W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-forms@w3.org > January 2008

A rose by any other name...

From: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2008 16:35:42 -0800
To: Forms WG (new) <public-forms@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OF6939FF54.5C30D750-ON882573DA.006DAC2D-882573DB.000344DD@ca.ibm.com>
In some ways it's too bad that the need for dynamic, interactive XML 
applications arose first in the web forms space.

One reason is that we called it XForms, and it has always been a challenge 
to get people excited about forms.  They have too many pre-conceived 
notions about the uses and limitations of forms technology based on their 
prior experiences with older technologies for delivering forms.  Whether 
purely instantiated with paper, or whether it's a print and fill or even a 
fill and print system, or an old html form, the dynamism of what we do 
today seems to me qualitatively different than what is done with those 
other technologies.

It's a little like comparing a bicycle and a car on the basis that both 
involve the use of wheels to get you from point A to point B.  Bit of a 
stretch, don't you think?

Similarly, calling our dynamic interactive XML applications "XForms" 
because forms collect data is also a bit of a stretch.  The word "form" 
just doesn't evoke the full measure of business process enablement of 
which so-called "XForms" are capable.  Whether you ascribe to the more 
ephemeral view in which an XForm serves as the intelligent front-end face 
of the business process, or whether you subscribe to the philosophy of the 
intelligent document as the fundamental unit of information interchange in 
a business process, the simple fact remains that calling our information 
processing assets "forms" is about as informative as trying to sell 
"plants" when you mean to sell roses.  The rose does smell just as sweet 
no matter what you call it, but if you call it a plant, you won't attract 
as many customers. 

So, isn't it time for the name XForms (plant) to be changed to something 
more reflective of what XForms is (a rose)?

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: boyerj@ca.ibm.com 

Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer
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Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 00:35:58 UTC

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