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

Re: A rose by any other name...

From: Erik Bruchez <ebruchez@orbeon.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 11:45:49 -0800
Message-Id: <6DCC67C3-3D9D-48DC-921F-673D2654F304@orbeon.com>
To: new Forms WG <public-forms@w3.org>

I am with Mark here. I fail to get excited about a name change.

We all remember Steven's talk about names: they are important. But 1)  
inventing good names is very hard and 2) somebody could come up with a  
real cool name and get all of us excited but even so, as pointed out,  
we would have to be careful not to throw away completely the little  
bit of momentum we have managed to create so far around the XForms  
name (that's the famous baby and bath water story).

I know it's easy to criticize, but just to pick on some of the  
proposals below:

* Anything with "XML application" in it: what does it even mean to be  
an "XML application"? And more importantly, how will this get people  
excited? We at Orbeon have tried this approach years ago with about  
zero success. Some companies still pitch this (Google for a company  
called "XFY"). The truth is that nobody understands what being an "XML  
application" is about and how it achieves anything.

* Anything with "rich applications" in it: everybody and their mother  
does it. The future of the web is rich and dynamic, everybody knows  
this and is working at it. Nobody will find your "rose" because you  
put the words "rich" or "dynamic" in its name.

Now even more in defense of the name "XForms": the word "forms" means  
stuff you fill-out to most of us in the Working Group, but maybe there  
is more to that name than we think. The word "form" has also the  
meaning of "shape" or "arrangement" (as in "information"), and to  
somebody who has never heard of "XForms", the name may not immediately  
evoke filling-out a change of address form. So maybe you could spin  
the name "XForms" in a more positive way.

-Erik

On Jan 25, 2008, at 10:30 AM, Mark Birbeck wrote:

