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

From: Jason Eacott <jeacott@hardlight.com.au>
Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2005 10:24:54 +1030
To: "T. V. Raman" <tvraman@us.ibm.com>
Cc: www-forms@w3.org
Message-ID: <4232C376.3768.846BF6B@localhost>

I want to see a spec for X-forms that's complete enough that 99% of
tasks can be performed WITHOUT script, since it seems unlikely that any Xforms engine in the future 
will possibly be able to make sense of all the script that could end up as part of an x-form. by that I 
mean that a browser based implementation of xforms is unlikely to read and understand script 
targeted at an open office document for example, or some other-modal variety of renderer.
if this isnt the case then the second you use script you are no longer x-platform compatible. even 
relying on css (which lots of xforms I have seen seem to do) will only work in css capable browsers, 
so the embedding of an Xform inside something like Xhtml will only get you as far as Xhtml 
compatibility at best. so If you want a truly x-platform x-modal xform (this gets a bit weird since i 
understand here that the x-form itself is wrapped up in other markup) you need to embed it in some 
non-specific xml wrapper and then alter the wrapper depending on target platform(with xslt or 
something presumably). wouldn't it have been better to just bundle up an xform as a discrete unit the 
could reliably be sent to any device, independent of the wrapper you choose to surround it in? after i 
don't think there is any guarantee that just because some device can render an x-form that it can also 
read xhtml? so there is always a chance that the behavior of such a device could be to just ignore any 
markup it didn't understand, including anything inside it. this is pure specultaion but I hope you see 
where I'm going with it.


Date sent:      	Fri, 11 Mar 2005 14:59:26 -0800
To:             	andyh@agaricus.co.uk
Copies to:      	www-forms@w3.org
Send reply to:  	tvraman@almaden.ibm.com
From:           	"T. V. Raman" <tvraman@us.ibm.com>
Subject:        	Re: XForms Myths Exposed - By Ian Hixie (Opera)
Forwarded by:   	www-forms@w3.org
Date forwarded: 	Fri, 11 Mar 2005 22:59:47 +0000

> 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
> Phone:        1 (408) 927 2608   T-Line 457-2608
> Fax:        1 (408) 927 3012     Cell: 1 650 799 5724
> Email:        tvraman@us.ibm.com
> WWW:      http://almaden.ibm.com/u/tvraman      (google:raman+labrador)
> AIM:      emacspeak
> GPG:          http://www.almaden.ibm.com/cs/people/tvraman/raman-almaden.asc
> Snail:        IBM Almaden Research Center,
>               650 Harry Road
>               San Jose 95120
Received on Friday, 11 March 2005 23:59:53 UTC

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