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RE: IBM Position Statement on XForms and Web Forms 2.0

From: Francisco Monteiro <monterro2004@tiscali.co.uk>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 16:55:11 +0100
To: "'John Boyer'" <boyerj@ca.ibm.com>, <chairs@w3.org>, <w3c-ac-forum@w3.org>, <w3c-ac-members@w3.org>
Cc: <www-forms@w3.org>, <www-html@w3.org>, <public-appformats@w3.org>
Message-ID: <008d01c6cc4c$adc5ccc0$0500a8c0@computername>
Hello John
And what are we meant to read or understand in this statement.


From: www-forms-request@w3.org [mailto:www-forms-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of John Boyer
Sent: 29 August 2006 21:21
To: chairs@w3.org; w3c-ac-forum@w3.org; w3c-ac-members@w3.org
Cc: www-forms@w3.org; www-html@w3.org; public-appformats@w3.org
Subject: IBM Position Statement on XForms and Web Forms 2.0

Dear W3C Chairs and W3C AC Members, 

The text below represents the IBM position statement on XForms and Web Forms

An advance copy of this document was reviewed favorably by Steve Bratt and
Chris Lilley, and I believe it is accurate to say that IBM offers this
position statement in the spirit described by Steve when he said,  "I very
much hope that it will serve to open (not close) doors to much improved
cooperation from all parties to help us move forward.  I think this is a
good start." 

Based on further details provided by Steve and Chris on the rechartering
plans in progress, I am left feeling quite optimistic that the full team of
W3C working group members interested in this space will be able to forge a
path of collaboration and compromise that satisfies the most urgent
requirements of all the parties in a timely fashion. 

Best regards, 
John M. Boyer, Ph.D.
Senior Product Architect/Research Scientist
Co-Chair, W3C XForms Working Group
Workplace, Portal and Collaboration Software
IBM Victoria Software Lab
E-Mail: boyerj@ca.ibm.com  http://www.ibm.com/software/

Blog: http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/JohnBoyer


IBM is a strong supporter of the XForms recommendation and working group.
As well, IBM has looked positively upon Web Forms 2.0 (WF2) since its member
submission because the W3C team's acknowledgement strongly encouraged the
charter mandates of XForms and HTML be enhanced to allow unification of WF2
features into XForms. 

The current draft of WF2 suggests that we can appropriately meet users needs
with two different technologies:  an XForms or similar system used purely at
the server to meet the needs of powerful applications and their designers,
and a different more HTML-oriented solution "on the wire".  On this point we
respectfully disagree.   It is true that authors of simple documents and
applications do indeed need a simple and convenient solution, but it is
equally important that the technologies used in more powerful applications
migrate seamlessly between client and server, according to the needs of the
application and the capabilities of the client.  So the choice is not
whether we can have XForms at the server and WF2 on the wire, but whether
the "on the wire standard" can scale to meet the needs of both simple and
powerful applications.  This is the reason that we are pushing so strongly
for unification. 

The first working draft of Web Forms 2.0 contains many good features,
including XML Submissions, declarative repeating constructs, and strongly
typed input fields, and indeed, many of the features exist in the XForms
recommendation.  From this we conclude that many of these features are of
use, not just at the server, but on the wire as well.  IBM sees a
significant advantage for the future of the web to rationalize the WF2
proposal with the XForms recommendation in the places where there are direct
overlaps, while incorporating the WF2 features that are distinct, and being
attentive to the needs of users who seek truly simple solutions. 

XForms and WF2 have very many features and use cases in common, so it should
be possible to unify the two with a common syntax.  Most of the current
differences between XForms and WF2 appear to be along two orthogonal axes:

1) Simple vs. Complex content: the extent to which new features of HTML can
be accessed as simply as possible to scale up the functionality of content

IBM believes this is a strength of Web Forms 2.0 that needs to be better
incorporated into XForms.  For example, the XForms input control could
accept the name attribute as a substitute for the ref attribute when
creating the implicit data model, and attributes such as type, readonly and
value placed directly on the input control can be used to implicitly create
the appropriate model item properties and default values.  This type of
change basically recognizes the legitimacy of the Web Forms 2.0 requirements
by importing the syntactic constructs directly with little or no
modification.  Importantly, IBM understands that it is users (albeit in
various roles, and with various levels of expertise) who must be reasonably
satisfied with both the convenience and the power of whatever solutions we

2) XML vs. non-XML content:  the extent of belief in the premise that new
features in HTML should be defined via XML syntax rather than non-XML syntax

While ease of browser implementation of new features is one important
concern, IBM believes that there are many important factors that contribute
not only to the total cost of ownership of web applications but also to the
ability to create and maintain a significantly broader spectrum of current
and future web technologies.  IBM believes that these factors are important
enough that it is essential to use new features of HTML as an enticement
toward greater conformance of web content to XML syntax, granting that
effort will be required to achieve a result that is also sufficiently
convenient for various users. 

Simultaneously, IBM believes that the requirement of XML conformance for
HTML that exercises new features does no real harm to legacy UAs, which
would provide graceful degradation based on HTML content that happens to
comply with XML syntax, and the requirement does no real harm to UAs updated
to respond to the new syntax since they can be updated to respond to any new
syntax.  As for accommodating reduced functionality UAs, we believe it is
necessary to have a unified conceptual model from which a more appropriate
language profile can be created for reduced functionality UAs.  The profile
should focus on the ease-of-use syntax and its ability to imply a basic data
model, and it should only delegate the more advanced features of an explicit
model to the server when a reduced functionality UA is being served. 

In conclusion, IBM strongly advocates for the renewed charter of the XForms
and HTML working groups to include unification of the Web Forms 2.0 work
with emphases on the ease-of-use benefits from WF2 and the XML basis from
XForms.  There will be compromises required of all parties, but also
significant synergies that become possible by accommodating the full range
of forms expertise available in the W3C. 


Received on Wednesday, 30 August 2006 16:00:13 UTC

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