> Hi John,
>
> But the point about something like Ajax, is that it named something  
> that already had momentum. I think you'll agree that no-one was  
> sitting round thinking, 'how can we make the use of JavaScript in  
> browsers more popular...we really need a catchy name'. :)
>
> So by all means come up with an Intel-inside name for the next  
> version or versions of XForms. But aren't we putting the cart before  
> the horse a little, to be worrying about this now?
>
> If I was to worry about anything, I'd say, how come the level of  
> blogging about XForms is so low? I set up planetXForms the other  
> week, to help people find stuff on XForms, and once you have all of  
> the historical stuff, there is very little activity there. I can say  
> for certain that there are at least three people in our group who  
> don't have a blog at the moment, but if they had one I'd read it  
> avidly. :)
>
> And what about screenshots and videos? Why don't implementers take  
> some time to put some screenshots into the Flickr XForms group, or  
> videos into the YouTube group, and tag them with XForms so that they  
> pop up on planetXForms. These will clarify what XForms is all about  
> far more than choosing a clever name.
>
> And presentations. I'm guilty here, too, since I have lots of  
> presentations that I've done on XForms over the years that I haven't  
> yet linked to (they are public in our SVN repository, as it  
> happens), but surely other people have slides, too? Let's see them.
>
> So if I was to worry about anything, it wouldn't be the name, it  
> would be that no-one else except us is going to create a community  
> around XForms, so we need to get on with it.
>
> And sure, if you want to add something to the XForms name to make  
> things clearer, go ahead...but I have to confess I can't get too  
> excited about it. :)
>
> Regards,
>
> Mark
>
> On 25/01/2008, John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com> wrote:
> Hi Sebastian (and Kenneth and others),
>
> This sounds interesting because it preserves the "XForms inside" and  
> the market awareness we have managed to raise, yet allows us to  
> project broader applicability.
>
> Combining with a twist on a suggestion from Rafael, maybe something  
> like
>
> XForms 1.1: Rich XML Applications, or perhaps Dynamic XML Applications
>
> This leads to RXML applications developers (or DXML).
>
> Not sure if that has enough coolness factor, but gut feel is that it  
> piques the interest more than "backplane", which is a good technical  
> name but seems to rate about the same as "form" on the good name  
> scale.
>
> <tongue-in-cheek>Maybe we should name it after some kind of  
> delightful beverage</tongue-in-cheek>
>
> Well, maybe only half a tongue because this is essentially Joern's  
> point with codenames like Longhorn and Tiger or even, frankly,  
> AJAX.  Being an AJAX programmer sounds heroic; it's downside is that  
> it needs a hero to keep it together.  We could use a good dose of  
> Greek mythology.  Achilles? Unbeatable... except for that heel.   
> Phoenix? Powerful rising raptor image, but comes out of a crash and  
> burn scenario.  Drats.  Walden.  Hmm. Calm and idyllic, yet somewhat  
> connected to civil disobedience.  Maybe a bit Cambridge though.  A  
> precious stone name?  The red one is already taken, the name of the  
> green one has too many syllables and the associated city is just too  
> far from Kansas (and hence New Jersey).  Sapphire?   Got the right  
> number of syllables, looks blue, seems pure.  Could work.  Other  
> ideas?
>
> Our claim to fame seems to be that, years before there was a formal  
> Web 2.0, we've essentially been working on the generalization of the  
> Web 2.0 application model.  People are loving Web 2.0 because it  
> provides specific business functions like blogs and wikis that allow  
> people to collaborate on content without needing a pile of Java  
> programmers kicking around.  The declarative and data-focused  
> aspects of XForms allow us to let the people build up collaboration  
> functions without needing a pile of Java programmer in the middle.
>
> How do we capture this in a name?  I agree with Mark (and  
> Shakespeare) that a rose is still a rose no matter what you call it,  
> but Shakespeare was talking about a rose in the hand, whereas we  
> need something that helps people find the XForms rose in the first  
> place.  This is hard given the usual standards precedent for dull  
> technical names. We need something with flair.  And as Mark Twaine  
> once said, the difference between the right word and the almost  
> right word is like the difference between lightning and the  
> lightning bug.
>
> Gee, this seems like the most fun we've had since the announcement  
> by Yahoo!
>
> Cheers,
> 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
>
>
>
>
>
> Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer <sebastian@dreamlab.net>
> 01/25/2008 03:30 AM
>
> To
> Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@formsPlayer.com>
> cc
> Charles F Wiecha <wiecha@us.ibm.com>, John Boyer/CanWest/IBM@IBMCA,  
> new Forms WG <public-forms@w3.org>, public-forms-request@w3.org
> Subject
> Re: A rose by any other name...
>
>
>
>
>
> Maybe my previous was too long and unclear, I proposed
> an additional (sub)name for the next version number:
>
> "XForms 1.1: XYZ"
>
> Keep XForms - add something to it thats a bit broader.
>
> Names do matter, after all.
>
> - Sebastian
>
> Mark Birbeck schrieb:
> > Hello all,
> >
> > With respect to everyone on this, the 'naming' discussion always  
> seems
> > to come up in a context where people wish some 'x' was more
> > successful, and assume that it will be if they change the name.
> >
> > Yet some of the most well known items have names that by this logic
> > should simply not work; renting a DVD? Downloaded some MP3s? Does  
> your
> > computer have a 486? (Ok, that one is dated...but non-technical  
> people
> > really used to talk about having a 486.) And don't even think about
> > phones; you've surely heard people talking about getting a 6500 or a
> > 5610.
> >
> > So let's not kid ourselves that the name really means anything.  
> (Which
> > is how I've always interpreted Shakespeare's point about roses --  
> that
> > what we call something is irrelevant, it's its nature that matters.)
> >
> > But perhaps the biggest argument against a name change is the legacy
> > one. Over the last few years we've built up tutorials, samples, blog
> > posts, implementations, tools, and so on, based on the name  
> 'XForms'.
> > And we all know that recently Yahoo! announced that XForms was the
> > inspiration for the latest release of its mobile platform.
> >
> > So, just as interest is growing, do we now want to change the name?
> >
> > There are lots of things that need to be done to speed up adoption,
> > but I think the name  of the technology is the least of our  
> problems.
> >
> > Regards,
> >
> > Mark
> >
> > On 25/01/2008, Charles F Wiecha <wiecha@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> >> Well...this broader vision for XForms is certainly why I joined  
> the WG, and
> >> have been interested in the "Backplane" ideas for some time.   
> Indeed the
> >> phrase Backplane is intended to imply the broader applicability of
> >> "components" such as submission, data model, validation, MVC  
> binding and
> >> events to broader web applications -- in a variety of host  
> languages and
> >> platforms just as XForms applies to those cases as well.
> >>
> >> In my own work, apart from the WG, I've often been asked why I  
> keep so
> >> focused on "forms" when the web is so much broader.  I spend a  
> lot of
> >> effort explaining how the above ideas have incubated in forms but  
> are in
> >> fact part of the deeper web stack.  I'm getting pretty tired of  
> this and
> >> frankly it's starting to be a handicap so I'd welcome some help  
> in a name
> >> change here :}
> >>
> >> Thanks, Charlie
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>          A rose by any other name...
> >>
> >>
> >>          John Boyer
> >>                    to:
> >>                      Forms WG (new)
> >>                                                                  
> 01/24/08 07:36 PM
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>          Sent by:
> >>                public-forms-request@w3.org
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> In some ways it's too bad that the need for dynamic, interactive  
> XML
> >> applications arose first in the web forms space.
> >>
> >> One reason is that we called it XForms, and it has always been a  
> challenge
> >> to get people excited about forms.  They have too many pre- 
> conceived
> >> notions about the uses and limitations of forms technology based  
> on their
> >> prior experiences with older technologies for delivering forms.   
> Whether
> >> purely instantiated with paper, or whether it's a print and fill  
> or even a
> >> fill and print system, or an old html form, the dynamism of what  
> we do
> >> today seems to me qualitatively different than what is done with  
> those
> >> other technologies.
> >>
> >> It's a little like comparing a bicycle and a car on the basis  
> that both
> >> involve the use of wheels to get you from point A to point B.   
> Bit of a
> >> stretch, don't you think?
> >>
> >> Similarly, calling our dynamic interactive XML applications  
> "XForms"
> >> because forms collect data is also a bit of a stretch.  The word  
> "form"
> >> just doesn't evoke the full measure of business process  
> enablement of which
> >> so-called "XForms" are capable.  Whether you ascribe to the more  
> ephemeral
> >> view in which an XForm serves as the intelligent front-end face  
> of the
> >> business process, or whether you subscribe to the philosophy of the
> >> intelligent document as the fundamental unit of information  
> interchange in
> >> a business process, the simple fact remains that calling our  
> information
> >> processing assets "forms" is about as informative as trying to sell
> >> "plants" when you mean to sell roses.  The rose does smell just  
> as sweet no
> >> matter what you call it, but if you call it a plant, you won't  
> attract as
> >> many customers.
> >>
> >> So, isn't it time for the name XForms (plant) to be changed to  
> something
> >> more reflective of what XForms is (a rose)?
> >>
> >> 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
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
>
>
>
>
>
> -- 
>   Mark Birbeck, formsPlayer
>
>   mark.birbeck@formsPlayer.com | +44 (0) 20 7689 9232
>   http://www.formsPlayer.com | http://internet-apps.blogspot.com
>
>   standards. innovation.

--
Orbeon Forms - Web Forms for the Enterprise Done the Right Way
http://www.orbeon.com/
Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 19:46:07 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 1 October 2013 22:06:46 UTC