Re: [Xsltforms-support] Is XForms a failure to learn from?

I active use xforms technology since 2008 and I want to share my point of

Xforms form for me is very very powerful technology for building big forms
with complicated logic. Please refer e.g. to EU Commission e-forms like

Similar forms I and my coullegues implemented in xforms. And that's work
currently only in FF3.6 with xforms plugin:/

If you want to see how it works feel free to create account and after login
choose e.g.  "The scolarship and training found" and then "Application

For what this introduction?

As I was started to develope my first xforms I was suprised how easy it is.
But it was only first impression, because I met a lot of problems and low
productivity in developing, chaning and debuging:

1. you have to write xml (main instance, origin instance, other instances
if necessary), xsd, xforms (and as in my case latex print tamplate too)
 file separatly.
2. if you want change structure of xml (e.g. rename some nodes) you must
change manually xsd, xfoms and latex file too. You must update all  binds
and fields
3. You cannot reuse fragments of this files in another context becouse you
must do the same as in point 2.
4. If you want to add some specific constuction e.g. repeat list that show
only a few fileds on the list e.g. name and surname but you want add
subform to edit more details  each time you must write it again and again.
Please imagine that in one form you have 20-30 of such constructions.
5. and a lot of other problems

All this above is time consuming and causes many errors.

So taking into account our problems we developed own framework that solved
almost all problems: reusable code, easy in maintain, etc.,

If anyone is intrested in details I can prepare some complex examples. In
attachment I added some code that is transformed via xslt to xforms, xml,
xsd and latex template. The main features are: xpath independent bindings,
field definition contains control type, label, nodename, xsd type, size in
grid layout online and independent size in grid layout in latex,  bind
element, hint element. In last five years we build based on that framework
more than 2000 diffrent forms.

I think about publishing it on SF.

Stephen Cameron said about AngularJS. I have attempted to implement xforms
in AngularJS
becouse of similarities. But AngularJS forms are quite poor in data
binding. As I know exist only simple
libraries that implement jsonpath ( <
xpath 1.0.
Xpath is the best and easiest way to go through data tree.

Xforms is currently the best specification for big forms, but difficult to
maintain. Xfomrs is a bed solution for small simple forms. Better use pure
js or AnlugarJS.

All this solutions according to me need framework and xforms needs client
side implementation! The one last but promissing is XSLTForms.

Jaroslaw Kowalewski

2014-10-13 22:42 GMT+02:00 Stephen Cameron <>:

> Having twice tried to promote XForms in my workplace and not succeeded,
> for me XSLTForms has failed in the 'marketplace of ideas'. But the IT
> road-side is littered with such worthwhile efforts that lie discarded.
> Unless there is a job or dollars in it most people are not interested. Have
> look at job adds looking for AngularJS vs XForms experience.
> XForms support in browsers is the subject of discussion though I think. If
> Alain had not developed XSLTForms, XForms as it was envisaged, client-side
> (RESTful), would be quite dead.
> But things do sometimes 'rise from the dead' :)
> On Tue, Oct 14, 2014 at 12:21 AM, marcelo alfaro <>
> wrote:
>> Hi all, I would like to express what I think about this... For me XForms
>> is an incredible and powerful technology.  I love it and I will keep using
>> it as long as there are a community like this and, of course, the tools to
>> get the job done. In this respect, XSLTForms is all I need to build
>> powerful interfaces that are easy to code and maintain. That's it.
>> I am very grateful to Alain and all the people that make this possible.
>> So, Is XForms popular? No, Is  XForms a failure? Not at all.  This are
>> not the same thing.
>> Misquoting, I would say that, the reports of XForms's death are greatly
>> exaggerated ;)
>> cheers
>> marcelo
>> On Sun, Oct 12, 2014 at 4:52 PM, Stephen Cameron <
>>> wrote:
>>> Hi Chris,
>>> XSmiles is a Java project and just maybe that is a problem, no one is
>>> interested in building (on) a browser using Java.
>>> XQuery and XSLT do have some jobs market value still, but mainly in
>>> integration work. That is a niche and in large part mostly filled by Saxon
>>> I suspect.
>>> The browser has become an application development platform, but the
>>> approach used to do that is all Javascript based, XSLTForms itself is
>>> Javascript in large part. and uses XSLT as a 'translator' to Javascript.
>>> So, is there a place for such a browser as XSmiles but all C++? It could
>>> be both a browser and a generic XML technologies library. I have a project
>>> that I would love to do with such a beast, but maybe I am just one of those
>>> "creative non-mainstream people (who) like to push boundaries" that you
>>> mention, with no thought of the practicalities of cost and marketability.
>>> Steve
>>> On Mon, Oct 13, 2014 at 12:45 AM, <>
>>> wrote:
>>>> On Sun, 12 Oct 2014 11:07:41 +0200
>>>> Alain Couthures <> wrote:
>>>> > All,
>>>> >
>>>> > Having a look at AB/2014-2015 Priorities/w3c work success
>>>> > (, I
>>>> > can read that XForms is one of the "failures to learn from".
>>>> >
>>>> > Surely, there is a lot to be said about XForms as a failure. In this
>>>> > list of "failures", I would personally add XSLT and XQuery for very
>>>> > similar reasons, and surely SVG some years ago, if they all had to be
>>>> > considered as effective Web, or client-side, technologies.
>>>> >
>>>> > What do you think? Shouldn't we write what has to be written?
>>>> >
>>>> > Thanks!
>>>> >
>>>> > -Alain
>>>> Hello Alain
>>>> I am not an expert in the field, but I would not call XForms a failure.
>>>> Though I suppose it does depend on what the measure is.
>>>> If I were looking for something that would have made it come together
>>>> better, it would have been a tool, a main tool, a browser or something,
>>>> that brought all the ideas together in a demonstrable and useful
>>>> product.
>>>> Having said that, it is a shame it has all [arguably] struggled along
>>>> for reasons which I suspect are down to other commercial vested
>>>> interests by big players and their take-up or lack of, any proposed
>>>> standards adoption.
>>>> I still believe the XML based 'tools' (XForms, and associated concepts
>>>> e.g. XRX) are extremely important and its too easy to cast them off.
>>>> This comment from a reply to your post "...the W3C...should just
>>>> make its own browser with ALL its XML standards implemented." (Stephen
>>>> Cameron)  is not a shout without serious merit in my opinion too.
>>>> Not wishing to distract from supporting the previous idea, was not
>>>> XSmiles an attempt to have a go at doing the XML standards compliant
>>>> browser.
>>>> Whatever, I still try to use XForms and it will only fail for me if the
>>>> clever and supportive open-source community minds keeping tools going
>>>> in some form or another, actually give up. To them, including you for
>>>> XSLTForms, I am grateful!
>>>> I wish there was some push by W3C to resurrect (if some feel it has had
>>>> its day) and bring it all together in a serious meaningful way. There
>>>> would always be a market I'm sure.....creative non-mainstream people
>>>> like to push boundaries   :-).
>>>> Regards
>>>> Chris H.
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Received on Tuesday, 14 October 2014 17:18:19 UTC