Include information about presentation and formatting for the benefit of data entry programs, which may be ignored by data analysis programs. (3) Since electronic form and survey software from different vendors may have different features, we allow for ad-hoc extensions. (4) Allow for protection of intellectual property of surveys and comparison data compiled by third parties. (5) Do not not attempt to do everything for everybody; include the basic features of an electronic form that you are likely to need."