XML for forms

Elliotte Rusty Harold elharo at metalab.unc.edu
Mon Jul 5 14:44:25 BST 1999

At 10:22 PM -0700 7/4/99, Don Park wrote:
>> I haven't detected any real overwhelming momentum at W3C to launch
>> an ambitious e-forms standardization project, although I seem to
>> recall that some WG or other has the mandate to enrich & extend
>> HTML forms... -T.
>Perhaps the three groups (XFA, XFDL, and HTML forms) should get together
>outside W3C to create an XHTML module for rich form support.  It is my
>opinion that there is no clear winner in this area and there are many other
>e-form companies preparing to jump in.  Either that or another round of
>catfight is needed to clear up the air.

XFDL (and probably XFA, though I haven't looked at it closely) try to go
way beyond what HTML forms could or should do. They're trying to solve
different problems. XFDL forms are extremely complex, to the point of being
nearly impossible to author by hand. They specify a detailed level of
presentation, going right down to font sizes.  There are legally compelling
reasons for them to do this, but the fact remains that the W3C explicitly
eschews mixing in presentation information at the level XFDL requires.
Consequently I find it unlikely that the W3C will pursue this work.  Nor do
I think the W3C should pursue this work.  Which isn't to say that it's bad;
just that there's room for more than one forms standard in the world.

| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo at metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
|               Java I/O (O'Reilly & Associates, 1999)               |
|            http://metalab.unc.edu/javafaq/books/javaio/            |
|   http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN=1565924851/cafeaulaitA/   |
|  Read Cafe au Lait for Java News:  http://metalab.unc.edu/javafaq/ |
|  Read Cafe con Leche for XML News: http://metalab.unc.edu/xml/     |

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