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Re: [off] Re: Forms Task Force Charter Requirement

From: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 22:47:08 -0700
To: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Cc: www-archive@w3.org, connolly@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF5B76EFC5.E3B22667-ON882572D3.001DBF68-882572D3.001FC8E6@ca.ibm.com>

I think I understand now why we have been in disagreement.
You articulated that using something (XForms) as the basis for review 
pretty much means adopting the text of the thing. And that adopting both 
WF2 and XForms as the bases for review means something along the lines of 
"concatenating" or merging them.

This is very literal and not at all what "basis for review" means to me. A 
document to be used as a basis for review is one that will be carefully 
scrutinized for content that should be used to influence the creation of 
something new.

Parts of the new thing *may* (in the RFC 2119 sense) look very similar to 
parts of the documents used as the bases of review, but they may also not. 
 In this case, using XForms and WF2 as the bases for HTML5 Forms means (to 
me) that in cases where the two took different paths to satisfy the same 
requirement, then the underlying requirements which caused the divergence 
would be examined to pick the best way forward, and if at all possible 
that way would include the ability to map the solution onto the XForms 

XForms is really a misnomer since it is a Turing-complete XML data 
processing language.  Therefore, alignment with XForms architecture is 
theoretically possible as long as the chosen solution is computable. 
However, the semantics of "alignment" to XForms includes a degree of 
practicality (e.g. superlinearity of transformation is not really 

Anyway, given that my definition has a lot to do with your #2, it seems 
that we are in violent agreement on how to proceed with XForms, quite 
apart from the difference in how we understand the words "basis for 
review" and its implications for what we think will be happening with WF2 
as a result of this questionnaire.

I think it would now be unreasonable to complain further about the author 
of our charters for any ambiguities that have arisen given how this has 
been going.

And finally, it does seem that Dan should be made aware that there is a 
fairly serious divergence of understanding on the meaning of "basis for 
review" which affects the answer to the questionnaire.

John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
STSM: 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

Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com> 
05/05/2007 05:24 PM

John Boyer/CanWest/IBM@IBMCA
Re: [off] Re: Forms Task Force Charter Requirement

On May 5, 2007, at 4:41 PM, John Boyer wrote:

> Maciej,
> mjs> You've stated that you are unwilling to drop your Formal 
> Objection
> unless you get exactly what you asked for. Since I disagree that what
> you asked for is good, if you are unwilling to budge, I don't see how
> compromise is possible. Unless you think compromise consists of me
> just agreeing with your existing position.
> I think what you want is that WF2 be used as *the* basis for 
> review.  What I want is that XForms also be
> used as *a* basis for review along with WF2.

I don't think it makes sense to adopt XForms as a basis for review 
and further editing for the following reasons:

- It is a W3C standard being actively maintained by another working 
- It defines a wholly separate language in a different namespace.
- It defines elements and attributes which, if placed in the HTML 
namespace, would be incompatible with existing HTML elements with the 
same names.

For these reasons, it cannot as-is be a basis for anything in HTML. 
It would be like adopting SVG or MathML as a basis for review - even 
if we wanted to add graphics or math capabilities to HTML, it would 
not be right to start by appending those specs to the end of the HTML 
spec. Instead, selective features would be moved and recast as parts 
of HTML, instead of separate languages.

We also know based on past experience that XForms is unacceptable to 
browser implementors. However, the XForms working group declined so 
far to take that feedback into account in the XForms spec. Adopting 
something as a starting point that is known to be unacceptable to 
many of the likely high-volume implementors seems like an 
unproductive way to proceed, as we'd have lots of work to do to 
remove the problems before we had anything publishable.

My original position was that the HTML WG should completely ignore 
XForms and the Forms Task Force. However, I have moved to a 
compromise position that I think is a reasonable middle ground, as 
described below.

Possible sound ways to proceed to include more XForms capabilities in 
HTLM Forms would be:

1) Adopt as a basis for review something based on XForms but that is 
rewritten to be a set of HTML elements, and with incompatibilities 
with classic HTML removed. However, no one has written a document 
like that, and we don't have time to wait for it to be written. So I 
don't think this is a practical option.

2) Consider XForms as a potential source of designs for additions to 
HTML Forms, without literally adopting the text. WF2 already did this 
to a large extent, but I am seeing it happening even more, such as 
with the review and likely revision of the repetition feature.

3) Define more clearly what we mean by architectural consistency, so 
regardless of the starting point we know that the endpoint satisfies 
the requirements.

I expect #2 will happen regardless of official decision by the group, 
but I would not object to making it a formal resolution of the group. 
I already proposed a way to do #3. I think these are reasonable 
middle grounds between adopting the text of XForms and completely 
ignoring it. Do you have other possible compromise proposals?

Your other Formal Objection was to Dave and Ian as editors, and your 
proposed alternative is to add someone from the Forms WG as a co- 
editor for the Forms section. I also disagree with that, as I think 
it would lead to a lot of arguing and slow down work; and because I 
think editors should be chosen based on their qualifications and 
experience, not based on being members of an external Working Group.

My proposed compromise for that is that the HTML WG and Forms WG 
together in the Forms Task Force co-edit a Forms Architectural 
Consistency Requirements document which XForms and HTML Forms both 
then satisfy. I think this will accomplish the desire for closer 
alignment with less likelihood of conflict delaying progress. Do you 
have a different proposed compromise?

> Your writings imply you believe I am being rigid and exclusionary; 
> this makes no sense given that what
> I want includes what you want and what you want excludes what I want.

I think what you want is impractical - concatenating WF2 and XForms 
does not result in a single specification that we can edit further. 
However, XForms should definitely be mined as a source for feature 
ideas that can be cast into a more HTML-friendly form.

> You can feel free to publish this to the list if you like, but it 
> seemed unimportant to bore the whole group
> with this until we can sort out between us why you and I are not 
> seeing eye to eye.

I cc'd www-archive for the record.

Received on Sunday, 6 May 2007 05:47:13 UTC

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