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

Re: A rose by any other name...

From: Joern Turner <joern.turner@dreamlab.net>
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:54:02 +0100
Message-ID: <4799F80A.3010208@dreamlab.net>
To: John Boyer <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>
CC: "Forms WG (new)" <public-forms@w3.org>

John and all,

i've been unhappy with name XForms for a long time for the reasons 
already mentioned in this thread of discussion. - it simply bears the 
wrong connotations.

So i would be happy to see a new name but as pointed out we can't drop 
XForms completely without loosing all the references of the past. This 
is not an option IMO.

But to clearly signal to the world that XForms from now on (at least) is 
to be considered much more than a simple language to describe a form an 
addition to the name would be nice (if possible somehow). We've seen 
examples of this often in the past e.g. Windows NT.

I've no concrete proposal for a name but we don't always need to think 
in descriptive shortcuts (the notorious 3 letter shortcuts) but may use 
free names as addon. More as in OSX Tiger/Panther or Windows Longhorn or 
whatever. I'll just like to point out that descriptive terms (if 
shortcut or not) that directly imply certain connotations can easily 
become a bumerang when the focus of the product changes or extends.

My +1 for a addon to the name.


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: 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
Received on Friday, 25 January 2008 14:53:56 UTC

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