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RE: XML Forms and XForms

From: Jouni Heikniemi <jth@dns.mikrobitti.fi>
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 09:16:16 +0200 (EET)
To: www-forms@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.NEB.4.21.0110300841110.28054-100000@dns.mikrobitti.fi>
Micah,

thanks for your comments. Taking into account the innate dullness of the
subject, this is proving to be surprisingly interesting. ;-)

On Mon, 29 Oct 2001, Micah Dubinko wrote:
> [Note that we are keeping 'xform' as a namespace prefix--as the shortest
> abbreviated, non-ambiguous, still-readable character sequence.]

Many points in your message made sense, but this is something I have
trouble digesting. As I pointed out in a separate thread couple of days
ago, the current namespace prefix promotes the use of XForm as a singular,
possibly undefined term.

Since "xforms" isn't significantly longer than "xform", I think it would
be proper to use "xforms" as the namespace prefix. There are no real
drawbacks (aside of the one letter per reference size increase), but the
spec will be clearer. As I see it, xforms:model (for example) can be read
out just like that: "XForms model", while xform:model doesn't have such a
natural connection to the spec. Why introduce yet another string of
characters _for a technical purpose_, when you've already got
"XForms"? The one character cannot be the reason, can it?

IMO, the above applies whether or not the singular term XForm will be in
use as I wrote yesterday.

> P.P.S. Jouni's blessed crystal ball of future language use prediction (tm)
> is perhaps right. In everyday, non-technical use, the term "XForm" might
> take hold. But in a technical specification, or any of the associated 3rd
> party tutorials/articles/books, accuracy trumps speculation, IMHO. :-)

As for the need of accuracy, I agree. As said already yesterday, the spec
particularly doesn't have a very grand need of a new term such as
"XForm", albeit some sentences could use a more flexible wording.

But as for the 3rd party stuff... Whether or not accuracy is the prime
concern depends heavily on the target audience. It is important for the
technically exact terminology to exist and be available for implementers,
but what will make XForms popular is the mass of web developers. I don't
believe that a rigid separation of all the layers is necessary for them.
Thus I believe in the birth of more inaccurate - and less cumbersome -
collective terms. It's only a question of who - if anyone - will define
them.

Have to admit, my views are probably biased by the fact that the magazine
I work for has a readership of 300,000 home users, and thus I'm used to
popularizing technical concepts maybe even a bit too far (at least for
this forum). The specs should be accurate, what I'm talking about is the
alternative for the less XForms-specific technical discussion on web
forms. 

As it is, I still don't agree with that editor's note stating that XForm
is wrong. ;--) And, I might add, a more abstract meaning for a term (such
as "XForm" including the XHTML/CSS/whatever framework involved in
designing and implementing a form) doesn't necessary reduce its usefulness
even in a technically accurate specification. Abstraction has its uses, as
you pointed out in your example about forms and fields, yet I admit that
the definitive wording has to be chosen exceptionally carefully.


Regards,

Jouni
Received on Tuesday, 30 October 2001 02:16:27 GMT

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