W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-forms@w3.org > May 2000

RE: Standards

From: Rob McDougall <RMcDouga@JetForm.com>
Date: Wed, 10 May 2000 16:13:14 -0400
Message-ID: <311000B0752ED211B61700805F0D6B0901839379@OTTMAIL3>
To: "'Scott, Randall'" <scottrc@hqlee.deca.mil>
Cc: "XForms (E-mail)" <www-forms@w3.org>
I can sympathize.  There are lots of people who are in the same boat.  Both
the US and Canadian governments have had initiatives at various times to try
and produce such a beast.  I believe the problem is forms are like the
proverbial still waters that run very deep.  On the surface one form looks
very similar to the next, but underneath they do very complex things like
talk to web servers, initiate workflows, interact with corporate database
systems, etc.  Like the three blind men examining an elephant, everyone has
their own simplified view of what forms are.  No one view is completely
right because forms behaviour, in all its different aspects, is too big a
subject to codify in anything but a long term effort.
This is not to say that good strides are not being made today.  I feel that
XForms will be a good start.  It's a codification of forms for the web.  As
the power of the web grows, so will XForms.  I feel that XFA and XFDL are
good steps forward.  These XML grammars are open formats and, in theory, one
should be able to transform one into the other using tools like XSLT.  If
someone wanted to go to the effort, one could create open applications using
any of these formats.
I think that things are moving in the direction you want, but they're still
a ways off :(.  A journey of a thousand steps, so to speak ...

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott, Randall [mailto:scottrc@hqlee.deca.mil]
Sent: May 10, 2000 3:19 PM
To: 'Rob McDougall'
Cc: XForms (E-mail)
Subject: RE: Standards

  Thanks for your response. Yes, I guess that does answer my question.
Improving the HTML experience using the nice features of XML is a good idea
and I hope for great success in all the efforts. 
  I guess I was also hoping that XForms would be a good vehicle to help many
(and sometimes I think the government is probably in need most) to reach the
Paperwork Elimination Act (PEA). InternetForms and FormFlow (I'm sure there
are others) currently look like some pretty good potential avenues for PEA,
but I am somewhat pessimistic about the long term solution. Right now it has
been quite a pain to mix the results of products like Word, Word Perfect,
DisplayWriter, and AMI Pro. In fact many web sites currently offer access to
their Forms in several Flavors (i.e., PDF, PDF-F, JetForm, InForm, etc.).
Even if we could solve long term storage technology migration challenges,
could we solve the translation challenges say 1000 years away (kind of
reminds me of the Pyramids). Anyway, it sure would be nice if FormFlow could
be used to read and execute an XML Form created in InternetForms or XForms
(and visa versa); and, even via Netscape on a Sparc Workstation and not just
Internet Explorer on a Microsoft Platform. 
  Incidentally, the Defense Commissary Agency has somewhat of a unique
government function, as compared to many other government offices, in that
they do probably just as much private sector type paperwork activity (need
for e-Commerce?) as they do government type paperwork activity. I'm hoping
great strides in XML and and non-proprietary Standards will help us get

-----Original Message-----
From: Rob McDougall [mailto:RMcDouga@JetForm.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 10, 2000 2:04 PM
To: 'Scott, Randall'; XForms (E-mail)
Subject: RE: Standards

XForms' primary goal is to enhance the functionality of today's user of HTML
forms on the web. This means that it's primary target is the "fill"
experience. In the requirements document we list as future goals things like
Digital Signatures and Paper enhancements. Both XFDL and XFA contain
functionality that is not going to be in XForms for some time, if ever. As
such, you won't get the "normalized XML Form Standard" that you are looking
for from XForms, but you will get an ever richer experience with web forms.
The XForms functionality may grow over time to encompass all the things
listed on the web page and more, but not in the initial version. All the
other Forms technologies will interoperate in various ways with XForms.

As far as digital signatures goes, that won't be in version 1.0, but I
expect it will be a high priority in the subsequent version. Digital
Signatures will be based on the W3C Dsig's work which includes forms
vendors, PKI vendors and biometric technology vendors. 

Does this answer your questions?

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott, Randall [mailto:scottrc@hqlee.deca.mil]
Sent: May 9, 2000 2:19 PM
To: XForms (E-mail)
Subject: Standards

Maybe some dumb questions, but being new to this forum I would like to know
if XForms will be trying to normalize the standards embodied in XFDL (from
PureEdge) and XFA from (from JetForms) [and any other XML Forms standards]
submitted to W3C for consideration, endorsement, and/or approval? My
particular interests are: 
  1. Will we get to a normalized XML Form Standard (is that a desire of
XForms), and 
  2. If so, will the XForms XML Form Standard pursue open-ended Digital
Signature and Biometric technology standards [hopefully non-proprietary
standards], that shows plausible possibilities of achieving or assisting in
persistent legal binding paperwork elimination and e-Commerce.
Any help out there on these?

Randall Scott
Defense Commissary Agency

(image/gif attachment: TechTool.gif)

Received on Wednesday, 10 May 2000 16:14:54 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 21:36:03 UTC