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The Forms Working Group

The Forms Working Group was officially closed on 2015-04-08

Technical work may continue at the W3C XForms Users Community Group.

The Forms working group is chartered by the W3C to develop the next generation of forms technology for the world wide web. The mission is to address the patterns of intricacy, dynamism, multi-modality, and device independence that have become prevalent in Web Forms Applications around the world. The technical reports of this working group have the root name XForms due to the use of XML to express the vocabulary of the forms technology developed by the working group.

The Forms Working Group is comprised of W3C members and invited experts. The Working Group meets weekly by phone. Face to face meetings occur roughly every 3 months and are hosted by member organizations. We are especially interested in people with a rich experience in developing Web forms and supporting tools.


To join, ask your W3C Advisory Committee Representative to use this link to nominate you and agree to the patent policy. Please also have your W3C Advisory Committee Representative send an email to to confirm that your organization is prepared to commit the time and expense involved in participating in the Working Group. You will be expected to attend all Working Group teleconferences and face to face meetings and to respond in a timely fashion to email requests and action items.


2013-03-12: Orbeon Forms 4.0 Released. Featuring several XForms 2.0 features. Blog post. Release notes.

2012-08-07: Public working draft of XForms 2.0. The live version of the spec is on the wiki.

2011-04-26: Tutorial - An Introduction to XForms for Digital Humanists. At the Digital Humanities 2001 Conference at Stanford, Palo Alto, California, there will be a half-day introductory tutorial on XForms for the Humanities. More...

2011-04-09: Introduction to XForms course: Black Mesa Technologies is pleased to announce a two-day hands-on introductory course on XForms to take place 16-17 June 2011 in San Carlos, California. More...

2011-02-01: betterForm 'limegreen': Betterform has a forthcoming release of their XForms system, codenamed limegreen. In a blog post they have given information about what is coming in the new version. More...

2011-01-19: IBM Forms 4.0. The IBM Forms team has announced a major release of its XForms-powered software suite. More...

2010-07-26: New XForms 1.1 Implementation. Seneca is currently implementing XForms 1.1 in the next release of Smartsite iXperion and Smartsite Content Management Server, the leading Dutch Web CMS. The Smartsite iXperion XForms implementation is written as a multi-tiered application in C# (.NET) and can be hosted on any .NET based system. XHTML + jQuery/AJAX rendering is included as a pluggable render device in the XForms architecture. Other render devices can easily be plugged in. The XHTML output will be accessible, WCAG and “Web Guidelines” compliant and built using “Progressive Enhancement” techniques. Smartsite iXperion XForms thus downgrade well, even in non-scripting environments, but will still have a slick, state-of-the-art look and feel in modern browsers. More...

2010-06-30: Xfolite. Xfolite is a light-weight XForms client for the J2ME platform. It was originally created at Nokia Research Center, and it includes a DOM and XPath 1.0 implementation as well as an XForms engine that implements the XForms 1.1 specification almost completely. XML Schemas and CSS are outside project scope, however. Xfolite is open source and licensed under the LGPL license. More...

2010-06-16: betterForm XRX Edition. The betterFORM project has released a new version (3.1) of its XForms-based toolkit, with a focus on the combination of eXistDB with betterFORM to provide a complete platform for developing XRX (XForms REST XQuery) applications that use XML technologies from front to back. A graphical installer makes it easy to quickly get started. More...

2010-06-07: Orbeon Forms updated. The server-side implementation of XForms, Orbeon Forms 3.8 is now available, with over 350 improvements since the previous release, including a new Professional Edition. Orbeon Forms is an open source forms solution which includes an XForms implementation, the Form Runner runtime, and the Form Builder form designer.

2010-05-17: Forms Working Group rechartered. Today the W3C announced that the Forms Working Group has been rechartered for two years. The new charter includes work on XForms 1.2, XForms 2.0, XML Events 2.0, XForms for HTML, as well as maintenance of XForms 1.1. To join the working group, please see the link above, under "Joining".

2010-03-19: New XForms Implementation. The betterFORM project released Version 3.0 codenamed 'lightSteelBlue' to the public. It combines a full XForms 1.1 implementation with the Dojo toolkit for enterprise-level solutions. betterFORM allows easy creation of highly dynamic Web 2.0 user interfaces with attractive controls and layout. You can add validations, calculations, actions and events to build complete web applications in a declarative way.

2010-02-02: Swiftfox browser for Linux comes with XForms pre-installed. Swiftfox is a free Firefox-based browser for Linux that is a good alternative for Firefox for Linux. It contains a set of software builds of Mozilla Firefox and is written to maximize efficiency on Intel and AMD microprocessors. Swiftfox can be downloaded in open source code and proprietary binaries. Add-ons for Mozilla Firefox are compliant with Swiftfox.

