W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-forms@w3.org > April 2008

Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@x-port.net>
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 21:55:22 +0100
Message-ID: <a707f8300804021355w5003e391ka7bcf5dd83d67cba@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <oedipus@hicom.net>
Cc: "Maciej Stachowiak" <mjs@apple.com>, "John Boyer" <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>, public-forms-tf@w3.org, "Forms WG" <public-forms@w3.org>

Hi Gregory/Maciej,

This is all very confusing...

At the (one and only :)) telecon we had, I explained that the big
issue from the XForms point of view was to come up with a way of
allowing authors to create simple forms, much like an HTML form, but
for it to be very easy for that author to gradually enhance that form
with additional XForms features.

I did explain at that call, that we were 'working on it', and that it
was a top priority. And then I also replied to various recent
suggestions concerning the winding up of this TF, that actually the
XForms WG were close to having something that was workable.

So it's certainly not the case that nothing has been happening. In
fact you'll see from the minutes of the last FtF in Raleigh, and the
minutes of all the telecons since, that this has been the only issue
under discussion!

Of course it should be said that the main motivation for this work has
been to make it easy for authors to move form HTML 4 forms up to full
XForms, but that doesn't mean that it shouldn't be possible to make a
stopping off point on that journey HTML 5 forms.

Imagine a spectrum running left to right; we all agree where we the
spectrum starts, and that's the very simple forms functionality
available in HTML 4. We also agree that the most advanced form
language (the right side of the spectrum) will be XForms, with its
support for XML Schemas, XPath, dependency-graph, various submission
features, and so on.

But now we need to put HTML 5 forms somewhere on that spectrum, and
most importantly we need to ensure that the entire spectrum represents
a smooth set of transition steps to form authors of all persuasions,
allowing them to pick and choose whatever level of complexity they
want for their forms on that spectrum. These authors need to be safe
in the knowledge that they won't have to throw away any of their work
at a later date if they need further functionality, should they choose
to opt for one approach at the beginning and not another.

And that's where this task-force comes in.

Regards,

Mark

On 02/04/2008, Gregory J. Rosmaita <oedipus@hicom.net> wrote:
>
>  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.
>
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------
>  CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are,
>  not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of
>  plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
>
>                          -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------
>           Gregory J. Rosmaita, oedipus@hicom.net
>
> UBATS - United Blind Advocates for Talking Signs: http://ubats.org/
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------
>
>
>  ---------- 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 -------
>
>
>


-- 
  Mark Birbeck

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Received on Wednesday, 2 April 2008 20:56:01 UTC

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