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Re: [XForms] Re: Will Internet Explorer support XForms

From: <AndrewWatt2001@aol.com>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 07:27:52 EDT
Message-ID: <1ec.1115f469.2cb7f1b8@aol.com>
To: MSeaborne@origoservices.com
Cc: www-forms@w3.org, XForms@yahoogroups.com

I notice that you didn't respond to my point:

>How does the UK insurance industry propose to handle the types of legal 
issue which >John Messing mentioned in the "How secure is XForms?" thread?

Am I correct in assuming that your old system didn't cover that nor does the 
new? Do legal requirements in the UK and USA differ?

In a message dated 10/10/2003 11:58:48 GMT Daylight Time, 
MSeaborne@origoservices.com writes:

> Andrew,
> >>I think whatever the differences in functionality are between 
> >>InfoPath and XForms, for many organisations it all boils 
> >>down to who owns the underlying technology. The industry I work for
> >>(UK Life Insurance) already has its own forms markup language widely >>
> deployed, using both client rendering software specific to the 
> >>language, and server-side transforms to HTML. This is working today, >>and 
> has been for several years. We operate in a world where a form
> >>may be deployed in many different ways, and by organisations other >>than 
> the form originator.
> >>Such an inter-organisational infrastructure is only viable if every
> >>one adopts the same underlying forms technology. 
> >Why?
> E.g. A form will be authored by company X, and perhaps deployed by them on 
> one or two of their own channels. The form will also be deployed by three 
> third parties for use by potentially thousands of end users, some of whom work in 
> organisation with a sophisticated IT infrastructure, while others have a 
> telephone and fax machine. The form cannot be reauthored in any way.

Um .... not being facetious ... but how do you get the XML instance data down 
the phone line or in the fax? It seems to me that some form (forgive the pun) 
of refactoring is going on anyway. So, in principle, why not InfoPath too?

> Key points are:
> 1) The form author does not know how the form is to be deployed at authoring 
> time
> 2) Many organisations will host the same form, providing access to end users 
> with many different delivery requirments.

Ah ... but what is a "form"? It's a serious question. One the XForms WG 
ducked ... shame on them! :) ... and leaves terminology in a flakey state.

If you have a set of form controls on an electronic XForms form and have a 
set of similar looking (but non-functioning) widgets on a paper form is that the 
"same form"? Or not? It isn't obvious to me. Is the paper form an XForms 

I must make a point of seeing how T V Raman handles the issue of "what is a 
form?" in his book as I continue reading it. I guess the overview format allows 
avoidance of practical little issues like that. "Form" doesn't make it in the 

> It turned out to be cheaper and more practical to produce our own forms 
> markup language than to leave all form generators and users to do their own 
> thing.
> >>XForms is only an option because it is an open standard, InfoPath, 
> >>and other competing forms technologies, are not because they are
> >>proprietary. It really is that simple. 
> >Are you sure?
> Yes.

I am not convinced yet. :)

> >Just curious, but how is a server to tell the difference between an 
> >XML instance document submitted by InfoPath and one submitted from an >
> XForms client?
> For us XForms addresses forms/business rules deployment across organisations 
> that have contractually regulated relationships. 

OK. But that doesn't answer my question.

> >I haven't seen the Adobe XML/PDF technology yet but if it submits an >
> identical XML instance document why should that automatically fail to >meet your 
> needs?
> Hopefully that should be clear from comments above.

No. It isn't clear to me.

> >Does your industry's application require that the visible "form" of 
> >the form is common? Or that the XML data submitted is?
> Both or either depending on circumstances. 

So if InfoPath could submit identical to XForms that would be ok in some 

Then there is the matter of the business rules underlying a form.
What do you mean by business rules in this context?

I am challenging your proposition of this type of decision being simple and 
the assertion that "standards" are "all there is to it". I simply am not 
convinced that it is "that simple".

The assessment of your needs is yours and the decision on a chosen solution 
likewise. I do find it difficult to see how this is as simple as you indicate.

Andrew Watt
Received on Friday, 10 October 2003 07:31:03 UTC

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