The XForms extension is preinstalled and enabled. More...

2010-01-27: emagiC CMS.Net is a milestone in web content management, both for web developers and for web masters. Thanks to the advanced logic of the administration interface, the system makes it easy to input, publish and manage information on a website. The combination of content management and site management also offers a high degree of flexibility.

The XForms application based on the new W3C XForms standard is the flagship of the modules. It manages structured content such as product catalogues, news items, press releases, jobs.

Over 250 medium and large companies and organisations in Belgium and the Netherlands alone have already made the right choice by opting for emagiC CMS. They are active in a variety of sectors: government, industry, distribution, healthcare, European institutions, ICT, banking and insurance, car industry, telecommunications, transport, fashion, chemistry, media, financial and marketing services, real estate, tourism, non-profit and many more. More...

2009-12-21: eXist now directly supports XForms. eXist now directly supports XForms via Alain Couthures' excellent XSLTForms processor. XSLTForms implements the XForms standard within the browser and is thus easy to integrate. However, eXist will also work with other XForms processors like Orbeon or Chiba. More...

2009-10-20: The Forms Working group is pleased to inform you of the W3C announcement that XForms 1.1 is now a W3C Recommendation. XForms 1.1 substantially upgrades the XML data processing platform introduced by XForms 1.0 by adding web service, REST service and other connectivity capabilities, conditional and iterative event action handlers, user interface improvements, and many other refinements. See also the testimonials.

2009-10-05: EPiServer CMS is a fast, flexible and robust Web Content Management system that is used by thousands of organizations and companies around the world for managing their Web sites and intranets. It supports XForms natively.

2009-10-02: The EMC Documentum XForms Engine (codenamed Formula) is a pure client-side XForms implementation that runs entirely from within a web browser. It is capable of rendering very flexible and dynamic forms without the need for a plugin or processing outside of the browser. EMC provides the EMC Documentum XForms Engine free of charge for development purposes. Formula has been built using Google Web Toolkit. Online demo

2009-08-18: The Forms Working group has completed the candidate recommendation implementation phase for XForms 1.1, and it is now been published as a W3C Proposed Recommendation. W3C member companies now have until September 22 to comment and vote on advancing the specification to a W3C Recommendation.

2009-06-04: The W3C Forms Working Group resolved today to request advancement of the working group's latest version of XForms 1.1 to W3C Proposed Recommendation based on sufficient interoperable implementation experience as defined in the exit criteria of the XForms 1.1 Candidate Recommendation.

2009-06-03: Orbeon Forms 3.7.1 is now avaiable. It includes over 400 improvements since version 3.6, including enhanced XForms 1.1 support, reusable user interface controls based on XBL 2, and a new preview of Orbeon Form Builder (Orbeon's web browser based visual form designer).

2009-05-31: The XForms 1.1 implementation reports for the Ubiquity XForms Firefox processor and the Ubiquity XForms Internet Explorer processor are now available. Ubiquity XForms provides a client-side Ajax/Javascript implementation of XForms 1.1.

2009-03-04: The XForms 1.1 implementation report for the Chiba XForms processor and XForms 1.1 implementation report for XSLTForms are now available. Chiba and XSLTForms are both implementations that can be used client- and/or server-side.

2009-01-26: EMC Documentum has provided an XForms 1.1 implementation report for their EMC Formula processor, a javascript implementation tested under FireFox and IE6+. There also now available a focused implementation report for the Chiba XForms processor.

2008-12-19: The First Public Working Draft (FPWD) of XForms for HTML has been published. This is an important milestone as it signifies W3C Director approval to enter the technical report into the W3C Recommendation track. The intent of this specification is to provide greater alignment of XForms into web pages (both HTML and XHTML). A combination of attribute decoration and script methods simplifies the web author experience of getting started with XForms. The script methods and the semantics of the attributes are mapped onto the rich XForms model-view-controller-connector architecture, providing authors with a smoother, selective migration path to the more elaborated behaviors available from the full element markup available in modules of XForms.

2008-12-04: XForms 1.1 implementation reports are now available for the XForms extension for Firefox version 0.8.6 for Firefox 2 and 3.

2008-11-24: Announcing IBM Lotus Forms version 3.5, the latest release of the XForms-powered software suite for designing and deploying high-precision enterprise forms applications and business user data collection applications. Please see the announcement for further details and a link leading to free trial downloads.

