XForms Working Group Charter

This charter is written in accordance with section 3.2.3 of the W3C Process.

This charter is now superceded by the new XForms WG Charter.

Mission Statement

To develop W3C specifications for the next generation of Web forms The key idea is to separate the user interface and presentation from the data model and logic, allowing the same form to be used on a wide variety of devices such as voice browsers, handhelds, desktops and even paper. XForms brings the benefits of XML to Web forms, transferring form data as XML. XForms aims to reduce the need for scripting, and to make it easier to achieve the desired layout of form fields without having to resort to using nested tables etc.


Work on XForms is restricted to fulfilling the requirements for the next generation of Web forms, as set out in the XForms Requirements document. The scope includes liaison with other related W3C groups and activities, as described below, e.g. to ensure that XForms meets W3C goals for accessibility and internationalization, and to show how XForms can be effectively integrated with other W3C namespaces.

Success Criteria

The success of the XForms working group will be judged on how well it fulfills the requirements in terms of the deliverables and milestones set out below. Of particular note, is the need to ensure that the new approach to forms is consistent and easily integrated with W3C's approach to the protection of personal information collected by forms.


The initial 18 months duration (June 2000 to December 2001) is extented for 9 more months. The XForms working group is therefore likely to terminate in September 2002.


In the following, the terms: Note, Working Draft, Candidate Recommendation, and Proposed Recommendation are defined in the W3C Process.

Relationship to other W3C forums

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. In some cases a cross-working group task force will be set up to facilitate a shared understanding of requirements and to make proposals on how to move forwards. The first step for XForms Working Group will be to use the "Last Call" process to solicit review of the published requirements for XForms by other W3C working groups.

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 Document Formats Domain and Intaraction Domain.
Internationalization Working Group
The XForms working group will cooperate with this group to ensure XForms provides effective support for internationalization.
XML Schema Working Group
The semantics of XForms is layered on top of the XML Schema data model. W3C's work on XML Schemas aims to provide a general solution for XML, while XForms is focussed on the specific data modeling requirements for forms. This places a stronger emphasis on representing constraints on data than is generally needed for other applications of XML.

Another consideration is the nature of the target audiences for XForms and XML Schemas. XML Schemas are expected to be used as a replacement for XML DTDs, and are likely to be created by a relatively small number of highly skilled practitioners. This is in contrast to the very much larger number of people who create HTML forms, and who are less likely to have the skills required to deal with Schemas.

This makes it very important to ensure that XForms are easy to learn and simple to create.  As a result, XForms will not be constrained to use the syntax of XML Schema. The XForms working group will need to liaise with the XML Schema working group to ensure an effective mutual understanding of requirements, and to ensure that XML Schema provides a sufficient basis for the core of the XForms data modeling requirements. The XML Schema working group will be asked to review the XForms requirements and data modeling specification.
Document Object Model (DOM)
The XForms user interface, instance data, and data model should be accessible from the XML Document Object Model.
Web Accessibility Initiative
The XForms working group will cooperate with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) to ensure XForms meets W3C accessibility goals.
Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) Working Group
The XForms working group will work with members of the P3P Specification Working Group to define functional requirements for integration of P3P and XForms. Close integration is important to assure that forms designed with XForms for the purpose of collection of personally-identifiable data allow the seamless association of privacy policies and preferences with the data being collected. P3P already provides a mechanism to define data elements collected by a Web site and then associate descriptions of the data handling practices with those data elements. Site designers should be able to use a single data schema infrastructure to specify and refer to this data. These requirements will be added to the XForms requirements working draft. The P3P specification working group will be asked to review the XForms requirements and data modeling specification.
HTML Working Group
The XForms working group will cooperate closely with the HTML working group to ensure a smooth transition to next generation Web forms.
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 combine a voice presentation with an XForms data model. The XForms working group will cooperate with the Voice Browser working group to ensure XForms provides effective support for the data model needed for Voice Browsers.
CSS Working Group and
XSL Working Group
The work of the XForms working group will be 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.
Scalable Vector Graphics Working Group
The XForms working group will cooperate with this group to ensure that XForms can be seamlessly integrated with the scalable vector graphics capabilities being developed by this group.
Mobile Access Interest Group
The XForms working group will cooperate with this group to ensure that XForms meets the requirements for mobile access.
Television and the Web Interest Group
The XForms working group will cooperate with this group to ensure that XForms meets the requirements identified by this group for the use of XForms by television sets.

