1 About the XForms 1.0 Specification

1.1 Background

Forms are an important part of the Web, and they continue to be the primary means of interactivity used by many Web sites. Web applications and eCommerce solutions have sparked the demand for better Web forms with richer interactions. XForms are the response to this demand--extended analysis, followed by the creation of a new platform-independent markup language for online interaction between an XForms Processor and a remote entity. XForms are the successor to XHTML forms, and benefit from the lessons learned in the years of HTML forms implementation experience.

Further background information on XForms can be found at http://www.w3.org/MarkUp/Forms.

1.2 Reading the Specification

This specification has been written with various types of readers in mind--in particular XForms authors and XForms implementors. We hope the specification will provide authors with the tools they need to write efficient, attractive, and accessible documents, without overexposing them to the XForms implementation details. Implementors, however, should find all they need to build conforming XForms Processors. The specification begins with a general presentation of XForms and becomes more and more technical and specific towards the end. For quick access to information, a general table of contents, specific tables of contents at the beginning of each section, and an index provide easy navigation, in both the electronic and printed versions.

The specification has been written with two modes of presentation in mind: electronic and printed. In case of a discrepancy, the electronic version is considered the authoritative version of the document.

1.3 How the Specification is Organized

The specification is organized into the following chapters:

Chapters 1 and 2

An introduction to XForms The introduction includes a brief tutorial on XForms and a discussion of design principles behind XForms.

Chapters 3 and up

XForms reference manual. The bulk of the reference manual consists of the specification of XForms. This reference defines what may go into XForms and how XForms Processors must interpret the various components in order to claim conformance.


Appendixes contain a normative description of XForms described in XML Schema, information on optional function libraries, references, a change history, and other useful information.

1.4 Documentation Conventions

The following highlighting and typography is used to present technical material in this document and other documents from the XForms Working Group:

Special terms are defined in their own chapter; hyperlinks connect uses of the term to the definition.

Throughout this document, the namespace prefixes "xform:", "xsd:", and "xsi:" are used to denote the XForms, XML Schema, and XML Schema for Instances namespaces respectively. This is by convention only; any namespace prefix may be used in practice.

Official terms are defined in the following manner: [Definition: You can find most terms in the chapter 3 Terminology]. Links to terms may be specially highlighted in the text.

The XML representations of various elements within XForms are presented as follows: Listed are the element name, names of all attributes, allowed values of attributes appearing after a "=" character, default values of attributes appearing after a ":" character, and allowed content. One or more headings below the table provide additional explanatory information.

Example: XML Syntax Representation <example>
  count = integer
  size = (small | medium | large) : medium
  <!-- Content: (allowed-content) -->

count = integer - description of this attribute
size = (small | medium | large) : medium - description of this attribute

Non-normative short examples are set off typographically:

Example Item


Example Item

References to external documents appear as follows: [Sample Reference] with links to the references section of this document.

Sample Reference
Reference - linked to from above.

The following highlighting is used for non-normative commentary:


A general admonition to readers.

Editorial note: Editorial Note Name  
Editorial commentary.

Issue (issue-id):


A specific issue to which input from readers is requested.