2008-10-07: XForms extension for Firefox version 0.8.6 for Firefox 2 and 3 is available for download from

2008-09-19: Best Paper Award. Jack Jansen and Dick Bulterman won the Best Paper award at the 2008 ACM Symposium on Document Engineering for their paper entitled "Enabling Adaptive Time-based Web Applications with SMIL State". The paper presents a very interesting mix of SMIL, XForms and other technologies to enable end-users to customize their experience of content where time dictates the major structure. One example given is of a video bike tour of Amsterdam. Fragments of the video content can be identified and tagged with keywords. During run-time, an XForm is used to allow an end-user to select from the available keywords those which they find interesting, and the corresponding fragments of video are played. Read more.

2008-09-14: Yahoo! announces a development platform to help create standalone XForms applications. Read more.

2008-08-28: XForms Accessibility - Mozilla Developer Center. Assistive technologies API for XForms is supported starting from Firefox 3 (Gecko 1.9). Implementation of accessible objects for XForms elements is based on top of the existing object hierarchy introduced in the Mozilla accessibility module. XForms elements behavior is implemented in accordance with accessible toolkit checklist.

2008-08-27: XRX: Simple, Elegant, Disruptive. A meme gathering momentum on the Web is "XRX" - XForms on the client, REST interfaces, XQuery on the server. One posting was by Dan McCreary on which contained the memorable quote

Traditional methods required approximately 40 inserts into separate tables within a relational database. The use of XForms and eXist resulted in one line of XQuery code:

    store(collection, file, data)

That was it. Simple. Elegant. I was hooked.

The meme has been popping up elsewhere. For instance, see XRX at Wikibooks, and XRX: Performing Updates at O'Reilly. Other links to the same ideas, though without using the XRX name are: XForms and eXist: A Perfect Couple and XForms, REST, XQuery...and skimming.



Editor's Drafts

XForms 1.1

XForms 1.0

Supporting Documents

Schedule of Deliverables

Schedule of Deliverables
Specification FPWD LC CR PR Rec
XForms 1.1 Nov 2004 Feb 2007 Nov 2007 August 2009 October 2009
XForms for HTML
(1.2 Transitional)
Dec 2008 Jun 2010 Oct 2010 May 2011 Jun 2011
XForms 1.2 Dec 2009 Jun 2010 Oct 2010 May 2011 Jun 2011
XForms 2.0 Nov 2010 Nov 2011 Sep 2011 Sep 2012 Nov 2012

The Forms Working Group Mailing Lists

The Forms Working Group maintains a public mailing list (archive, RSS feed) for public access to Working Group technical discussions as well as logistics such as meeting agendas and minutes.

The general public can join in on the technical discussions using the mailing list. An archive and an RSS feed of the list are available.

Send an email to with the word subscribe in the email subject header. (To unsubscribe, send email to the same address with the word unsubscribe in the email subject header.) .

For additional help, consult the W3C's public email list pages.

Send review comments about Forms Working Group specifications. Additionally, an archive and an RSS feed of the list are available.

What Are XForms?

Traditional HTML Web forms don't separate the purpose from the presentation of a form. XForms, in contrast, are comprised of separate sections that describe what the form does, and how the form looks. This allows for flexible presentation options, including classic XHTML forms, to be attached to an XML form definition.

The following illustrates how a single device-independent XML form definition, called the XForms Model, has the capability to work with a variety of standard or proprietary user interfaces:

diagram showing an XForms Model puzzle piece potentailly connecting to many possible user interface puzzle pieces: XForms, XHTML, WML, and proprietary

The XForms User Interface provides a standard set of visual controls that are targeted toward replacing today's XHTML form controls. These form controls are directly usable inside XHTML and other XML documents, like SVG. Other groups, such as the Voice Browser Working Group, may also independently develop user interface components for XForms.

An important concept in XForms is that forms collect data, which is expressed as XML instance data. Among other duties, the XForms Model describes the structure of the instance data. This is important, since like XML, forms represent a structured interchange of data. Workflow, auto-fill, and pre-fill form applications are supported through the use of instance data.

Finally, there needs to be a channel for instance data to flow to and from the XForms Processor. For this, the XForms Submit Protocol defines how XForms send and receive data, including the ability to suspend and resume the completion of a form.

The following illustration summarizes the main aspects of XForms:

Diagram of the connected XForms Model and XForms User Interface puzzle pieces. Below that, a double-headed arrow labeled XForms Submit Protocol. Below that, a document icon labeled XML Instance Data

Key Goals of XForms

Getting Help

Steven Pemberton, Co-chair, Team contact, W3C/CWI,
Leigh Klotz, Co-chair, Xerox

Last updated: $Date: 2015/04/08 14:44:50 $