Enhancements to Forms - another loss??

Simon Cox (simon@ned.dem.csiro.au)
Tue, 11 Feb 1997 10:12:39 -0500

Message-ID: <33008C66.2C7C@ned.dem.csiro.au>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 10:12:39 -0500
From: Simon Cox <simon@ned.dem.csiro.au>
To: www-html@w3.org
Subject: Enhancements to Forms - another loss??

I recall back around the time of HTML 3.0 there was some 
discussion of enhancing the FORM interface.  Has this now 
been completely abandoned?  Is Java/applets the culprit?  
If so, then it would be a great shame.  From some experience 
programming server side applications using forms/cgi I feel 
that this method still has a lot of legs, given a few generic 
enhancements to forms.  And it looks like there are a 
lot of others out there that could use some help.  
In particular I'm thinking of 

1.  cascading/nested/pull-right menus - to handle those 
long lists of choices in a more structured way;

2.  sliders and dials - to allow selection of a numeric value 
from a range;  

3.  multi-click imagemaps - to allow selection of a line or 
area as well as points;  

[4.  some client-side validity testing?  maybe less immediate, 
but ...]

In the current w3c statement of plans there is reference to the 
intention to bring the forms interface up to generic dbms form 
standards, but I guess there has not been much push in this direction.  
The html-forms syntax is a reasonable GUI builder which can 
be more easily built in to documents than applets, should be 
easily supportable by the browsers.  If these enhancements are 
not made part of the standard, then I see them being repeatedly 
implemented anyway by applet authors, so why not hand it to the 

I'm mindful of Dan's admonition to back up this kind of 
proposal with formal Internat Drafts or DTD's, and I might 
be interested in cutting my teeth on such a project, but 
first I'd like to gauge interest.  

I've tried to check in the archives for discussion on this issue, 
but the web version seems to stop about a year ago, and the list 
version is fairly impenetrable (to me).  I used to subscribe to 
the digest version of this list but that also died.  I've also 
tried posting to comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html but there 
is so much noise on that group that it is difficult to get a 
discussion like this started - and maybe its the wrong forum anyway.  
Of course, maybe there just isn't any real interest in this out there!?
Dr Simon Cox - Australian Geodynamics Cooperative Research Centre
CSIRO Exploration & Mining, PO Box 437, Nedlands, WA 6009 Australia
T:  +61 9 389 8421   F:  +61 9 389 1906   simon@ned.dem.csiro.au