Re: A rose by any other name...

Well...this broader vision for XForms is certainly why I joined the WG, and
have been interested in the "Backplane" ideas for some time.  Indeed the
phrase Backplane is intended to imply the broader applicability of
"components" such as submission, data model, validation, MVC binding and
events to broader web applications -- in a variety of host languages and
platforms just as XForms applies to those cases as well.

In my own work, apart from the WG, I've often been asked why I keep so
focused on "forms" when the web is so much broader.  I spend a lot of
effort explaining how the above ideas have incubated in forms but are in
fact part of the deeper web stack.  I'm getting pretty tired of this and
frankly it's starting to be a handicap so I'd welcome some help in a name
change here :}

Thanks, Charlie

         A rose by any other name...                                              
         John Boyer                                                               
                     Forms WG (new)                                               
                                                                01/24/08 07:36 PM 
         Sent by:                                                                 

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

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Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 13:23:26 UTC