A draft specification for Web Forms 2.0 has been released by members of the Web Hypertext Application Technology (WHAT) Working Group.
This initial call-for-comments draft of Web Forms 2.0 "defines an extension to the forms features found in HTML 4.01's Forms chapter. Web Forms 2.0 applies to both HTML and XHTML user agents, and provides new strongly-typed input fields, new attributes for defining constraints, a repeating model for declarative repeating of form sections, new DOM interfaces, new DOM events for validation and dependency tracking, and XML submission and initialization of forms. The specification also standardises and codifies existing practice in areas that have not been previously documented. HTML4, XHTML1.1, and the DOM are thus extended in a manner that has a clear migration path from existing HTML forms, leveraging the knowledge authors have built up with their experience with HTML so far."
The Web Hypertext Applications Technology Working Group is described as "a loose, unofficial, and open collaboration of Web browser manufacturers and interested parties. The group aims to develop specifications based on HTML and related technologies to ease the deployment of interoperable Web Applications, with the intention of submitting the results to a standards organisation. A public mailing list for the WHAT working group is hosted at 'whatwg-whatwg.org'.
The Web Forms 2.0 specification "clarifies and extends the semantics put forth in HTML 4.01 for form controls and form submission. It is expected to be implemented in ordinary HTML user agents alongside existing forms technology, and indeed, some of the features described in this draft have been implemented by user agents as ad-hoc, non-standard extensions for many years due to strong market need. The specification can also be viewed as an extension to [XHTML1]. In particular, some of the features added in this module only apply to XHTML documents; for example, features allowing mixed namespaces."
This initial call-for-comments draft of Web Forms 2.0 "defines an extension to the forms features found in HTML 4.01's Forms chapter. Web Forms 2.0 applies to both HTML and XHTML user agents, and provides new strongly-typed input fields, new attributes for defining constraints, a repeating model for declarative repeating of form sections, new DOM interfaces, new DOM events for validation and dependency tracking, and XML submission and initialization of forms. The specification also standardises and codifies existing practice in areas that have not been previously documented."
Web Forms 2.0. Version: Call For Comments. 27-June-2004. Edited by Ian Hickson (Opera Software). From the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group. Copyright (c) 2003 Opera Software. Version URL: http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-forms/2004-06-27-call-for-comments/. Latest version URL: http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-forms/current-work/.
Related: "Web Controls 1.0." Working Draft. Edited by Ian Hickson (Opera Software). Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group. 3-June-2004 or later. To cover: Properties for 'appearance', Pseudo-classes, Focus, Key handling; Properties for selection, focus, editing, changes to text-transform, changes to position; DOM Interfaces: The DocumentUI Interface, The ElementUI Interface, Popup Display Events, UI Exceptions, The Window Interface.
Related: "Web Applications Markup Language 1.0." Working Draft. Edited by Ian Hickson (Opera Software). 2-June-2004 or later. This document is the result of a loose collaboration between interested parties in the context of the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group. Snapshot description: "This specification is designed to complement Web Forms 2.0. Where Web Forms concentrates on input controls, data validation, and form submission, this specification concentrates on client-side user interface features needed to create modern applications... The main area that has not been adequately addressed by HTML is a vague subject referred to as Web Applications. This specification attempts to address this. The scope of this specification is not to describe an entire operating system. In particular, office productivity applications, image manipulation, and other applications that users would be expected to use on a daily basis are out of scope. This specification is targetted specifically at applications that would be expected to be used by users on an occasional basis. For instance online purchasing systems, searching systems, games (especially multiplayer online games), public telephone books or address books, etc. For sophisticated cross-platform applications, there already exist several proprietary solutions (such as Mozilla's XUL and Macromedia's Flash). These solutions are evolving faster than any standards process could follow, and the requirements are evolving even faster. These systems are also significantly more complicated to specify, and are orders of magnitude more difficult to achieve interoperability with, than the solutions described in this document..."
About the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group
According to the WHATWG Charter, the goal of the Web Hypertext Applications Technology Working Group is "to address the need for one coherent development environment for Web applications, through the creation of technical specifications that are intended to be implemented in mass-market Web browsers...
Software developers are increasingly using the Web to deploy their applications. User Agents serve as front ends for server-based applications, and W3C technologies — including HTML, CSS and DOM — are often used to build user interfaces to these applications. Along with ECMAScript, these technologies provide a foundation for Web applications.
However, the aforementioned technologies were not developed with Web applications in mind, and Web applications often rely on unintended features not fully described by the specifications. The next generation of Web applications will add new requirements to the development environment — requirements these technologies are not prepared to fulfill alone. New technologies being developed by the W3C and IETF can contribute to Web applications, but these are often designed to address other needs and only consider Web Applications in a peripheral way.
Expected deliverables from the WG include:
- Web Forms 2.0: An incremental improvement of HTML4.01's forms
- Web Apps 1.0: Features for Application Development in HTML
- Web Controls 1.0: A specification describing mechanisms for creating new widgets that can be used with the Web Forms and Web Apps technologies
- CSS Rendering Object Model: A specification for defining access to the CSS rendering tree so that applications can access, e.g., the active selection, and rendered ::before and ::after content..."
"The creation of this [WHATWG] forum follows from several months of work by private e-mail on specifications for such technologies. The main focus up to this point has been extending HTML4 Forms to support features requested by authors, without breaking backwards compatibility with existing content. This group was created to ensure that future development of these specifications will be completely open, through a publicly-archived, open mailing list. Working drafts of the specifications will be continuously available on the WHATWG Web site. As the drafts reach stable milestones, the group will publish snapshots for extensive review by the community... [from the announcement]
Principals on the WG [2004-07-07] included Brendan Eich, David Baron, David Hyatt, Dean Edwards, Håkon Wium Lie, Ian Hickson, Johnny Stenback, and Maciej Stachowia.
- Web Forms 2.0. Call For Comments Draft. 27-June-2004.
- Feedback: send comments on Web Forms 2.0 via email to email@example.com
- Early draft: "XHTML Module: Extensions to Form Controls." Opera Working Draft, September 2003.
- Position Paper for the W3C Workshop on Web Applications and Compound Documents. From the Mozilla Foundation and Opera Software. This document references the Web Forms working draft.
- WHAT WG Contact: Ian Hickson, Group spokesman
- Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group Charter
- WHAT Working Group mailing list, available for public subscription. See the list archives.
- Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group
- Jon Udell's Weblog on WHATWG. Wednesday, July 07, 2004.
- "Web Standards on the Move. Internet Explorer May be Moribund, But Web Client Technology is Alive and Well." By Jon Udell. In InfoWorld (July 09, 2004).
- "Party Like It's 1996!". By Tim Bray.
- "Browser innovation efforts — where's W3C in this picture?" By Michael Champion. XML-DEV. July 07, 2004.
- "3270 Redux." Joe Gregorio. BitWorking.
- "Mozilla and Opera Renew the Browser Battle." By Kendall Grant Clark. From (June 16, 2004).
- "Mozilla, Opera Join Forces for New W3C Proposal." By Sean Michael Kerner. From Internetnews.com (May 31, 2004).
- "Mozilla, Opera Unite to Standardize Web." By Jim Wagner. From Internetnews.com (June 30, 2004).
- HTML 4.01 Forms
- W3C XForms - The Next Generation of Web Forms
- W3C XForms Working Group Charter
- "XML and Forms" - Local reference document.