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Re: XForms Myths Exposed - By Ian Hixie (Opera)

From: T. V. Raman <tvraman@us.ibm.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 14:59:26 -0800
Message-ID: <16946.8910.289559.868768@bubbles.almaden.ibm.com>
To: andyh@agaricus.co.uk
Cc: www-forms@w3.org


As a follow-up to all that has been said here:


The Web Forms fans'  attempt to polarize between XForms and scripting is
unfortunate --- and based on what I've heard them  say about
XForms, I'm not willing to judge whether that is a consequence of
ill-will, a specific intent to drive  a personal agenda, or
simply miscommunication. 

The XForms designers ---myself included have always motivated the
XForms design by  pointing out how things that are complex  to do
on the legacy HTML4 scripting Web become dramatically easier on
the XForms + XHTML Web. However, in expressing this, and in our
focus on  XForms, we may not have communicated our position on
the role of scripting very well.

I believe that scripting played a key role on the Web during the
late 90's in helping Web authors discover the next set of things
beyond HTML4 that would like. Since the script interpreter was
built into the browser, advanced Web programmers could experiment
to their heart's' content, and what's more, even deploy the
result of their experiments to a wide audience to do real-live
usability testing. I believe this to be a first in the somewhat
fledgling field of user interface engineering.  Now that we have
done this level of experimentation, it is time for the next turn
of the crank in "democratizing the web", namely,  opening it up from
the software programmers to the document authors".  What we have
done in the XForms design starting in 2000 was to carefully
enumerate  the most common Web programming tasks for which authors
have to resort to scriptig, and built the next generation design
to obviate those explicit programming tasks.  

Now, does this obviate scriptin? No. Just as HTML4 in its time
obviated the need to write Visual Basic or C++ programs for the
simplest client/server tasks, so XForms eliminates scripting for
most commonly asked for use cases on the Web; to name a few, data
validation and dynamically growing /shrinking collections to name
but a few.

If and when we move beyond today's somewhat wasteful debate over
trying to place yesterday's technology against today's, I believe
we will have a happy web where XForms enables the Web developer
looking to get his work done quickly realize his goals, whilst
enabling the bleeding edge Web developer discover the next set of
Web needs by experimenting via scripts.

today's debate  over "I can write script, who needs a higher
level abstraction" is no different from assembly programmers in
the early days of C compilers complaining about not needing
anything more since they could write assembler well enough, thank
you very much.

-- 
Best Regards,
--raman
------------------------------------------------------------
T. V. Raman:  PhD (Cornell University)
IBM Research: Human Language Technologies
Architect:    RDC --- Conversational And Multimodal WWW Standards
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Email:        tvraman@us.ibm.com
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Received on Friday, 11 March 2005 22:59:45 GMT

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