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Re: InfoPath and XForms - initial thoughts

From: Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer <schnitz@mozquito.com>
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 2003 13:41:24 +0200
Message-ID: <00e101c307fa$f0da90a0$fc45a8c0@c020>
To: <AndrewWatt2001@aol.com>, <www-forms@w3.org>

I really enjoyed reading your analysis. Thanks  - Sebastian

----- Original Message -----
From: <AndrewWatt2001@aol.com>
To: <XForms@yahoogroups.com>; <www-forms@w3.org>
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2003 12:34 PM
Subject: InfoPath and XForms - initial thoughts


>
> I thought that some on list might be interested in my initial impressions
of
> Microsoft's InfoPath beta and some aspects of how it relates to the
dynamic
> XML-Forms space generally and XForms in particular.
>
> Basically, looking at InfoPath as a forms design tool, I am very
impressed.
> It just seems very nicely put together and in my initial exploration, at
> least, it does the simple things simply. More than once I had the words
> "really nice touch" echoing through my brain.
>
> InfoPath is a proprietary client. It reminds me of a combination of Lotus
> Notes and Domino Designer. And, clearly, aims to address a similar problem
> space - that of collecting business data and squirting it to a back-end.
>
> By squirting XML to the back-end InfoPath (as will XForms) open up new
> possibilities for data re-use. If only it were that simple! :)
>
> The end-user will (mostly) use InfoPath as a forms-filling tool. The
> designer/developer will design the form and code the back-end, as
necessary.
> It surprises me slightly that Microsoft didn't split InfoPath in a way
> similar to the way Lotus/IBM split Notes and Domino Designer. It seems to
me
> that many who use InfoPath to fill in forms will never seriously use
InfoPath
> to design/create/code forms. Two uses -> two clients, was my thought.
>
> InfoPath will, not surprisingly, likely work best with Microsoft data
sources
> and servers. But the scripting facility provides scope to go beyond that.
For
> many uses the scripting facility will be used extensively, I suspect.
>
> As I explored forms design with InfoPath I salivated thinking of how a
tool
> as nice as this could be used with XForms. The mental models are just so
> similar, or so it seemed to me.
>
> <aside>
> XForms design tool makers, if you have a design tool as good as InfoPath
> initially looks to be please get in touch. :)
> </aside>
>
> One thing that struck me was that the model that InfoPath is using might
very
> readily be snapped out and XForms slotted in. Of course the commercial
> incentives might work in the opposite direction.
>
> I see the arrival of InfoPath as a boost to the dynamic XML Forms space.
>
> InfoPath is a competitor, at least in version 1.0, to XForms in the
off-Web
> space. InfoPath forms can't be filled in using a browser.
>
> The battle between a paid-for InfoPath client and a range of in-browser
free
> XForms clients and a range of paid-for XForms clients looks to be a space
to
> watch closely. Will a proprietary client add enough business value to
justify
> its price?
>
> But I see the impending arrival of InfoPath (not the beta) as being a
useful
> boost for interest in XForms. InfoPath and XForms, at least seen from my
> viewpoint, address the same business problem - how to capture business
data
> efficiently in a way which facilitates relevant re-use of data.
>
> I suspect there is a lot more thinking to be done before many aspects of
that
> problem will be cracked, but the emergence of InfoPath and XForms will
> certainly be focussing the mind of executives on how they can achieve real
> business benefits.
>
> Dynamic XML-based forms is going to be a very, very interesting space over
> the next few years.
>
> Any comments/rebuttals/agreements from anyone else who has played with
both
> technologies would be welcome.
>
> Andrew Watt
>
Received on Monday, 21 April 2003 07:42:08 GMT

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