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Re: XForms product news

From: Mark Seaborne <mseaborne@origoservices.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2004 13:56:26 +0100
To: <AndrewWatt2001@aol.com>, <www-forms@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BC99B90A.40FA%mseaborne@origoservices.com>

Hi Andrew,

Well,

I agree that Microsoft and Adobe do development tools well. However, they do
have one major drawback, and that is that they are hopeless for authoring
XForms. 

At the conference yesterday Novell (exteNd) and Focus (XFormation) demo'ed
their authoring tools, and whilst I would agree that they have ample room
for improvement, both are very usable and lay a more than acceptable
foundation for the future. There are other tools available now, like OnForm
Xpress from Black Dog, and I know of several that are being worked on.

It was also demonstrated yesterday that XForms can be authored indirectly.
An organisation in the UK (Polaris) has built a portal that uses XForms, but
all of the forms (and WSDL too incidentally) are automatically generated
from annotated schemas.

Personally I prefer a decent text editor, so I do most of my authoring in
Macs. I realise that typing code directly won't be everyone's cup to tea (or
coffee for that matter), but certainly for smaller projects, it really is no
hardship. XForms is pretty readable on the whole, after all. In fact it is
nice to use a markup that is usable without having to hide behind pretty
authoring tools all the time (alas the same cannot really be said of W3C XML
Schema).

With regards to multiple XForms processors popping up all over the place,
well I think that is important to help in the efforts to improve the XForms
spec. We will always need many processors, because there are so many
platforms that will require XForms support. I don't think it is a problem
that we have several implementations for the same platform. All of the
vendors are committed to achieving a high degree of interoperability, and
this can only be achieved if the spec is clear. We can only know if the spec
is well written, and works, if there are many implementations. If
implementations achieve the goal of interoperability, then it doesn't matter
if there are many for the same platform, if they don't, then we work on the
spec. some more, or the implementers fix bugs.

No one wants an XForms equivalent to browser wars. Many vendors are talking
to each other very openly about implementation decisions, and where
necessary these are feeding back into the development process. I think it is
fair to talk of a growing community of XForms implementers at the moment.
Obviously they are very aware that they need to compete with each other,
equally obviously, they are very aware that they must not compete over their
implementation of XForms itself.

At the moment vendors are focusing on getting XForms onto the client,
because no one will author XForms if no one can use XForms. No one will make
very much money unless XForms becomes ubiquitous. Companies like Novell and
x-port make their plug-ins free so that they can make money off the back of
related products and services.

Clearly there can, theoretically, still be rubbish implementations ;-)


All the best

Mark

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> From: <AndrewWatt2001@aol.com>
> Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2004 07:46:43 EDT
> To: <www-forms@w3.org>
> Cc: <XForms@yahoogroups.com>
> Subject: Re: XForms product news
> Resent-From: www-forms@w3.org
> Resent-Date: Wed,  7 Apr 2004 07:47:40 -0400 (EDT)
> 
> In a message dated 07/04/2004 12:11:31 GMT Daylight Time,
> mseaborne@origoservices.com writes:
> 
>> Hi,
>> 
>> As some of you know the company I work for, Origo Services (b-to-b, XML
>> standards body for UK Life Insurance) ran a one day conference on XForms
>> yesterday.
>> 
>> I just wanted to quickly mention one or two product related things were
>> mentioned that I thought might be of general interest.
>> 
>> Firstly, David Boloker, IBM's CTO of Emerging Technologies told us that IBM
>> has begun work on implementing XForms native in Mozilla (though he did say
>> that it will take a _really_ long time to do). David also mentioned that
>> they are also working on XForms  support in WebSphere Portal Server, Lotus
>> Workplace and Pervasive Computing.
>> 
>> Secondly, Novell demo'ed an IE plug-in that they are working on. No release
>> date was given, but we were told that it will be a free download when it is
>> ready.
>> 
>> All the best
>> 
>> Mark
>> 
> 
> Mark,
> 
> A practical question. Do you envisage that all XForms plugins for Internet
> Explorer will be equal?
> 
> What is the benefit for the XForms community of having several viewers? I can
> see a benefit if one particular viewer is visibly substandard but if one
> assumes the existence of a complete and conforming XForms viewer for Internet
> Explorer what is the need for another?
> 
> I can see a much more evident gap in the market for XForms design tools than
> in the market for XForms viewers. A couple of competent, usable XForms design
> tools are now around but, in my view at least, have some distance to go to
> catch up with Microsoft's InfoPath and Adobe's XML/PDF Designer as XML-based
> forms
> design tools. I am not knocking the XForms design tools but Microsoft and
> Adobe are not beginners at the job of creating good tools. And that experience
> shows.
> 
> Thoughts?
> 
> Andrew Watt
> 
Received on Wednesday, 7 April 2004 08:57:07 GMT

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