W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-forms@w3.org > September 2001

XFoms "suspend and resume" support

From: CULANG Stéphane <Stephane.CULANG@France-boissons.fr>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 16:15:48 +0200
Message-ID: <32f0e3c5d3ebf18948b6dc3adc2636d73bab4c30@>
To: www-forms@w3.org

Xforms should not get restricted to online use.

I agree that many browsers like mobile phones cannot store local information
but it is also true that most people using computers, laptops or pdas cannot
remain online forever to do their work. ISDN, ADSL or cable connexions are
still a dream for most people in the world and will remain so for a long
time. Mobile internet on wireless devices with decent bandwith is still
years away, mostly due to price considerations. 

Limiting Xform to online use also limits the scope of its application. As
soon as a complex form requires a substantial amount of time to complete,
you loose many benefits of the Xform technology. For instance, an example of
suspend usage depicted in some article was taxpaying forms. Filling one of
these online, connected with a connexion you pay according to the time it
lasts may cost close to the calculated tax amount :-).

The idea of a document you can keep with you indefinitly and submit when its
done and/or when you have access to a network POP was so elegant and so
close to real world needs that I dont easily understand why it's about to be
droped after the w3c has gone so far with it's superb XML specification and
associated standards.

I agree about the security issues associated with online suspended forms.
Some of them seem impossible to achieve. For instance, would it be possible
to deny access to a suspended form saved online, to any user except the one
that suspended it ? How the form is supposed to locate the suspended
instance instead of the original unmodified one that any "new" user would
load. When resuming the form, how would the specific instance associated to
a user session get resumed ?

It should be much easier to implement a local temporary storage because you
can always secure a single workstation and its file system, the xform would
always open the same instance file in its original or suspended state.

For our corporate use, we'll want to store xfoms and xml data on laptops for
our salesmen to carry to their clients store and take orders. Most of their
work is done disconnected so, if the functionnality is actually dropped, I
think we'll have to implement some extra software such as a local http
server with some CGI script to handle a POST of the XML instance data and
save it locally ... 


Stéphane Culang
Architecte technique - ORVIS
Received on Friday, 21 September 2001 10:18:24 UTC

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