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Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed

From: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 20:18:46 -0700
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, Forms WG <public-forms@w3.org>, public-forms-tf@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFDD0DAFE9.12C24691-ON88257420.0010A9DB-88257420.0012376D@ca.ibm.com>
Hi Maciej,

You sound uncomfortable from my efforts as chair of the Forms WG to 
kickstart activity on this joint task force.

You've tried to give me the action item to check with your chairs, but 
they have already been notified via the hypertext coordination group that 
we are making progress on a simplified syntax as an effort to kickstart 
task force work.

I do not need further permission from them to begin communicating to a 
task force that it is essentially doing no work and that I would like this 
to change.  It is my job as a chair to promote more activity from a task 
force that is supposed to be working on behalf of my working group and 
another related working group, and frankly it is also the job of the other 
working group's chairs to also be pushing for the task force to do work.

Prior to my email, none have been posted to the task force mailing list 
since last November, which is not acceptable.  I understand that this 
feels like a bit of an admonishment to you, and I encourage you to take 
that discomfort up with the HTML WG chairs, who will hopefully indicate 
that more work should have been done, and in lieu of that perhaps more 
work should be done now.

As to the level of specificity, I absolutely disagree with your claim that 
the task force can only provide the roughest of guidelines without getting 
into any technical details.  That smacks of being obstructionist.  My view 
as chair of one of the working groups that this task force serves is that 
the job of the task force is to make a solid technical integration that 
permits web authors to smoothly scale from the forms they can write today 
to full canonical XForms.  My understanding is that some of the features 
needed to do this will land in XForms and some of them will be specific to 
XHTML and HTML5.

For example, while XForms might not define a "button" control, HTML 
obviously wants to still have one.  But if the behavior imparted to that 
button could be consistent with what an XForm might say in a trigger 
control, then we would be able to achieve a good level of architectural 
interoperability via translation or mapping from document markup to 
run-time objects.

My further understanding is that this absolutely should drive right down 
to ending up agreeing on some vocabulary because then HTML5 can adopt the 
same vocabulary (as XHTML), modulo XML well-formedness.  This is the 
approach that is going to make it easiest for the world wide web to 
understand how the W3C is leading it to its full potential.

John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
Senior Technical Staff Member
Lotus Forms Architect and Researcher
Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
IBM Victoria Software Lab
E-Mail: boyerj@ca.ibm.com 

Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer
Blog RSS feed: 
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/rss/JohnBoyer?flavor=rssdw





Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> 
Sent by: public-forms-request@w3.org
04/02/2008 02:20 PM

To
John Boyer/CanWest/IBM@IBMCA
cc
"Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>, Forms WG <public-forms@w3.org>, 
public-forms-tf@w3.org
Subject
Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed







On Apr 2, 2008, at 1:59 PM, John Boyer wrote:


Hi Gregory and Maciej, 

To address Gregory's point first, I am trying now to reinvigorate the 
existing TF.   

I think review of a more specific proposal such as the one I put forward 
earlier today is appropriate for the TF, even in light of the TF charter 
language. 

Guidelines can be fairly specific.  I think if you guys review what's been 
done so far, it will be easy to glean some really tight guidelines. 

Also, I think the guidelines can indeed suggest specific vocabulary to the 
HTML and Forms WGs.  The TF is composed of members from both groups, so 
those members are in fact free to say some very specific things in the 
guidelines.  For example, specific vocabulary is important to today's web 
authors.  This is why we chose the 'name' attribute.  It's already 
familiar to today's HTML form authors. 

I think suggestions of specific syntax would not, in fact, be valid 
"guidelines for architectural consistency". Our charter decision policy 
requires consensus and I will certainly vote "disagree" on any such 
proposal as it would be clearly out of charter for the TF.

I agree with your position that the purpose of the TF is to do some real 
work that does a real job of promoting new HTML forms that the HTML WG can 
be happy with and that can be mapped to and *therefore* scale up 
seamlessly to XForms so the Forms WG can be happy. 

That is most definitely not the purpose of the TF. No where in our charter 
is there anything about defining a mapping from HTML forms syntax to 
XForms. I object to the TF doing off-charter work. I an uncomfortable a 
non-member of the TF trying to push us to do off-charter work.

I also agree that telecons of the willing are important because the TF has 
already proven that email alone does not work.   

