Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed

On Apr 2, 2008, at 1:59 PM, John Boyer wrote:

> Hi Gregory and Maciej,
> To address Gregory's point first, I am trying now to reinvigorate  
> the existing TF.
> I think review of a more specific proposal such as the one I put  
> forward earlier today is appropriate for the TF, even in light of  
> the TF charter language.
> Guidelines can be fairly specific.  I think if you guys review  
> what's been done so far, it will be easy to glean some really tight  
> guidelines.
> Also, I think the guidelines can indeed suggest specific vocabulary  
> to the HTML and Forms WGs.  The TF is composed of members from both  
> groups, so those members are in fact free to say some very specific  
> things in the guidelines.  For example, specific vocabulary is  
> important to today's web authors.  This is why we chose the 'name'  
> attribute.  It's already familiar to today's HTML form authors.

I think suggestions of specific syntax would not, in fact, be valid  
"guidelines for architectural consistency". Our charter decision  
policy requires consensus and I will certainly vote "disagree" on any  
such proposal as it would be clearly out of charter for the TF.

> I agree with your position that the purpose of the TF is to do some  
> real work that does a real job of promoting new HTML forms that the  
> HTML WG can be happy with and that can be mapped to and *therefore*  
> scale up seamlessly to XForms so the Forms WG can be happy.

That is most definitely not the purpose of the TF. No where in our  
charter is there anything about defining a mapping from HTML forms  
syntax to XForms. I object to the TF doing off-charter work. I an  
uncomfortable a non-member of the TF trying to push us to do off- 
charter work.

> I also agree that telecons of the willing are important because the  
> TF has already proven that email alone does not work.
> Indeed, this topic has so far proven challenging enough that it is  
> only by a combination of email and telecon time over the last 3  
> months straight that we have managed to figure out enough of what  
> the heck is going on that we have anything reasonable to bring  
> forward.   Now that we have a "strawman" created based on the full  
> attention of the Forms WG for quite a while now, I'd really like to  
> use it to get the TF into action.

The "strawman" does not include anything that would satisfy our  
charter deliverables. So I do not see how it would aid the TF's work.  
Can you clarify to me how a proposal for a new XForms syntax helps us  
to define architectural consistency guidelines for forms languages?

> We really do need to talk to each other on a regular telecon over  
> the next three months because if we do, then we'll actually have  
> something concrete to bring forward to the general WGs.
> Finally, the only point I don't understand about the TF charter is  
> having it end in July.  Presumably, if good progress starts to  
> happen in the next three months, the TF charter can be renewed until  
> we get the right integration across the two actual working groups.   
> That's the real charter of the TF as mandated by the charters of the  
> working groups from which the TF membership is drawn.

The real charter of the TF is what I sent. It does not include any  
mention of "integration". (Nor do the HTML WG or Forms WG charters  
require integration.) I am very uncomfortable with the chair of the  
Forms WG unilaterally trying to change the Task Force charter. Perhaps  
this is something you should discuss with the chairs of the HTML WG.


