Forms Working Group Charter

The mission of the Forms Working Group, part of the XForms Activity, is to develop specifications to cover forms on the Web, producing a system that scales from low-end devices through to the enterprise level.

Join The Forms Working Group.

End date 31 December 2009
Confidentiality Proceedings are Public
Initial Chair John Boyer, IBM
Initial Team Contact
(FTE %: 25)
Steven Pemberton, W3C/CWI
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: Weekly
Face-to-face: 3-4 per year


Previous work on XForms 1.0 has found success in the enterprise market despite having only indirect support (through plugins) in modern Web browsers. This is due to a lack of backwards compatibility with classic HTML Forms and a steeper learning curve. Accordingly, the current work items will address this by creating an XForms Transitional which is syntactically a superset of classic HTML forms (and can thus process classic HTML forms) while retaining an underlying XForms processing architecture. It is a goal that this work, which will be conducted in a task force jointly with the HTML WG, draw on the Web Forms 2 work (which moves from the Web Application Formats Working Group to the HTML Working Group) and be integrated into the XForms architecture (following design principles such as the separation of presentation from content). This new deliverable, here termed XForms Transitional, will be able to read both the new XHTML Forms and also XForms 1.0. It will offer a smooth upgrade path towards XForms, and will degrade to existing XHTML forms with well-defined results. (Documents using the 'tag soup' serialization of the new HTML are expected to be converted to the equivalent XML serialization).

A key idea in all the Forms work is separating the user interface and presentation from the logic and model, allowing the same form to be used without change on a wide variety of devices such as voice browsers, handhelds, desktops and even paper. XForms allows much more checking and calculation to be done on the client without resorting to scripting, before the form is submitted to the server. This increases security, provides the user with a much better experience, and reduces the need for repeated client-server cycles. XForms brings the benefits of XML to Web forms, transferring form data as XML. Through declarative markup XForms reduces the need for scripting, which makes forms easier to author and aids device independence and accessibility; XForms makes it easier to achieve the desired layout of form fields without having to resort to using nested tables etc., which again aids device independence and accessibility.

Forms Annotations for Web Authentication are extensions to Web forms that would enable user agents to reliably recognize Web forms that are used for the entry of credentials and could hence support user agents in the generation and management of credentials. Similar extensions could be used to extract parameters for protocol-level authentication mechanisms from form controls.

XForms are designed to be used with a variety of host languages, including (but not limited to) XHTML. The Working Group will demonstrate that XForms can be used with multiple host languages, such as XHTML, XSL, and SVG; and that XForms Transitional can in addition be used with non-XML 'classic HTML'.


The Working Group will meet the requirements for the next generation of Web forms, both mobile and desktop.

  • Advancing XForms 1.1 and XForms Basic 1.1 along the Recommendation Track.
  • Working on a new deliverable, XForms 1.2.
  • As part of a task force with the HTML WG, advancing XForms Transitional along the Recommendation Track.
  • Advancing Form Annotations for Web Authentication along the Recommendation track, using forms extensions, forms annotations, or a mix of both as seems desirable.
  • Maintenance of the XForms 1.0 specification, errata management, publication of revisions as appropriate.
  • Use case and requirements gathering.
  • Creation and maintenance of a Test Suites for all deliverables on the Recommendation track which have conformance criteria.
  • Monitoring implementation of and conformance to Recommendations, interoperability reports.
  • The Working group may organize workshops or interoperability meetings as appropriate.

The scope includes liaison with other related W3C groups and activities, as described below, for instance to ensure that XForms meets W3C goals for accessibility and internationalization, and to show how XForms can be effectively integrated with other W3C specifications

Success Criteria

The success of the Forms Working Group will be judged on how well it fulfills the above objectives in terms of the deliverables and milestones set out below, and the deployment of its deliverables.


Technical Reports

The following existing deliverables are expected to become Recommendations (if they are not already) and to have errata actively maintained. The W3C Patent Policy Transition Procedure governs the policy that applies to these deliverables.

The following new deliverables will be created under the W3C Patent Policy:

XForms Transitional will combine the ease of authoring and backwards-compatibility advantages of Web Forms 2 with the underlying semantic structure and internationalization advantages of XForms, by utilizing an implicit, flat (rather than explicit) data model. It will be backwards compatible with classic HTML forms (in their XML serialization), of which it is syntactically a superset, and upwards compatible with XForms architecture; XForms processors are expected to handle XForms Transitional.

Other Deliverables

For each Recommendation-track deliverable which has conformance criteria, the Working Group will maintain:

  • a test suite, for each testable class of conforming product (browser, generator, etc)
  • an implementation report showing, for each tested product, the tests that are passed

The Group will ensure that validation tools are available, possibly from third parties, for the XForms specifications. Validation does not mean DTD validation; validation using schemas (such as W3C XML Schema, RelaxNG, Schematron) and validation which is tolerant of extensions in other namespaces (for example using NVDL) is encouraged, as well as automated checking of items from the specification prose.


