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Re: [Xsltforms-support] Is XForms a failure to learn from?

From: Jarosław Kowalewski <jaroslaw.kowalewski@students.waw.pl>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2014 15:49:35 +0200
Message-ID: <CAHFpwcWVOKzi81kf08c98d6pyfA4FkmnCZzEOdm8=7vZB=phSg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Stephen Cameron <steve.cameron.62@gmail.com>
Cc: marcelo alfaro <cmalfaro@gmail.com>, Forms WG <public-forms@w3.org>, "xsltforms-support@lists.sourceforge.net" <Xsltforms-support@lists.sourceforge.net>, "public-xformsusers@w3.org" <public-xformsusers@w3.org>
I active use xforms technology since 2008 and I want to share my point of view.

Xforms form for me is very very powerful technology for building big
forms with complicated logic. Please refer e.g. to EU Commission
e-forms like http://erasmus-plus.ro/erasmus-plus-eforms-application-guide/.

Similar forms I and my coullegues implemented in xforms. And that's
work currently only in FF3.6 with xforms plugin:/

If you want to see how it works feel free to create account and after
login choose e.g.  "The scolarship and training found" and then
"Application forms". https://online.frse.org.pl.

For what this introduction?

As I was started to develope my first xforms I was suprised how easy
it is. But it was only first impression, because I met a lot of
problems and low productivity in developing, chaning and debuging:

1. you have to write xml (main instance, origin instance, other
instances if necessary), xsd, xforms (and as in my case latex print
tamplate too)  file separatly.
2. if you want change structure of xml (e.g. rename some nodes) you
must change manually xsd, xfoms and latex file too. You must update
all  binds and fields
3. You cannot reuse fragments of this files in another context becouse
you must do the same as in point 2.
4. If you want to add some specific constuction e.g. repeat list that
show only a few fileds on the list e.g. name and surname but you want
add subform to edit more details  each time you must write it again
and again. Please imagine that in one form you have 20-30 of such
5. and a lot of other problems

All this above is time consuming and causes many errors.

So taking into account our problems we developed own framework that
solved almost all problems: reusable code, easy in maintain, etc.,

If anyone is intrested in details I can prepare some complex examples.
In attachment I added some code that is transformed via xslt to
xforms, xml, xsd and latex template. The main features are: xpath
independent bindings, field definition contains control type, label,
nodename, xsd type, size in grid layout online and independent size in
grid layout in latex,  bind element, hint element. In last five years
we build based on that framework more than 2000 diffrent forms.

I think about publishing it on SF.

Stephen Cameron said about AngularJS. I have attempted to implement
xforms in AngularJS
becouse of similarities. But AngularJS forms are quite poor in data
binding. As I know exist only simple
libraries that implement jsonpath
(https://code.google.com/p/json-path/) < xpath 1.0.
Xpath is the best and easiest way to go through data tree.

Xforms is currently the best specification for big forms, but
difficult to maintain. Xfomrs is a bed solution for small simple
forms. Better use pure js or AnlugarJS.

All this solutions according to me need framework and xforms needs
client side implementation! The one last but promissing is XSLTForms.

Jaroslaw Kowalewski

Received on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 17:18:19 UTC

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