XForms is an implementation of XML (Extensible Markup Language) designed for creating interactive forms that can automatically shuttle data to and from corporate computing resources such as databases and customer relationship management (CRM) systems. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been working on XForms for several years to address limitations of forms based on HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), the main language of the Web. Tuesday's release of the "recommendation" for XForms 1.0 represents the final step in acceptance and publishing of the standard.
Computing giants such as Microsoft and Adobe Systems have seized on electronic forms as one of the most promising ways to automate entry and exchange of corporate data.
Microsoft will enter the market next week with the release of InfoPath, a new application included in its Office System family of software. InfoPath will allow office workers to create, view and complete XML-based forms and is expected to initially be focused on internal business processes such as human resources.
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<From W3C> XForms Cleanly Separates Purpose, Presentation, and Results
When HTML forms were introduced to the Web in 1993, they provided a means to gather information and perform transactions. The structure of forms served the needs of many users at that time, as well as the devices used to access the Web.
Now, 10 years later, the original HTML form design is showing its limitations. Users now wish to access the Web through cell phones, handheld devices, and assistive technologies such as screen readers, and authors need more functionality based on their experience with HTML forms and non-Web-based forms technologies. Forms authors are looking to both minimize scripting and maximize reuse of form components, as well as cleanly separate the purpose, presentation and results of a form. And of course, companies which have made the move to XML are looking for ways to integrate forms into their business processes.
"W3C's XForms gives authors more power and flexibility while improving the user experience," explained Steven Pemberton, Chair of the W3C XForms Working Group. "The XForms Working Group has provided a model that makes it easy for implementors to develop and reuse form components, integrate them into Web services, and deliver functionality to users and devices previously not possible."
Read the W3C Recommendation
. Read the W3C press release