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Created: August 21, 2002.
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W3C Publishes Preview Candidate Recommendation for XForms Specification.

The W3C XForms Working Group has released an updated working draft for the XForms 1.0 specification. XForms is "an XML application that represents the next generation of forms for the Web. By splitting traditional XHTML forms into three parts -- XForms model, instance data, and user interface -- it separates presentation from content, allows reuse, gives strong typing, reducing the number of round-trips to the server, as well as offering device independence and a reduced need for scripting. XForms is not a free-standing document type, but is intended to be integrated into other markup languages, such as XHTML or SVG." The latest Working Draft incorporates the resolution of all last call issues reported on the XForms 1.0 Last Call Working Draft published on 18-January-2002. This draft is characterized as a "pre-version the Candidate Recommendation document [designed] to show the work on disposition of comments and allow authors of the Last Call comments to review the current XForms specification before advancing the specification to CR status."

Bibliographic information: XForms 1.0. W3C Working Draft 21-August-2002. Edited by Micah Dubinko (Cardiff), Leigh L. Klotz, Jr. (Xerox Corporation), Roland Merrick (IBM), T. V. Raman (IBM). Version URL: Latest version URL: Previous version:

From the "Background" statement and Introduction:

"Forms are an important part of the Web, and they continue to be the primary means for enabling interactive Web applications. Web applications and electronic commerce solutions have sparked the demand for better Web forms with richer interactions. XForms 1.0 is the response to this demand, and provides a new platform-independent markup language for online interaction between a person (through an XForms Processor) and another, usually remote, agent. XForms are the successor to HTML forms, and benefit from the lessons learned from HTML forms..."

XForms have been designed on the basis of several years' experience with HTML forms. HTML Forms have formed the backbone of the e-commerce revolution, and having shown their worth, have also indicated numerous ways they could be improved.

The primary difference when comparing XForms with HTML Forms, apart from XForms being in XML, is the separation of the data being collected from the markup of the controls collecting the individual values. By doing this, it not only makes XForms more tractable by making it clear what is being submitted where, it also eases reuse of forms, since the underlying essential part of a Form is no longer irretrievably bound to the page it is used in.

A second major difference is that XForms, while designed to be integrated into XHTML, is no longer restricted only to be a part of that language, but may be integrated into any suitable markup language.

XForms has striven to improve authoring, reuse, internationalization, accessibility, usability, and device independence...

Status: "On completion of the review, the XForms Working Group will advance the specification to Candidate Recommendation according to the following exit criteria, still under discussion:

  • Sufficient reports of implementation experience have been gathered to demonstrate that XForms Processors based on the specification are implementable and have compatible behavior.
  • An implementation report shows that there is at least one implementation of each feature.
  • Formal responses to all comments received by the Working Group."

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