Comment on XFDL Submission
W3C is pleased to receive the
XFDL submission from UWI (Unisoft Wares
The submission describes an XML syntax for the Extensible Forms Description
Language (XFDL) to represent complex forms such as those found in business
XFDL includes support for high precision layout, supporting documentation,
integrated computations and input validation, multiple overlapping digital
signatures, and legally binding auditable transaction records.
XFDL specification mixes in one single markup format: content, layout, actions
The submission is related to the following activities of W3C:
Extensible Markup Language
XML provides a syntax to design applications with particular functions. XFDL
is an application of XML, focussing on the design of a language for
representating forms on the Web.
HyperText Markup Language
HTML already provides a fixed repertoire of named tags for forms. Work on
the next generation of HTML will formalize HTML as a suite of XML tag sets
with a clean migration path from HTML 4.0. Some of the expected benefits
include: reduced authoring costs, an improved match to database & workflow
applications, a modular solution to the increasingly disparate capabilities
of browsers, and the ability to cleanly integrate HTML with other XML
applications. The goals of XFDL directly relate to the work planned for the
next generation of HTML forms.
Style Language (CSS/XSL)
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) offers precise control over the presentation
of forms on the Web. The Extensible Style Sheets Language (XSL) which will
have document manipulation capabilities beyond CSS. XFDL defines representation
and layout in the markup. It overlaps the CSS and XSL specifications.
Document Object Model (DOM)
DOM offers a consistent programming interface for manipulating a document
with programming languages such as Java and ECMAScript. XFDL defines its
own programming interface and programming language in the markup. It overlaps
the DOM specification.
Electronic Commerce Interest Group :
The E.Commerce Interest Group is a forum designed to allow the members to
share information with the Consortium staff and other members about work
underway in related areas. XFDL is clearly related to Electronic Commerce.
Digital Signature (DSig)
While initial goals of DSig were focussed on signing metadata, future work
on DSig 2.0 will be to produce a specification for digitally signing XML
documents. XFDL defines its own digital signature in the markup. It may overlap
the future work on DSig 2.0.
XFDL provides full non-repudiation and auditability by storing the form template,
data, and internal logic in a single filethat can be digitally signed. XFDL
also offers built-in logic, calculations, type checking, enclosures, and
W3C policy is to separate content and presentation. XFDL combines content,
layout, actions and digital signature.
Obviously, on many topics the XFDL submission relates to a large number of
Next Steps :
XFDL should be reviewed by the HTML working group as a starting point for
consideration of requirements for the next generation of HTML forms.
XFDL will be announced within the Electronic Commerce Interest Group for
A "Call for Participation" for the creation of DSig 2.0 working group is
in progress. This project is currently awaiting staffing. At such time as
a working group is formed, XFDL will be presented to it for their consideration
(like the Signed Document Markup
Future work on DOM and XML should also consider these specific form needs
in the technologies being built.
W3C E Commerce Activity Lead
Dave Raggett, W3C HTML Activity Lead
$Date: 1998/10/16 12:05:17 $