> John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
> Senior Technical Staff Member
> Lotus Forms Architect and Researcher
> Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
> Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
> IBM Victoria Software Lab
> E-Mail:
> Blog:
> Blog RSS feed:
> "Gregory J. Rosmaita" <>
> 04/02/2008 01:29 PM
> To
> Maciej Stachowiak <>, John Boyer/CanWest/IBM@IBMCA
> cc
>, Forms WG <> (new)
> Subject
> Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed
> aloha, fellow forms task force members!
> maciej wrote, quote:
> > (Fellow Forms TF members, I think it's time we come up with a
> > draft of  the guidelines so we can satisfy our obligations to
> > the Forms WG and  HTML WG.)
> unquote
> i believe that it is high time that the Forms and HTML working groups
> reconsidered the joint forms task force and its goals, with an eye
> towards dissolving the old task force and its charter, and drafting a
> new one; we have been going nowhere at no particular speed, and it is
> in everyone's best interest to consider not merely "guidelines" but
> specific proposals -- as long as the HTML5 draft has a ToDo where the
> "Forms" section should be, there will be very little progress on this
> front, unless we re-examine the joint task force's purview...
> if that is not acceptable to my fellow joint task force members, then
> i suggest that the joint task force as currently constituted be
> dissolved by mutual consent of the chairs of both working groups, and
> that it be replaced with a task force that will produce more tangible
> deliverables...  when i am asked about the gaping hole in the HTML5
> draft where forms should be addressed, i'm not being queried as to
> what theoretically might one day appear there, but specifically what
> WILL appear there...
> i proposed at our first (and so far only) telecon that we examine
> dave raggett's XForms Transitional, but that suggestion went over
> like the proverbial lead ballon...  we must, as a task force and
> as members of our respective groups, reconsider our approach to
> forms in HTML5 and XHTML and either be chartered/tasked with providing
> concrete proposals, or we should remove HTML5 from TR space as a
> working draft, for how can one write a specification for the web that
> does not address forms, given the fact that i am using one to compose
> this, use them every day to post to wikis, and to conduct ecommerce?
> in my opinion, it is time for a reconsideration of the joint task
> force's function and scope, and i for one welcome john's invitation
> to examine and explore the modified XForms vocabulary about which he
> emailed us...  if i am not permitted to do so as a member of the joint
> task force, then i shall do so as an individual, but would rather do  
> so
> as a member of a strengthened and reinvigorated joint forms task force
> that has a more tangible deliverable than "guidelines" for divergent
> forms of forms...
> gregory.
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> CYNIC, n. A blackguard whose faulty vision sees things as they are,
> not as they ought to be. Hence the custom among the Scythians of
> plucking out a cynic's eyes to improve his vision.
>                         -- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
>          Gregory J. Rosmaita,
> UBATS - United Blind Advocates for Talking Signs:
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> ---------- Original Message -----------
> From: Maciej Stachowiak <>
> To: John Boyer <>
> Cc:, Forms WG <> (new)
> Sent: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 12:57:58 -0700
> Subject: Re: XForms Simplified Forms Syntax Review Needed
> > Hi John,
> >
> > Thanks for letting us know about the XForms simplified syntax
> > idea.  For reference, here is the Forms Task Force charter that
> > we  unanimously adopted (unfortunately, I am not sure our staff
> > contact  has posted it anywhere on W3C space yet):
> >
> > Our charter scope is to define "a set of guidelines for
> > architectural  consistency in form technologies". Our
> > deliverables are a W3C Note  outlining these guidelines, and
> > then reviewing the evaluations of the  HTML WG and the Forms WG
> > of their technologies with respect to these  guidelines.
> >
> > Unfortunately, we have failed to develop these guidelines so far,
> >  due  to inactivity of the TF, so we cannot provide review with
> > these  guidelines in mind. We can of course still provide
> > general technical  review as individuals, and I for one would be
> > glad to do so. However,  I would prefer to do such technical
> > review by email instead of in a  teleconference, because the
> > phone is not a good medium for considering  tricky technical issues.
> >
> > It would also be out of charter for the Forms TF to propose a
> > specific  forms syntax or semantics to the HTML WG, or to help
> > design such a  syntax. So, if you want to make such a proposal,
> >  or to request design  help, the proper forum would be the HTML WG.
> >
> > (Fellow Forms TF members, I think it's time we come up with a
> > draft of  the guidelines so we can satisfy our obligations to
> > the Forms WG and  HTML WG.)
> >
> > Best Regards,
> > Maciej
> >
> > On Apr 2, 2008, at 10:03 AM, John Boyer wrote:
> >
> > >
> > > Dear Forms Joint Task Force,
> > >
> > > I would like to invite you to have some active dialog regarding
> > > XForms simplified syntax.  The goal of this work is to streamline
> > > XForms for use by web authors, which is a topic of great  
> interest to
> > > both the Forms WG and the HTML WG.
> > >
> > > Based on an understanding of the "on the glass" style of authoring
> > > desired for HTML, the Forms WG has been tasked with figuring out a
> > > mapping that achieves that style of authorship while also  
> allowing a
> > > straightforward mapping to "canonical" XForms.  The rationale for
> > > placing this requirement on the Forms WG in its charter was to
> > > provide for web form authors a much better "on ramp" to the full
> > > power and feature set of XForms while also being able to scale  
> back
> > > as far as possible to constructs, ideas and syntax that are  
> familiar
> > > to today's HTML forms authors.
> > >
> > > The goal from the Forms WG side is to describe a vocabulary  
> which we
> > > might implement using XML but which the HTML WG could adopt into
> > > both XHTML and HTML5 to provide maximal interoperability of forms
> > > applications across the W3C stack.
> > >
> > > In looking at "canoncial" XForms and what it would imply for a
> > > scalable "on the glass" style, we have gone through a number of
> > > iterations and come up with a "strawman" view of
> > > 1) what the simplified syntax could look like
> > > 2) what changes are needed to the core XForms processing model to
> > > better support that view.
> > >
> > > This link provides a good technical explanation of this "strawman"
> > > view, and I think it is at the point where it needs more serious
> > > consideration, collaboration and discussion by the task force:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > I would actually like to set up a special telecon with the members
> > > of the task force to help kickstart the review and elaboration
> > > process.  I have a toll free line that can be used in addition to
> > > IRC.  I also have a web conference hosting capability that will
> > > hopefully work for everyone, but the main issue I have now would  
> be
> > > getting a statement of availability from all of you so we can  
> figure
> > > out a reasonable time to hold such a call.  Once we have a good
> > > time, we might be able to hold the call weekly for a number of
> > > months to get some real progress.
> > >
> > > I hope that you will be as excited as I am by the look of the
> > > simplified syntax as elaborated so far in the above "strawman"  
> view,
> > > and if so then hopefully it will inspire the elaboration work  
> needed
> > > to bring the modified XForms vocabulary into line with the full
> > > needs of XHTML and HTML5.
> > >
> > > I look forward to hearing from you soon.  Also, could you please
> > > consider adding me to the mailing list so that I can more easily  
> see
> > > the responses and help with the discussions.
> > >
> > > Thank you,
> > > John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
> > > Senior Technical Staff Member
> > > Lotus Forms Architect and Researcher
> > > Chair, W3C Forms Working Group
> > > Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
> > > IBM Victoria Software Lab
> > > E-Mail:
> > >
> > > Blog:
> > > Blog RSS feed:
> flavor=rssdw
> > >
> ------- End of Original Message -------

Received on Wednesday, 2 April 2008 21:20:55 UTC