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

Re: A rose by any other name...

From: Mark Birbeck <mark.birbeck@formsPlayer.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 14:15:16 +0000
Message-ID: <a707f8300801250615x77ca65ax851cc70eb38744d@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Charles F Wiecha" <wiecha@us.ibm.com>
Cc: "John Boyer" <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>, "new Forms WG" <public-forms@w3.org>, public-forms-request@w3.org

Hello all,

With respect to everyone on this, the 'naming' discussion always seems
to come up in a context where people wish some 'x' was more
successful, and assume that it will be if they change the name.

Yet some of the most well known items have names that by this logic
should simply not work; renting a DVD? Downloaded some MP3s? Does your
computer have a 486? (Ok, that one is dated...but non-technical people
really used to talk about having a 486.) And don't even think about
phones; you've surely heard people talking about getting a 6500 or a

So let's not kid ourselves that the name really means anything. (Which
is how I've always interpreted Shakespeare's point about roses -- that
what we call something is irrelevant, it's its nature that matters.)

But perhaps the biggest argument against a name change is the legacy
one. Over the last few years we've built up tutorials, samples, blog
posts, implementations, tools, and so on, based on the name 'XForms'.
And we all know that recently Yahoo! announced that XForms was the
inspiration for the latest release of its mobile platform.

So, just as interest is growing, do we now want to change the name?

There are lots of things that need to be done to speed up adoption,
but I think the name  of the technology is the least of our problems.



On 25/01/2008, Charles F Wiecha <wiecha@us.ibm.com> wrote:
> 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
>                    to:
>                      Forms WG (new)
>                                                                 01/24/08 07:36 PM
>          Sent by:
>                public-forms-request@w3.org
> 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
> Blog RSS feed:
> http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/rss/JohnBoyer?flavor=rssdw

  Mark Birbeck, formsPlayer

  mark.birbeck@formsPlayer.com | +44 (0) 20 7689 9232
  http://www.formsPlayer.com | http://internet-apps.blogspot.com

  standards. innovation.
Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 14:15:30 UTC

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