Re: XForms Usefulness

In a message dated 23/08/2002 08:49:18 GMT Daylight Time, 

> Recently, someone on this list asked another why they would want to use XSLT
> to translate xforms to xhtml.

Since it was I who asked the question I guess I get to put in my 0.02. :)

 I found the question astonishing (how else
> could you use xforms?) but have just gotten around to commenting.

I am sure that other list members will chime in but it is already possible to 
use XForms (although possibly not the August 2002 WD yet) using, for example, 
the X-Smiles browser - see for further information.

You will find information on other XForms implementations which are in 
development at

> It seems obvious that xforms is not very useful (and won't be) until it is
> supported by the major browsers - the place where real users fill out 
> forms.

This is pretty much a circular argument. If a spec isn't finished then the 
"major" browsers likely won't implement it ... at that precise point in time. 
Why would they? ... Think back. For example Microsoft got its fingers burned 
by implementing a WD "XSL" which was then overtaken by XSLT. In MSXML3 
Microsoft began the process of phasing out  Microsoft XSL by allowing their 
flavour to be run side by side with real XSTL. In MSXML4, as I understand it, 
only real XSLT is supported.

> I haven't seen any obvious participation on this list by major browser
> suppliers. Makes me wonder if xforms will be the next xlink.

I would be very surprised if they aren't lurking quietly on list. :) I 
wouldn't necessarily expect them to show their hands publicly until they want 
to make a version/product announcement.

The number of implementations already existing for XForms puts it ahead of 
XLink's implementation status by some margin, although XForms is (obviously) 
not yet a full W3C Recommendation.

Secondly, I think you also need to consider the possible use of XForms in 
non-Web-browser situations. XForms implementations could be applied 
appropriately in Intranet (does anyone still use that word?) situations where 
data is stored in XML.  Data entry in XForms could be very useful. The 
network across which data is passed need not be the global one.

XForms are intended for use not only on desktop browsers. I am not sure if 
the 3GPP is planning to support/require XForms but they have already 
indicated support for SVG Tiny, for example, so XForms support *may* be in 
the pipeline. Anyone know?

> (Sorry to be negative, but serious question.)
> Bob

I am responding to your question as if it is a serious question.

I think there are dimensions to this which your question maybe didn't 


Andrew Watt

Received on Friday, 23 August 2002 04:30:00 UTC