Note: The group will document significant changes from this initial schedule on the group home page.
Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
XForms 1.1 Nov 2004 June 2007 Sept 2007 Apr 2008 July 2008
XForms Transitional Jun 2007 Nov 2007 Feb 2008 Sep 2008 Dec 2008
XForms 2.0 Jun 2008 Dec 2008 Apr 2009 Sep 2009 Dec 2009

Dependencies and Liaison

The following is a list of known dependencies and liaisons with other W3C groups at the time this charter was written. Liaison with other W3C groups can take advantage of a broad range of mechanisms such as cross membership, reviews of drafts produced by other groups, joint meetings etc., and whenever appropriate, the HTML Working Group will also coordinate with groups not listed here.


HTML Working Group
The Forms WG will work with the HTML WG to ensure that XForms Transitional processors will accept the HTML Forms developed by the HTML Working Group
XML Schema Working Group
XForms builds on XML Schema for data validation. W3C's work on XML Schemas aims to provide a general solution for XML, while XForms is focussed on the specific requirements for forms. This places a stronger emphasis on representing constraints on data than is generally needed for other applications of XML.


The Forms Working Group is expected to take into account technologies developed by other groups within W3C, and to advise them about the requirements for XForms and to ask them to review specifications prepared by the Working Group, covering proposals for extensions to existing or future Web standards. At the time the charter was written, the following ongoing W3C activities are concerned:

Compound Document Formats Working Group
The Forms Working Group cooperates with this group to ensure that XForms deliverables can be readily combined with other W3C specifications.
CSS Working Group and XSL Working Group
The work of the Forms Working Group is coordinated with these groups on presentation issues. Work on the XForms could be used to add form capabilities to XSL, complementing XSL's existing suite of formatting objects.
Device Independence Working Group
The Forms Working Group coordinates with this group to ensure that XForms meets the requirements for device independence access.
Hypertext Coordination Group
The Hypertext Coordination Group has the responsibility for ensuring that reviews between Working Groups are planned and carried out so as to meet requirements for deliverables and deadlines. The Hypertext Coordination Group includes representatives for the XML Coordination Group and for the Web Accessibility Initiative, as well as the Working Groups in the Interaction and Ubiquitous Web Domains.
Internationalization Working Group
The Forms Working Group cooperates with this group to ensure XForms provides effective support for internationalization.
Multimodal Interaction Working Group
XForms separates the user interface, logic and data. The Multimodal Interaction Working Group is expected to adhere to this architecture, and to collaborate with the Forms Working Group over any additional requirements for multimodal interaction.
Scalable Vector Graphics Working Group
The Forms Working Group cooperates with this group to ensure that XForms can be seamlessly integrated with SVG, and that SVG can be used to provide a rendering of XForms widgets.
Voice Browser Working Group
Many applications of interactive voice response systems can be considered in terms of filling out forms. It is therefore of interest to ensure XForms provides effective support for the foundation needed for Voice Browsers.
Web Accessibility Initiative
The Forms Working Group cooperates with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to ensure XForms meets W3C accessibility goals.
Web APIs Working Group
For coordination on event and DOM architectures.
Web Services
Since XForms allows the submission of SOAP messages, the Forms Working Group cooperates with this activity to ensure that XForms meets its requirements, and so that XForms can be used to easily submit data to and receive data from Web Services.
Web Security Context Working Group
The Forms Working Group will cooperate with the proposed Web Security Context Baseline Working Group, part of the Security Activity, for general forms security considerations and in particular for the development of Form Annotations for Web Authentication.
XHTML2 Working Group
The Forms Working Group cooperates with the XHTML2 Working Group; XHTML 2 already integrates XForms 1.0.
XML Query Working Group
The Forms Working Group cooperates with this group to extract data from documents on the Web, therefore providing the interaction between the forms and the database world. In particular coordination on XPath is important.

Furthermore, Forms Working Group expects to follow these W3C Recommendations:


To be successful, the Forms Working Group is expected to have active participation for its duration. Effective participation to XForms Working Group is expected to consume one work day per week for each participant; two days per week for Editors, Chair and Team Contact. The Forms Working Group will allocate also the necessary resources for building Test Suites for each specification and for monitoring, testing and encouraging implementation of its specifications.

Participants are reminded of the Good Standing requirements of the W3C Process.


This group will conduct its work on the Public, archived mailing list public-forms@w3.org (archive).

The Public archived mailing list www-forms@w3.org remains available for technical discussions, including those outside the scope of the Forms Working Group. Anyone from the public may subscribe, and Working Group members are encouraged to subscribe. As a precaution against spam you must be subscribed in order to send a message to the list. To subscribe send a message with the word subscribe in the subject line to www-forms-request@w3.org. The Working Group is expected to track discussions on this list and to respond appropriately, as a commitment to public accountability.

Information about the group (deliverables, participants, face-to-face meetings, teleconferences, etc.) is available from the Forms Working Group Public home page .

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

This charter is written in accordance with Section 3.4, Votes of the W3C Process Document and includes no voting procedures beyond what the Process Document requires.

Patent Policy

This Working Group operates under the W3C Patent Policy (5 February 2004 Version). To promote the widest adoption of Web standards, W3C seeks to issue Recommendations that can be implemented, according to this policy, on a Royalty-Free basis.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Forms Working Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Please also see the charter for the previous Forms WG.

Chris Lilley, Steve Bratt, Tim Berners-Lee

$Date: 2007/07/02 16:40:47 $