Re: A rose by any other name...


I hear you, but I don't agree that a change is desirable.

I know it's been tempting to this group to push XForms as a generic  
web application technology. We all know that XForms can be used to  
build pretty much any type of user interface, not only form-centric  

However, by renouncing the focus on forms, you set yourself up against  
about 2 million web application technologies available out there.  
XForms-under-a-new-name will be lost in the noise, lost in a field  
with another 2 million roses ;-)

If you keep the focus on forms, you compete with almost no other  
technology, as XForms is pretty much the only visible standard for  
forms out there (maybe XFDL could be another example, but face it it's  
IBM only ;-). In other words, XForms as a forms technology is  
extremely visible.

So you may think that XForms-under-a-new-name will get you more  
attention, but you may in fact obtain the opposite result.

We at Orbeon believe that XForms has its best chance as a technology  
to build forms, however boring that may sound. This belief is an  
educated one: we have almost no demand for a generic UI technology  
from users, but we see very strong demand from people trying  
specifically to solve form-related issues. This is partly what lead us  
to rename our product "Orbeon Forms" about a year ago.


On Jan 24, 2008, at 4:35 PM, John Boyer wrote:

> 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:
> Blog:
> Blog RSS feed:

Orbeon Forms - Web Forms for the Enterprise Done the Right Way

Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 01:10:23 UTC