Web Forms 2.0

Joe Gregorio

Found via Marks b-links, is Web Forms 2.0.

Now I've gone on endlessly about the complexity and short-comings of XForms: Web Services vs. Internet Services, HTTP and HTML, Sans DELETE, and XHTML + XForms + XLink = Xanadu.

Web Forms 2.0, edited by Opera's own Ian Hickson, is a breath of fresh air. Instead of trying to completely revolutionize HTML forms, it takes an incremental approach, building on an already stable base, fixing common problems (like the fact that forms can only do GET and POST, which in my opinion is a bug of the HTML specifications), and adding new features in a way that is backward compatible that strike a good 80/20 balance (a new mime-type for form submission of application/x-www-form+xml).

It starts with this completely sensible set of requirements that are drawn from requests of real people trying to get a job done.

  • Backwards compatibility (where possible).
  • Ease of authoring for authors with limited knowledge about XML, data models, etc, but familiar with commonly used languages such as HTML and ECMAScript.
  • Basic data typing, providing new controls for commonly used types, so that authors do not need to repeatedly design complicated widgets such as calendars.
  • Simpler validation on the client side (while recognizing that server side validation will still be required), with declarative solutions for the common case but strong DOM support so that less common cases can easily be handled using scripting.
  • Dynamically adding more fields (repeating structures) on the client side without scripting.
  • XML submission (although not necessarily structured XML submission).
  • The ability to initialize forms from external data sources, so that authors do not have to dynamically rewrite the form content itself to prefill forms, but can instead use static pages with scripts that dynamically generate only the data part.

This is absolutely great work that I would like to point out did not come from the W3C.

Note: Just to make it clear, I don't have it out for anyone involved in XForms. In particular I would like to point out that while I pan XForms pretty hard, one of the editors for XForms is Micah Dubinko who has also authored SkunkLink, another fine piece of work that again comes from outside the W3C.

Posted by anonymous on 2004-03-30

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