The XML development team at IBM alphaWorks labs has released an 'XML Forms Package' as one of several new technologies. The XML Forms Package is a toolkit consisting of software components designed to showcase the possibilities presented by W3C XForms. XForms is W3C's next generation of web forms defined in a Candidate Recommendation specification. The IBM XML Forms Package "consists of two main components: the data model component and the client component. The data model component provides a set of Java APIs for creating, accessing, and modifying XForms data models. This package also includes a JSP tag library that provides a set of tags for use inside JSPs. The tag library interfaces with the XForms data model component APIs, thus providing JSP authors a means of accessing these APIs from within their JSPs. A detailed description of the data model APIs and the tag library, as well as their use, can be found in the documentation for the XML Forms data model. The client component includes two technologies: An XForms processor control and a Java XForms compiler. The XML Forms Package allows developers to deploy XForms applications without any client-side technologies, using the Java XForms compiler. It also includes an Internet Explorer process control with several useful extensions including local persistence, UI control extensions, and Web Services integration. The data model component allows JSP programmers to take advantage of XForms model constraints and validation without leaving their familiar programming environment and tools."
IBM XML Forms Package Details
The intended audience is developers interested in improving the performance of their Web applications by taking advantage of emerging XML standards related to next-generation Web forms. Web developers can improve user experience by taking advantage of client-side data validation, the ability to update data without redrawing the associated page, and by a rich set of end-user interaction techniques provided by this package. As for all alphaWorks releases, this package does not imply product commitments or dates but provides developers with an early prototype of this important emerging XML standard.
The current release allows developers to deploy XForms applications using existing J2EE-based server technologies and simple Web Browser-based technologies. It does not require special viewers for XForms applications and it provides a quick and easy way for current Web programmers to begin using XForms.
The XML Forms Package allows developers to deploy XForms applications without any client-side technologies, using the Java XForms compiler. It also includes an Internet Explorer process control with several useful extensions including local persistence, UI control extensions, and Web Services integration. The data model component allows JSP programmers to take advantage of XForms model constraints and validation without leaving their familiar programming environment and tools.
This technology includes a prototype of the W3C XForms specification and, in addition, several extensions, including the following: binding of XForms to Web Services, off-line operations, and rich UI controls. The package separates presentation from content, enables reuse, offers strong typing, and provides field-level validation and client-side multi-page navigation. These features help to reduce round-trips to the server, reduce the need for scripting, and improve end-user experience. In addition, the data model component greatly reduces the amount of coding typically required in deploying Web applications with processing of complex forms.
[from the main page and FAQ document]
About W3C XForms
The W3C XForms Activity works on the next generation of forms. This work started as a subgroup of the HTML working group but has now been spun off into an independent XForms working group. The key idea is to separate the user interface and presentation from the data model and logic, allowing the same form to be used on a wide variety of devices such as voice browsers, handhelds, desktops and even paper. XForms brings the benefits of XML to Web forms, transferring form data as XML. XForms aims to reduce the need for scripting, and to make it easier to achieve the desired layout of form fields without having to resort to using nested tables etc.
- IBM XML Forms Package website
- Forms Package FAQ document
- XML Forms Package System Requirements
- IBM alphaWorks website
- Download. Zip file containing IBM XML Forms Package Technology (18840 KB).
- W3C XForms: The Next Generation of Web Forms
- W3C XForms Activity Statement
- XForms 1.0. W3C Candidate Recommendation 12-November-2002.
- "XML and Forms" - Main reference page.