Indeed, this topic has so far proven challenging enough that it is only by 
a combination of email and telecon time over the last 3 months straight 
that we have managed to figure out enough of what the heck is going on 
that we have anything reasonable to bring forward.   Now that we have a 
"strawman" created based on the full attention of the Forms WG for quite a 
while now, I'd really like to use it to get the TF into action. 

The "strawman" does not include anything that would satisfy our charter 
deliverables. So I do not see how it would aid the TF's work. Can you 
clarify to me how a proposal for a new XForms syntax helps us to define 
architectural consistency guidelines for forms languages?

We really do need to talk to each other on a regular telecon over the next 
three months because if we do, then we'll actually have something concrete 
to bring forward to the general WGs. 

Finally, the only point I don't understand about the TF charter is having 
it end in July.  Presumably, if good progress starts to happen in the next 
three months, the TF charter can be renewed until we get the right 
integration across the two actual working groups.  That's the real charter 
of the TF as mandated by the charters of the working groups from which the 
TF membership is drawn. 

The real charter of the TF is what I sent. It does not include any mention 
of "integration". (Nor do the HTML WG or Forms WG charters require 
integration.) I am very uncomfortable with the chair of the Forms WG 
unilaterally trying to change the Task Force charter. Perhaps this is 
something you should discuss with the chairs of the HTML WG.

Regards,
Maciej




John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
Senior Technical Staff Member
Lotus Forms Architect and Researcher
Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
IBM Victoria Software Lab
E-Mail: boyerj@ca.ibm.com 

Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer
Blog RSS feed: 
http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/rss/JohnBoyer?flavor=rssdw




"Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net> 
04/02/2008 01:29 PM 


To
Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, John Boyer/CanWest/IBM@IBMCA 
cc
public-forms-tf@w3.org, Forms WG <public-forms@w3.org> (new) 
Subject
Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed








aloha, fellow forms task force members!

maciej wrote, quote:
> (Fellow Forms TF members, I think it's time we come up with a 
> draft of  the guidelines so we can satisfy our obligations to 
> the Forms WG and  HTML WG.)
unquote

i believe that it is high time that the Forms and HTML working groups
reconsidered the joint forms task force and its goals, with an eye 
towards dissolving the old task force and its charter, and drafting a 
new one; we have been going nowhere at no particular speed, and it is
in everyone's best interest to consider not merely "guidelines" but 
specific proposals -- as long as the HTML5 draft has a ToDo where the
"Forms" section should be, there will be very little progress on this
front, unless we re-examine the joint task force's purview...

if that is not acceptable to my fellow joint task force members, then 
i suggest that the joint task force as currently constituted be 
dissolved by mutual consent of the chairs of both working groups, and 
that it be replaced with a task force that will produce more tangible 
deliverables...  when i am asked about the gaping hole in the HTML5 
draft where forms should be addressed, i'm not being queried as to 
what theoretically might one day appear there, but specifically what 
WILL appear there...

i proposed at our first (and so far only) telecon that we examine 
dave raggett's XForms Transitional, but that suggestion went over 
like the proverbial lead ballon...  we must, as a task force and 
as members of our respective groups, reconsider our approach to 
forms in HTML5 and XHTML and either be chartered/tasked with providing
concrete proposals, or we should remove HTML5 from TR space as a 
working draft, for how can one write a specification for the web that
does not address forms, given the fact that i am using one to compose
this, use them every day to post to wikis, and to conduct ecommerce?

in my opinion, it is time for a reconsideration of the joint task 
force's function and scope, and i for one welcome john's invitation 
to examine and explore the modified XForms vocabulary about which he
emailed us...  if i am not permitted to do so as a member of the joint
task force, then i shall do so as an individual, but would rather do so
as a member of a strengthened and reinvigorated joint forms task force
that has a more tangible deliverable than "guidelines" for divergent 
forms of forms...

gregory.

