Novell and IBM to Implement XForms in Mozilla

Tuesday August 10th, 2004

The Mozilla Foundation has announced a project to implement XForms in collaboration with Novell and IBM. The effort aims to add support for the XForms 1.0 Standard to Mozilla.

XForms is the W3C's XML-based Web forms technology. It offers many more features than standard HTML forms, including support for input validation and integration with Web services. However, some critics maintain that XForms is too complicated for Web authors and difficult for vendors to implement (no major browser yet supports XForms).

More information about the XForms implementation can be found at the Mozilla XForms project page and the W3C XForms site has more general information about the standard. Both Novell and IBM have developed XForms applications before (the Novell XForms Technology Preview and the IBM XML Forms Package).

#18 Re: shooting other people's feet

by woo <>

Thursday August 12th, 2004 12:26 PM

You are replying to this message

Well, I can only speak from personal experience.. and I'm sure you're looking at it from a more informed position, but as a consultant to both government and corporate development, mostly directed towards ASP.Net/Web development, I've seen a lot of interest in firefox from the developers, but very little from end users. So guess what the developers target... even though they personally use firefox. It's not because they don't like it. But tabbed browsing and small footprint doesn't provide their end users with a significantly better experience and it doesn't cut down their own development effort (in fact supporting it when developing in ASP.Net can be quite painful). And if you try to tell corporate developers to drop their IDE and hand code XUL and javascript they'll laugh. (I know some of those issues are being addressed, I'm looking at it from where we are at today).

Developers pushed IE back when 4 came out, just as much as Microsoft did by including it in their OS. Why? Because it had sane support for DHTML. It wasn't mom and pop's and static web pages that needed DHTML back then.. it was developers of applications. When applications were built around IE's DTHML support, and they only worked in IE, IE gained market share.

Now if you have an advance in development capabilities as profound as from html to DHTML as you have between DHTML and XForms, and you get your developer base to start targetting it (with tool support built into their IDE.. something I'm very interested in working on personally), firefox will gain market share across the board.

I wouldn't sacrifice firefox's benefits in order to include xforms support.. that's not the argument. Firefox is perfectly suited to support xforms for application development as it is by using an optional component. The value isn't in not requiring an install on the client, it's with the web application deployment model with a sane and efficient forms model.

Anyway, I know I'd push it from where I sit.. and people like me who would do the same is a signficant market share boost. Knowing that it's being backed by IBM and Novell makes me feel even better.. I appreciate the work of both the core firefox development and great additions like xforms and svg. Thanks! -Andrew