"XFDL, the world's first open protocol for secure, legally-binding XML documents, is garnering support and endorsement from industry vendors. XFDL provides a key component of business-to-business e-commerce solutions: the ability to securely send and receive legally-binding XML documents. The importance of XFDL as an e-commerce language comes largely from its ability to encapsulate presentation, data, computational logic, and business semantics, such as those defined by CBL, cXML, or BizTalk, in a single XML document. This document can then be digitally signed and stored to provide non-repudiation, enabling high-value, binding e-commerce transactions today." [from the Home Page]
[October 16, 1998] On October 16, 1998, the W3C publicly acknowledged a submission from UWI.com Unisoft Wares Inc. for the XFDL facility: "Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL) 4.0." References: NOTE-XFDL-19980902, W3C Note, September 2, 1998. Editors: John Boyer (UWI.Com), Tim Bray (Textuality), and Maureen Gordon (UWI.Com). The NOTE "describes an XML syntax for the Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL). The purpose of XFDL is to solve the body of problems associated with digitally representing complex forms such as those found in business and government. The requirements include support for high precision layout, supporting documentation, integrated computations and input validation, multiple overlapping digital signatures, and legally binding auditable transaction records, by maintaining the whole form as a single unit such that digital signatures can capture the entire context of transactions." The W3C Staff Comments relate the NOTE to other W3C work under HTML, XML, CSS/XSL, DOM, the Electronic Commerce Interest Group, and the Digital Signature (DSig) working group. Also noted: "XFDL provides full non-repudiation and auditability by storing the form template, data, and internal logic in a single filethat can be digitally signed. XFDL also offers built-in logic, calculations, type checking, enclosures, and online help. . . W3C policy is to separate content and presentation. XFDL combines content, layout, actions and digital signature. Obviously, on many topics the XFDL submission relates to a large number of W3C activities." See the announcement for UWI.com contact addresses.
[October 7, 1998] On August 17, 1998, "UWI.Com unveiled [viz., announced] the Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), the first open, XML-based protocol for creating, viewing, and filling complex business forms on the Internet. XFDL was authored by UWI.Com and Tim Bray, co-editor of the XML specification. XFDL will facilitate the broad interchange of forms-based data through the body of tools developed in support of the XML standard. XFDL was developed because auditable business forms cannot be represented with HTML. Forms are made up of questions (form template) and answers (input data). Without the questions, the answers are meaningless. Because HTML forms only transmit and store the answers, HTML forms cannot be part of a reliable audit trail. However, XFDL provides full non-repudiation and auditability by storing the form template, data, and internal logic in a single file that can be digitally signed. XFDL also offers built-in logic, calculations, type checking, enclosures, and online help. A beta version of UWI.Com's InternetForms Viewer, available in September 1998, will be the first software to incorporate the XFDL open protocol." According to a PC Week Online article, "XFDL is due to be submitted to the W3C for review later this year."
UDFL and XFDL: "The overall philosophy and vision for UFDL and XML are highly complementary. As such, UWI.Com and Tim Bray, a co-editor of the W3C's XML specification, developed Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL). XFDL combines UFDL and XML into an open protocol that represents complex business forms in XML syntax. While these forms incorporate all of the benefits of XML, such as vendor independence and extensibility, they also give organizations the built-in data validation, intelligence, and auditability offered by UFDL. Developers can now build applications around the XML standard that will extract information from XFDL forms, increasing the ability to integrate web-based forms across the enterprise." [from 'What are XFDL, UFDL and XML?']
The submission Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL) 4.0 was published September 2, 1998. It is the initial draft of the specification of the XFDL facility, "intended for review and comment and is subject to change." The abstract: "This document describes an XML syntax for the Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL). The purpose of XFDL is to solve the body of problems associated with digitally representing complex forms such as those found in business and government. The requirements include support for high precision layout, supporting documentation, integrated computations and input validation, multiple overlapping digital signatures, and legally binding auditable transaction records, by maintaining the whole form as a single unit such that digital signatures can capture the entire context of transactions."
See: "XML and Forms."
XFDL - UWI.COM Main Page
W3C Submission. "Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL) 4.0." References: NOTE-XFDL-19980902, W3C Note, September 2, 1998. With the announcement and W3C Staff Comments. Local archive copies: NOTE, comment, announcement.
