RE: A rose by any other name...



I agree with you ... there are so many competing user interface
technologies that many, perhaps most, practitioners view XForm on the
complicated side ... don't have the trained staff to support ... this is
fact from several years supporting XForms and leveraging internal


FormFaces on SourceForge does have a lot of activity. Though we view
this as perhaps 75% academia and R&D, which isn't bad.


Where XForms is going is a good question ...


1.	I think it needs to be maintained as a Web technology which
means technology independent ... that is why AJAX's successful.
2.	I think there should be profiles, not all or nothing ... so
perhaps simple validation, minimal controls, etc ...
3.	... other ideas?


Very respectfully,




From: []
On Behalf Of Mark Birbeck
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 13:30
To: John Boyer
Cc: Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer; new Forms WG; Charles F Wiecha
Subject: Re: A rose by any other name...


Hi John,


But the point about something like Ajax, is that it named something that
already had momentum. I think you'll agree that no-one was sitting round
thinking, 'how can we make the use of JavaScript in browsers more
popular...we really need a catchy name'. :)


So by all means come up with an Intel-inside name for the next version
or versions of XForms. But aren't we putting the cart before the horse a
little, to be worrying about this now?


If I was to worry about anything, I'd say, how come the level of
blogging about XForms is so low? I set up planetXForms the other week,
to help people find stuff on XForms, and once you have all of the
historical stuff, there is very little activity there. I can say for
certain that there are at least three people in our group who don't have
a blog at the moment, but if they had one I'd read it avidly. :)


And what about screenshots and videos? Why don't implementers take some
time to put some screenshots into the Flickr XForms group, or videos
into the YouTube group, and tag them with XForms so that they pop up on
planetXForms. These will clarify what XForms is all about far more than
choosing a clever name.


And presentations. I'm guilty here, too, since I have lots of
presentations that I've done on XForms over the years that I haven't yet
linked to (they are public in our SVN repository, as it happens), but
surely other people have slides, too? Let's see them.


So if I was to worry about anything, it wouldn't be the name, it would
be that no-one else except us is going to create a community around
XForms, so we need to get on with it.


And sure, if you want to add something to the XForms name to make things
clearer, go ahead...but I have to confess I can't get too excited about
it. :)





On 25/01/2008, John Boyer <> wrote:

Hi Sebastian (and Kenneth and others), 

This sounds interesting because it preserves the "XForms inside" and the
market awareness we have managed to raise, yet allows us to project
broader applicability. 

Combining with a twist on a suggestion from Rafael, maybe something like

XForms 1.1: Rich XML Applications, or perhaps Dynamic XML Applications 

This leads to RXML applications developers (or DXML).   

Not sure if that has enough coolness factor, but gut feel is that it
piques the interest more than "backplane", which is a good technical
name but seems to rate about the same as "form" on the good name scale. 

<tongue-in-cheek>Maybe we should name it after some kind of delightful

Well, maybe only half a tongue because this is essentially Joern's point
with codenames like Longhorn and Tiger or even, frankly, AJAX.  Being an
AJAX programmer sounds heroic; it's downside is that it needs a hero to
keep it together.  We could use a good dose of Greek mythology.
Achilles? Unbeatable... except for that heel.  Phoenix? Powerful rising
raptor image, but comes out of a crash and burn scenario.  Drats.
Walden.  Hmm. Calm and idyllic, yet somewhat connected to civil
disobedience.  Maybe a bit Cambridge though.  A precious stone name?
The red one is already taken, the name of the green one has too many
syllables and the associated city is just too far from Kansas (and hence
New Jersey).  Sapphire?   Got the right number of syllables, looks blue,
seems pure.  Could work.  Other ideas? 

Our claim to fame seems to be that, years before there was a formal Web
2.0, we've essentially been working on the generalization of the Web 2.0
application model.  People are loving Web 2.0 because it provides
specific business functions like blogs and wikis that allow people to
collaborate on content without needing a pile of Java programmers
kicking around.  The declarative and data-focused aspects of XForms
allow us to let the people build up collaboration functions without
needing a pile of Java programmer in the middle.   

How do we capture this in a name?  I agree with Mark (and Shakespeare)
that a rose is still a rose no matter what you call it, but Shakespeare
was talking about a rose in the hand, whereas we need something that
helps people find the XForms rose in the first place.  This is hard
given the usual standards precedent for dull technical names. We need
something with flair.  And as Mark Twaine once said, the difference
between the right word and the almost right word is like the difference
between lightning and the lightning bug. 

Gee, this seems like the most fun we've had since the announcement by
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

Blog RSS feed:

Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer <> 

01/25/2008 03:30 AM 


Mark Birbeck <> 


Charles F Wiecha <>, John Boyer/CanWest/IBM@IBMCA, new
Forms WG <>, 


Re: A rose by any other name...




Maybe my previous was too long and unclear, I proposed
an additional (sub)name for the next version number:

"XForms 1.1: XYZ"

Keep XForms - add something to it thats a bit broader.

Names do matter, after all.

- Sebastian

Mark Birbeck schrieb:
> 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
> 5610.
> 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.
> Regards,
> Mark
> On 25/01/2008, Charles F Wiecha <> 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
>> phrase Backplane is intended to imply the broader applicability of
>> "components" such as submission, data model, validation, MVC binding
>> events to broader web applications -- in a variety of host languages
>> 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
>> 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
>> fact part of the deeper web stack.  I'm getting pretty tired of this
>> frankly it's starting to be a handicap so I'd welcome some help in a
>> change here :}
>> Thanks, Charlie
>>          A rose by any other name...
>>          John Boyer
>>                    to:
>>                      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
>> to get people excited about forms.  They have too many pre-conceived
>> notions about the uses and limitations of forms technology based on
>> prior experiences with older technologies for delivering forms.
>> 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
>> today seems to me qualitatively different than what is done with
>> other technologies.
>> It's a little like comparing a bicycle and a car on the basis that
>> involve the use of wheels to get you from point A to point B.  Bit of
>> 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
>> just doesn't evoke the full measure of business process enablement of
>> so-called "XForms" are capable.  Whether you ascribe to the more
>> view in which an XForm serves as the intelligent front-end face of
>> 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
>> 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
>> 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:

  Mark Birbeck, formsPlayer | +44 (0) 20 7689 9232 |

  standards. innovation. 

Received on Saturday, 26 January 2008 04:36:39 UTC