Meetings and Work Style

The Working Group gathers for face-to-face discussions 3 to 4 times a year. Meeting details will be made available on the W3C Member Calendar and from the Working Group page. Weekly teleconference meetings will be held otherwise throughout its lifetime. It is expected that members participate regularly in these teleconferences, but that otherwise they contribute to the Working Group's success by undertaking some of the many subsidiary tasks that are necessary, according to their expertise and as their other commitments permit. Different subcommittees will often have to work together to produce some results to feed into the whole process.

Release policy

A list of documents actively under consideration by the group, is to be maintained by the W3C staff contact under the direction of the working group Co-Chairs. To add a document to the list, or to revise a document in the list, the draft should be sent to the Co-Chairs and/or the group mailing list. The Co-Chairs will decide on new/revised drafts in collaboration with the group, provided the document falls within the scope of work items for the group. As documents stabilize, they will be released as W3C Working Drafts.

Openness Policies

The Working Group Charter shall be publicly accessible on the W3C Web site, along with descriptions of the goals and current status of the Working Group's proposals, plus guidelines, tutorials and other promotional materials.  A public mailing list and archive shall be provided to encourage open discussion of the Working Group's proposals.

To ensure the freedom of discussion sometimes necessary for an open and fruitful exchange of views, the e-mail archives and minutes of meetings of the Working Group will be restricted to W3C members and invited experts.

Resources Required

Communication Mechanisms


The archived member-only mailing list w3c-forms@w3.org is the primary means of discussion within the group.

The archived mailing list www-forms@w3.org is used for public discussion of the new generation of XForms, and Working Group members are encouraged to subscribe. The Working Group is expected to track discussions on this list and to respond appropriately, as a commitment to public accountability.


A weekly one-hour phone conference will be held. The exact details, dates and times will be published in advance on the Working Group page. The Chair is expected to post an agenda in advance of the conference call.

Working Group Web Page

The Working Group shall maintain a Web page that shows the list of active documents, the meeting schedule, and links to email archives, meeting minutes, and the list of Working Group participants etc. These pages will be restricted in access to W3C members and invited experts.

Voting Mechanisms

The Group works by consensus. In the event of failure to achieve consensus, the Group may resort to a vote as described in the W3C Process. Each Member company which has at least one Group member in good standing may vote. There is one vote per W3C Member company. Votes are held by email to allow all participants a chance to vote; there is a two week voting period followed by a period of two working days for the announcement of the result. W3C staff and invited experts do not vote; however in the event of a tie the chair has a casting vote. If the issue is solved by consensus during the voting period, the vote is cancelled.


by W3C Members

Requirements for meeting attendance and timely response are described in the W3C Process. Participation (meetings, reviewing and writing drafts) is expected to consume time amounting one half to 1 day per week for the lifetime of the group. Working group participants are required not to disclose information obtained during participation, until that information is publicly available.

W3C Members may also offer to review one or more working drafts from the group for clarity, consistency, technical merit, fitness for purpose and conformance with other W3C specifications. The only participation requirement is to provide the review comments by the agreed-to date.

by invited experts

As decided on a case by case basis, invited experts may attend a single meeting or a series; they may in some cases be subscribed to the Group mailing list. For the duration of their participation, invited experts are encouraged to adopt the same requirements for meeting attendance and timely response as are required of W3C Members.

Invited experts are subject to the same requirement for information disclosure as are required of W3C Members.

by W3C Team

W3C team will ensure that the mailing lists and Group page are adequately maintained and that public Working Drafts are made available on the Technical Reports page. W3C team will arrange to take minutes at teleconferences and face to face meetings and post these to the Group mailing list and to the Group page.

A W3C team member will provide liaison between non-team document editors and the W3C team; including posting revisions of Working Drafts to the Group page.

W3C team are expected to adopt the same requirements for meeting attendance, timely response and information disclosure as are required of W3C Members.

Intellectual Property

W3C promotes an open working environment. Whenever possible, technical decisions should be made unencumbered by intellectual property right (IPR) claims.

This is a Royalty Free Working Group, as described in W3C's Current Patent Practice.

Working Group participants disclose patent claims by sending email to <patent-issues@w3.org>; please see Current Patent Practice for more information about disclosures.

Existing XForms Documents

XForms Requirements
This working draft sets out the requirements for next generation Web forms as identified by the HTML working group.
XForms Data Model
This document presents a proposal for explicitly representing data models for XForms, the next generation of Web forms. Apart from other mechanisms described in this document, it is based upon the framework provided by XML Schema. While XML Schemas are used to define XML grammars, the XForms data model is intended to capture the device-independent data model and logic of form-based Web applications.

Thierry Michel <tmichel@w3.org>
Last modified: April 5 2002