[January 26, 1999] "XFDL Digest." (January-February 1999). From UWI.Com. Articles on XFDL, Extensible Forms Description Language. "In the first issue of the XFDL Digest, we're focussing on Internet standards: what they are, why we need them, and how are they created. We'll also take a look at upcoming XML-related events and sources of XML information. Also, in this issue we have a tutorial that will get you up and running with XFDL in no time flat. Finally, we've included all the latest information about XFDL. Enjoy!"
[November 22, 1999] "XFDL: The Extensible Forms Description Language." By John Boyer. In Dr. Dobb's Journal Volume 24, Number 12 (December 1999). "The Extensible Forms Description Language is an XML extension language that addresses key problems involved with doing electronic commerce on the Web. Additional resources include 'xfdl.txt' code listings."
[September 22, 1999] "Netscape Certificates and Smart Cards Create Legally-Binding XML in Free Addition to UWI.Com's InternetForms. UWI.Com Supports Signing Solutions from Every Major Vendor, Including First XML Digital Signature Solution Interoperable with Netscape Products." - "Hot on the heels of a CSC study that put secure e-commerce documents at the top of the CIO's priority list, UWI.Com today announced a free addition to its InternetForms Commerce System (ICS) that enables enterprise users to securely sign XML e-commerce documents using smart cards and Netscape digital certificates. Now organizations can combine the security features of smart cards with Netscape's Digital Certificate Management System to digitally sign UWI.Com's secure, legally-binding InternetForms. This announcement complements UWI.Com's April release of the first third-party support worldwide for Netscape certificates, and continues the company's leadership in supporting signing solutions from every major digital security vendor. Over the past year, UWI.Com has set the standard for legally-binding XML documents. It introduced the industry to the concepts of transaction non-repudiation through the encapsulation of digitally signed data and presentation in a single file for archiving and later verification. This ground-breaking approach to secure XML documents has been validated by leading industry analysts, including Meta Group, Giga Information Group, and Cohasset Associates. UWI.Com co-authored, with Tim Bray, co-editor of the XML specification, Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), the first XML syntax for legally-binding Internet Forms. XFDL has been submitted to the World Wide Web Consortium as an Internet standard. UWI.Com was also the first company to implement a syntax for digitally signed XML, and continues to advise and participate in the W3C's XML Signature working group. Earlier this year, UWI.Com became the first company to offer third-party support for Netscape signatures."
[October 19, 1999] "Formark LiveForms Integrates UWI.Com's InternetForms with Livelink Intranet. Sophisticated XML-based form technology now available for users of Livelink Intranet by Open Text." - "Formark Ltd., a leading developer of web-based applications that leverage the dominant knowledge management product, Livelink Intranet, to automate and integrate business-critical processes, and UWI.Com, the leading provider of XML Internet forms solutions for business-to-business e-commerce, announced today a strategic partnership. Formark has integrated UWI.Com's InternetForms Commerce System with Open Text's Livelink Intranet to create LiveForms, an XML application that enables Livelink users to automate business processes and undertake e-commerce on Livelink supported intranets and extranets. Formark's LiveForms brings secure, legally-binding InternetForms to Livelink users, and provides a sophisticated range of features not available to Livelink users with other form solutions. Formark LiveForms support: role-based workflow distribution; multiple electronic signatures; easy to use designer and database connectivity; ability to work offline; and legally-binding records. UWI.Com's InternetForms Commerce System is a suite of products based on XFDL (Extensible Forms Description Language), the world's first open XML protocol for legally-binding transactions on the Internet. Unlike many forms packages, extensive programming and scripting expertise is not required to quickly and easily develop forms and integrate them with external databases."
[September 30, 1999] "The E-content Company and UWI.com Team to Leverage Power of XML Solutions to Automate E-business Processes. Combination of E-content Solutions with Web-based Forms Increase Efficiency of Business-to-Business Initiatives." - "The e-content company, a division of Interleaf, Inc. and leader in delivering powerful XML-based content management solutions for e-business, and UWI.Com, the leading provider of XML Internet forms solutions for business-to-business e-commerce, announced today a strategic partnership. This new partnership will enable the integration of the e-content company's BladeRunner and UWI.Com's InternetForms Commerce System to significantly increase the efficiency in e-business infrastructure while reducing costs, decreasing time to market and increasing customer service. By integrating BladeRunner and InternetForms, companies will have the ability to cleanly and securely collect important data with XML-based Internet forms and transform it into valuable and manageable e-content information. E-content information is key to the success of e-business initiatives because it gives companies the ability to reuse and repurpose vital information to automate digital transactions, such as electronic procurement and purchasing processes with little or no human intervention. As a result, companies gain competitive advantage by improving business-to-business efficiencies. UWI.Com's InternetForms Commerce System is a complete suite of XML software that allows organizations to conduct secure, verifiable business-to-business e-commerce transactions on the Internet. InternetForms are based on Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), the world's first open XML protocol for legally binding web transactions."
