A new XForms Activity has been created as part of the W3C Interaction Domain. The XForms Activity currently "hosts a single Working Group, and focuses on the development of W3C specifications for the next generation of Web forms. More flexible than previous HTML and XHTML form technologies, W3C XForms separate purpose, presentation, and data. The Activity is producing advanced forms logic, improved internationalization, and rich user interface capabilities. Whereas the current design of Web forms does not separate the purpose from the presentation of a form, XForms are comprised of separate sections that describe what the form does, and how the form looks. This allows for flexible presentation options, including classic XHTML forms, to be attached to an XML form definition."
HTML forms lack a number of features common in software used in database and workflow applications. These are applications where an on-line document or form is passed from office to office, for example, an invoice or purchase order. W3C is now working on a complete revision to make forms more portable and easier to work with. The form fields will be tied to a definite data model and less to presentation, making it easier to use data in form fields for processing by other software; for instance, to generate reports, statistics etc. The new XForms specification will also make it easier to cater for regional variations for currency values, phone numbers, dates and postal addresses, and make it possible to cope with different kinds of input, e.g. microphones, cameras, scanners and pen-based input for signatures and drawings.
It will become increasingly common for peripheral devices to include embedded Web servers. XForms have the potential for configuring peripherals without the need for custom device drivers. For example, suppose you want to do the page setup for printing. An XForm might provide the interface to configure the printer via its own embedded Web server, literally a server installed in the printer. This is on the assumption that all the devices will be connected to the network in some manner.
The XForms working group works in cooperation with appropriate W3C groups and Activities. For example, ensuring that XForms can be effectively integrated with other W3C namespaces and ensuring that XForms meets the W3C goals for accessibility, internationalization, device independence and voice through liaisons with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), the Internationalization Activity, the Device Independence Activity and Voice Activity is an important aspect of the group's work.
The XForms Working Group started life as a subgroup with the HTML Working Group, and was then spun off as an independent Working Group. It aims to build upon the experience gained over the early years of the Web to create the basis for the next generation of Web applications. This has led to a focus on separating the data, logic and presentation, reducing the need for complex scripting and the number of round trips to the server. On the server, it will allow code to be shared for different versions of Web pages aimed at different devices (voice, mobile, television, desktop and even paper). [from the Activity Statement]
XForms 1.0 Test Suite
The XForms 1.0 test suite was "created by the XForms working group during the CR phase. Test cases are categorized by chapter, and the cover page for the test cases for each chapter is linked from this page. Test cases for each chapter are maintained in a separate directory... [The WG has] created assertions for each chapter from the XForms specification.
- W3C XForms Activity Statement
- XForms - The Next Generation of Web Forms
- XForms 1.0 Public Test Suite
- XForms Implementation Workshop. February 27-28, 2003. Waltham, MA, USA. "Attendees must either be members of the XForms WG or have an XForms 1.0 implementation."
- "XForms 1.0." W3C Candidate Recommendation 12-November-2002. See the CR press release and news item "W3C XForms 1.0 Advances to Candidate Recommendation Status."
- Archive for mailing list 'www-forms-editor'
- FormsPlayer. The FormsPlayer website provides resources for XForms, including a plugin [2003-02-04: "x-port.net is providing FormsPlayer as a free download, to encourage the take up of XForms; please note that currently FormsPlayer only works in Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 6 SP 1.]. See also the discussion forum.
- W3C Interaction Domain. "The Interaction Domain seeks to improve and evolve Web user interface technologies. Work includes formats and languages that add new interaction methods to the Web (e.g. speech recognition, multimodal access), as well as mechanisms for handling the increasing number of new Web access devices (mobile phones, PDAs, interactive television sets etc.)."
- Recently published:
- "XForms for Managing Forms-Based Data." By Anthony Tomasic. In XML & Web Services Magazine Volume 3, Number 7 (December 2002/January 2003), pages 24-27.
- "XML Forms, Web Services, and Apache Cocoon." By Ivelin Ivanov. From XML.com January 29, 2003. Introduces Cocoon's XMLForms features, which allow a model-view-controller paradigm for web applications.
- "XML and Forms" - Main reference page.