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not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of 
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---------- Original Message -----------
From: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
To: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
Cc: public-forms-tf@w3.org, Forms WG <public-forms@w3.org> (new)
Sent: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 12:57:58 -0700
Subject: Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed

> Hi John,
> 
> Thanks for letting us know about the XForms simplified syntax 
> idea.  For reference, here is the Forms Task Force charter that 
> we  unanimously adopted (unfortunately, I am not sure our staff 
> contact  has posted it anywhere on W3C space yet):
> 
> Our charter scope is to define "a set of guidelines for 
> architectural  consistency in form technologies". Our 
> deliverables are a W3C Note  outlining these guidelines, and 
> then reviewing the evaluations of the  HTML WG and the Forms WG 
> of their technologies with respect to these  guidelines.
> 
> Unfortunately, we have failed to develop these guidelines so far,
>  due  to inactivity of the TF, so we cannot provide review with 
> these  guidelines in mind. We can of course still provide 
> general technical  review as individuals, and I for one would be 
> glad to do so. However,  I would prefer to do such technical 
> review by email instead of in a  teleconference, because the 
> phone is not a good medium for considering  tricky technical issues.
> 
> It would also be out of charter for the Forms TF to propose a 
> specific  forms syntax or semantics to the HTML WG, or to help 
> design such a  syntax. So, if you want to make such a proposal,
>  or to request design  help, the proper forum would be the HTML WG.
> 
> (Fellow Forms TF members, I think it's time we come up with a 
> draft of  the guidelines so we can satisfy our obligations to 
> the Forms WG and  HTML WG.)
> 
> Best Regards,
> Maciej
> 
> On Apr 2, 2008, at 10:03 AM, John Boyer wrote:
> 
> >
> > Dear Forms Joint Task Force,
> >
> > I would like to invite you to have some active dialog regarding 
> > XForms simplified syntax.  The goal of this work is to streamline 
> > XForms for use by web authors, which is a topic of great interest to 
> > both the Forms WG and the HTML WG.
> >
> > Based on an understanding of the "on the glass" style of authoring 
> > desired for HTML, the Forms WG has been tasked with figuring out a 
> > mapping that achieves that style of authorship while also allowing a 
> > straightforward mapping to "canonical" XForms.  The rationale for 
> > placing this requirement on the Forms WG in its charter was to 
> > provide for web form authors a much better "on ramp" to the full 
> > power and feature set of XForms while also being able to scale back 
> > as far as possible to constructs, ideas and syntax that are familiar 
> > to today's HTML forms authors.
> >
> > The goal from the Forms WG side is to describe a vocabulary which we 
> > might implement using XML but which the HTML WG could adopt into 
> > both XHTML and HTML5 to provide maximal interoperability of forms 
> > applications across the W3C stack.
> >
> > In looking at "canoncial" XForms and what it would imply for a 
> > scalable "on the glass" style, we have gone through a number of 
> > iterations and come up with a "strawman" view of
> > 1) what the simplified syntax could look like
> > 2) what changes are needed to the core XForms processing model to 
> > better support that view.
> >
> > This link provides a good technical explanation of this "strawman" 
> > view, and I think it is at the point where it needs more serious 
> > consideration, collaboration and discussion by the task force:
> >
> > http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-forms/2008Mar/0097.html
> >
> > I would actually like to set up a special telecon with the members 
> > of the task force to help kickstart the review and elaboration 
> > process.  I have a toll free line that can be used in addition to 
> > IRC.  I also have a web conference hosting capability that will 
> > hopefully work for everyone, but the main issue I have now would be 
> > getting a statement of availability from all of you so we can figure 
> > out a reasonable time to hold such a call.  Once we have a good 
> > time, we might be able to hold the call weekly for a number of 
> > months to get some real progress.
> >
> > I hope that you will be as excited as I am by the look of the 
> > simplified syntax as elaborated so far in the above "strawman" view, 
> > and if so then hopefully it will inspire the elaboration work needed 
> > to bring the modified XForms vocabulary into line with the full 
> > needs of XHTML and HTML5.
> >
> > I look forward to hearing from you soon.  Also, could you please 
> > consider adding me to the mailing list so that I can more easily see 
> > the responses and help with the discussions.
> >
> > Thank you,
> > John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
> > Senior Technical Staff Member
> > Lotus Forms Architect and Researcher
> > Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
> > Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
> > IBM Victoria Software Lab
> > E-Mail: boyerj@ca.ibm.com
> >
> > Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer
> > Blog RSS feed: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/rss/JohnBoyer?
flavor=rssdw
> >
------- End of Original Message -------
Received on Thursday, 3 April 2008 03:19:51 GMT

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