[March 11, 1999] "UWI.Com Introduces InternetForms Designer 1.2. Leading Visual XML Forms Creation Tool Adds Security, Productivity, and Ease-of-Use Features." - "InternetForms Designer 1.2 enables developers to easily create and deploy secure, intelligent, and legally-binding documents for their e-commerce applications while taking advantage of the openness of XML. The new release also includes several new features that improve developer productivity and enhance ease-of-use. The release of InternetForms Designer 1.2 completes the newest version of the InternetForms System, a suite of products based on XFDL (Extensible Forms Description Language), the world's first open XML protocol for legally-binding transactions on the Internet."
[December 15, 1998] Press release. "UWI.Com Integrates Java Into Award-Winning XML Software Line. Legally-Binding E-Commerce Forms Integrate XML and Java." - "UWI.Com announced today that organizations can now use XML and Java together to create intelligent, secure, and legally-binding XML forms. . . The new InternetForms Function Call Interface (FCI) Java Edition allows seamless integration of Java with InternetForms written in Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), the world's first open protocol for legally-binding XML documents."
Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL) 4.0. Submission September 2, 1998. Editors: John Boyer (UWI.Com), Tim Bray (Textuality), and Maureen Gordon (UWI.Com). Contributors: Richard Bennett (UWI.Com), David Manning (UWI.Com), and Michael Mansell (UWI.Com). Document URL: http://www.uwi.com/xfdl/xfdl4-980902.htm. [local archive copy]
Announcement for the XFDL Specification: "We will be posting the XFDL specification [on the UWI.Com Web site] early in the week of August 24, 1998."
Universal Forms Description Language (UFDL) is/was the basis for the design of XFDL. Local copy: Universal Forms Description Language Specification, Version 4.0.1 (INTERNET DRAFT, draft-gordon-ufdl-spec-02.txt, August 1998). See the early press release of August 12, 1997.
"UWI.Com's XFDL to Enable Creating, Viewing Forms on Net." By Jessica Davis. In InfoWorld (August 15, 1998) [Posted at 5:55 AM PT]. ". . . Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL) [is] a new language that will make it possible to create, view, and fill in complex business forms and legal contracts on the Internet and intranets." UWI.com is based in Victoria, British Columbia.
[October 05, 1998] "UWI.Com Releases First XML-based Software for Complex Business Forms On the Web." - ". . . released InternetForms Viewer 4.0.4 Gold and InternetForms Designer 1.1.1 Gold, the first software to fully support Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL)."
Sample XFDL forms from UWI.COM. For example: Property Loss Notice, Auto Accident Information, Witness Card, Medical Statement, Travel Voucher, Registry of Motor Vehicles Application, Position Description. [samples, local archive copy]
"XML advances to easier publishing. Developments include forms support." - By Brian Hannon, PC Week Online (August 17, 1998).
[October 03, 1998] "Forms Vendors Look to XML As Key to Spurring Commerce. Seeking Reliable Use of Secure Documents." By Regina Kwon. In Internet World. "Two vendors of electronic forms have announced XML-based initiatives that they say will get more companies involved in online commerce. UWI.Com last week announced the XML-based eXtensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), which the company has submitted as a proposal to the Internet Engineering Task Force and other standards bodies. JetForm Corporation has incorporated XML support in its recently launched FormFlow 98 product."
"Waiting for Lawsuit-Proof Electronic Documents." By Steven L. Telleen. In Internet World Volume 4, Issue 28 (September 7, 1998), page 27. "UWI.Com has developed an XML tag set for legally binding forms, called XFDL, which it has submitted to several organizations as an open standard. Any company can use this tag set to create and present legally binding forms through XML-capable Web browsers. As more companies begin to provide electronic forms that capture both content and context, UWI.Com sees document routing and change-management functionality to be its main competitive advantages."
[October 20, 1998] "UWI consolidates Forms Creation." By [PC Week Staff]. In PC Week [Online] (October 19, 1998). "UWI.Com this month unveiled a pair of products that employ Extensible Forms Description Language, the company's forms syntax based on XML, which enables users to develop Web forms that store template, data and internal logic in one file."