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Re: HTML forms, XForms, Web Forms - which and how much?

From: Preston L. Bannister <preston@bannister.us>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 22:35:42 -0700
Message-ID: <7e91ba7e0705012235x401f0f3dif7db8f8c28790d3e@mail.gmail.com>
To: "John Boyer" <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
Cc: "James Graham" <jg307@cam.ac.uk>, "Daniel Glazman" <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>, "Dave Raggett" <dsr@w3.org>, "Maciej Stachowiak" <mjs@apple.com>, public-html@w3.org
On 5/1/07, John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com> wrote:

> A point I made already on this list is that XForms blends imperative and
> declarative constructs.
> The question is not whether declarative is better than imperative.  As
> your own research has shown,
> a blend is better.
> The problem is that some folks on this list want proof about why there
> should be *any* declarative
> expressions available.  Why not just do everything with script?
> In Fred Brookes' book, the Mythical Man Month, research is cited to
> indicate that code
> complexity rises at a superlinear rate relative to the number of lines of
> code, on the order
> of L^1.5 where L is the number of source lines of code.  This means that
> code which is 10 times
> longer is roughly 30 times harder to maintain.


   - Assume that other folk have read and understood Brooke's book.
   - Assume others have understood and practiced declarative programming.
   - Now assume some of those folk may have different opinions than you
   have expressed.

XForms (or something like it) could be implemented as a Javascript library,
as server-side code, as a browser plug-in, or embedded in the standard
browser - or as a mix of any of those possibilities.  XForms is a
domain-specific language (I trust you are familiar with this concept?) and
as such should prove very suitable for some applications, and less suitable
for others.

This leads us to a set of alternatives.

   - Should XForms implementations be separate from the browser (as at
   - Should HTML standard forms be extended - perhaps to aid XForms
   - Should XForms be incorporated into all future browsers?

Seems there are a few different viewpoints on this question. :)

Personally, and am not too fond of the notion of mixing behavior with HTML.
Maybe I don't care, since if XForms is incorporated into the browser
implementations, I do not have to use it.  On the other hand, this puts a
long-term burden on the browser implementors.  Perhaps in the long term
XForms becomes a largely disused or niche-specific technology.  In that case
we are probably better off leaving XForms implementations outside the
browsers, instead of bulking up the browsers and burdened the implementors.

Seems we need to hash out some sort of consensus on this topic.
Received on Wednesday, 2 May 2007 05:35:45 UTC

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