Saturday, July 18, 2009

XForms status update

On the 4th June of 2009 the XForms working group requested the advancement of XForms 1.1 to W3C Proposed Recommendation. We have sufficient interoperable implementation experience according to our exit criteria. As you can see in the implementation report, there are XForms 1.1 implementations that run natively in the browser (Mozilla XForms), can be run in the browser by using JavaScript (Ubiquity and EMC XForms) or run on the server by using AJAX (Chiba). There is of course Orbeon another server side implementation that implements a lot of the new features from XForms 1.1. This gives you a lot of different possibilities, to use the power of XForms 1.1, when creating web applications in todays web browsers.

The XForms working group is also working hard on the future version(s) of the XForms recommendation. Some of the 'smaller' new features are a dialog control, a data driven switch, a case function (retrieve the selected case using an XPath function), Node 'create' XPath functions and passing event 'context' information to the dispatch and dispatch related actions. These features will increase the power and the ease of authoring even more.

One of the bigger new features is the optional support of XPath 2.0 as an expression language in XForms. As most of my colleagues know, I'm a big fan of XPath 2.0, so it isn't too surprising that this is one of my favorite new features for XForms.

Orbeon already supports XPath 2.0 for quite some time. I recently added support for XPath 2.0 to Chiba 3.0 . So there is already quite some experience about how XPath 2.0 could be added as an expression language in XForms. Nevertheless there is still quite some work to do. There are still some things that need further thinking and we need to come to an agreement about some other things too. You may expect updates on the progress of this feature from me on this blog. I'm also thinking about doing some posts about exciting things you can do with XPath 2.0 in XForms.

Another exciting new feature is 'reusable components'. This will allow the form author to create 'complex' components or sub-forms that may contain their own instance and/or model and can be (re-)used in forms, possibly in different places in the form.An XForms implementer, or even a form author, can create libraries of components that can be used by form authors across all different XForms implementations. Examples of components are a map component, a Social Security Number component, an address component, ... This feature still needs a lot of work, and the chance of it being ready for XForms 1.2 is quite small in my opinion. So this feature is probably a good candidate for XForms 2.0.

If you are interested in following what the XForms Working Group is doing, your can follow the public mailing list, our wiki (or more specific for possible XForms 1.2 features) or wait for our first Working drafts of XForms 1.2 and XForms 2.0.

These were just some examples of new features the XForms WG is working on. All the features are still 'work in progress' and there is no guarantee that they will be available in the next version of XForms or the version after that. The availability depends on the progress we make on the feature and how important the community, the Working Group and the implementers ranks the feature.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

XForms meeting at the Research Triangle Park: Getting there

Yesterday morning my day started 45 minutes later than expected. My alarm supposed to go off at 7u30am; but I wrongly set the alarm at 8u30am. After a quick shower we jumped in the car to catch the next train, one later than planned. When we got at the train station we decided to park the car, allowing me to buy some food while Peggy was getting my train ticket. Parking the car and using my credit card to get on the parking lot turned out not to be a bad idea. You didn’t get a parking ticket, and after checking it with the info desk, our suspicion got confirmed, you needed to use the same card to get off the parking lot. There was no other option than running back to parking lot and using my card to drive the car off the parking. This took again more time than expected because the car in front of Peggy’s car had trouble using his credit card. At last I could put in my credit card and run back to the railway. And there the worst thing that could have happened, happened. When I got at the railway my train left, if I wanted I could have touched the train. Damn, I missed the train again. After missing my second train, what a start of a full day traveling, we decided to drive to the airport.

My luck turned when we arrived at the airport, checking in my bag and going through the passport check only took 7 minutes. There was only one person in front of me at the luggage drop off and no one at the passport check. The plain from Amsterdam to Detroit arrived on schedule, my next flight will depart after 1h20 and boarding should start in less than an hour. It is hard to believe, but there was no one in front at border control, and my bag was the first one on the belt. Can you believe that, what is the chance of not having to wait at border control and that your bag is the first one that is unloaded.
The second flight to Raleigh/Durham was also on time, and after calling the hotel my shuttle arrived after 10 minutes. My day started a bit hectic but after arriving at Amsterdam everything went even better than expected; hopefully this is a sign for a super XForms WG meeting.

Friday, February 1, 2008

XForms Virtual Meeting 2008

Today we had our first XForms WG virtual meeting day ever. We used our regular W3C Zakim teleconferencing bridge in combination with Yugma a free desktop sharing application. We mainly talked about XForms 1.2 requirements and new features.

Tomorrow I will leave for Durham for the three day face to face meeting of the XForms WG at the IBM Research Triangle Park Executive Briefing Center. During those three days we hope to create the outline for the XForms 1.2 requirements document, discuss some of those new features, and do some work on XForms 2.0. More news on this will follow.

Friday, November 9, 2007

XForms 1.1 ready to go to Candidate Recommendation?

The XForms WG had a meeting last Monday and Tuesday at the W3C Technical Plenary / Advisory Committee Meetings Week in Boston. On the first day Michael Sperberg-McQueen explained the different ways an XML Schema processor could be invoked and how a validating works when the processor is started in LAX vs Strict 'mode'. It was very enlightening for me, and it was the first time I wasn't bored with a half day XML schema discussion. I learned a lot about how a schema processor works and how applications can use a schema processor to validate XML. I will spare you from the details, because this is probably too boring for the few people who read my blog...

After the 'tutorial/walk through' we got, we were able to handle the last open Last Call issue. Yes you read this correct, XForms 1.1 is going to advance to a Candidate Recommendation really soon.

I'm looking forward to start working on XForms 1.2 and XForms 2.0. Adding neat new futures and making the authoring and transition from HTML forms much easier.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Boston Freedom Trail

Yesterday Klaas and I started walking from our hotel to the center of Boston using a small free map. When we arrived in the center of Boston we decided to walk the Freedom Trail.

We extended the walk a bit by visiting the Museum of science. It turned out to be really interesting, definitely worth visiting it.

You can find some photo's I took yesterday at this gallery.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Forms face-to-face Madrid 2007

Last week I went to Madrid for the Forms face-to-face at SATEC. The main purpose of this three day meeting was to handle the last call issues for XForms 1.1. We managed to handle most of the remaining issues that were reported during the last call period. The next stage in the W3C specification track is Proposed Recommendation. And it looks like we will be able to move XForms 1.1 to Proposed Recommendation soon. Especially because we managed to process the more complex issues at the meeting and only need to handle the easier ones on the upcoming phone calls.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Just another T-storm?

This morning when I drove to work around 7 a.m. the sun was shining. After a few miles I noticed a thunder flash, a few minutes later it started to become dark and very windy. It became even darker then on a regular night and it started raining like I never saw before, the sight was very bad and big hail stones where falling down. The Highway was one big pool. At one spot I was even worried that the water would flow inside the car. A few miles later the sun was back and it seemed like nothing has ever happened. It was just a local thunderstorm...