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Re: W3C XForms: Rest In Peace

From: Michael N. Lipp <mnl@mnl.de>
Date: Sun, 08 Jun 2003 12:43:20 +0200
Message-ID: <3EE31348.4090506@mnl.de>
To: Gerald Bauer <luxorxul@yahoo.ca>
Cc: www-forms@w3.org


English not being my native language, I may have missed some hidden 
message in your mail or totally missed the point of the discussion in 
this thread but...

I have just taken a look at xul.sf.net. I think the goal of the XUL 
projects differs from XForms' goal. The XUL projects offer nice 
possibilities to create "traditional" (as we know them from heavy weight 
clients) computer user interfaces with menu bars, trees, registers etc.

I have always though of good web applications resp. web application 
dialogs as interactive pages. This means that input elements should 
nicely integrate in a representation that is mainly oriented towards 
displaying a page with a good layout. In my experience, web applications 
are easy to use and find wide user acceptance if they remind people of 
the paper forms they are accustomed to and offer some additional benefit 
or convenience.

Of course, you can approach this goal starting with a GUI toolkit and 
try to build a nice dialog looking like a page. But somehow this doesn't 
really sound good. If GUI toolkits had been invented to make nice 
looking pages, we wouldn't have so many around with all these different 
looks and feels (or we would have much more around and the possibility 
to use them together in an applictaion as appropriate). On the other 
hand side, you can make nice looking pages with (X)HTML and all you need 
is that some elements within those pages can act as input elements like 
fields, text areas or choices.

Note that with this line of thinking you will never miss the possibility 
to create something like menubars. Menubars come from computer 
applications, not from paper based user interfaces. Just consider what 
well made "interactive" books ("... if you think this answer is correct, 
continue on page 42, else continue on page 78") can achieve and project 
this to web interfaces

I think, XForms is a modern approach to provide the input elements for a 
page oriented user experience with some basic client side functionality 
and an XML based initialize/submit interface. As an add on to XHTML or 
in a content/layout seperating environment like Cocoon, it is easy to 
use for web designers that are familiar with (X)HTML (given a good 
tutorial). Correct me if I'm wrong, but I found no support for this goal 
in the XUL projects - embedding ActiveX controls or applets in a page is 
not a real alternative in my point of view.

  - Michael

PS: I agree with anybody who claims that the XForms project has not done 
itself a favour by choosing the style it has chosen for the 
specification. Apart from those OSI X.400 specifications, I have rarely 
in my professional live encountered such a hard to start with 
specification and the large number of fundamental bugs in the published 
test cases speaks for itself.

Gerald Bauer wrote:
>   I guess the silence following my last mail titled
> "XUL Alliance Site Goes Live - New XML UI Standards
> Body Emerging?" speaks for itself.
>   That I'm not alone, may I quote Brendan Eich
> (Mozilla Roadmap Author) from his slashdot post:
> <quote>
> XUL with some form-submission smarts, but using
> XML-RPC, SOAP, WSDL, or whatever's appropriate, should
> become the basis for web applications. XUL widgets
> should form the kernel of a pragmatic XForms
> implementation. 
> </quote>
>   Any thoughts?
>   - Gerald
> ______________________________________________________________________ 
> Post your free ad now! http://personals.yahoo.ca
Received on Sunday, 8 June 2003 13:18:35 UTC

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