XForms is an XML application that represents the next generation of forms for the Web. This document specifies the requirements for XForms 1.1.
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This document is a W3C Working Group Note, made available by the W3C XForms Working Group as part of the XForms Activity within the W3C Interaction Domain. The authors of this document are the XForms Working Group participants.
This document will not be the final version - the Working Group may update the document when changes deemed necessary and appropriate as they develop XForms 1.1. Changes between this version and the previous version are illustrated in a diff-marked version.
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Publication as a Working Group Note does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.
XForms 1.1 will build upon the solid foundation set forth by XForms 1.0 - the Next Generation of Web Forms. This version makes incremental improvements over version 1.0 to provide expanded behaviors for the existing and established XForms Model-View-Controller Framework and by embracing SOAP. This version also makes adjustments to XForms to facilitate its adoption in other host languages.
Requirement: Support SOAP as a new method of submission.
In XForms 1.0, the
submission element allows sending part of
any instance to the server, but there is no reciprocal functionality for
handling the returned data. In particular, there is no ability to pass
partial instance data back and forth between client and server based on
conditions expressed via XForms model properties and/or triggered by user
Requirement: Allow the
submission element to specify
that the returned data can go in any instance, not just the instance from
which the submitted data was drawn.
Requirement: Allow the
submission element to specify
that the returned data can be used to replace a node in the instance data. A
use case would be submitting an element containing a UK postal code and
having the returned data replace an instance subtree containing an
Some intended applications of XForms may require the ability to let the host document to have control over the XML data submitted to the server. A use case would be a document-centric system in which an entire XML document, not just the XML data is submitted.
Requirement: Allow the
submission element to delegate
submission serialization to the host document's processor.
In XForms 1.0, a
repeat element creates the user interface
elements in its content once for each node in the collection indicated by its
nodeset attribute. If the
results in an empty collection, then no user interface elements are
To dynamically add user interface elements as more data becomes available,
insert is used to add another node to the collection to which
repeat nodeset is bound. However, the
element in XForms 1.0 requires that the collection contain a prototypical
node in the initial instance data that is to be duplicated in the
Due to this architecture, it is not possible to use
repeat collection that is initially empty. The use case for an
initially empty collection is a shopping cart application, where the user
expects to start with an empty shopping cart.
Secondly, it is also more difficult to express forms in which the data
content is derived not from the prototypical instance but from other instance
data obtained after initialization. Each leaf node in the subtree rooted by
the new node in the
repeat collection must currently be filled
with a separate invocation of
setvalue even if the desired
subtree structure exists elsewhere in instance data.
Requirement: Allow a method for copying a subtree of instance data (identified by a single apex element node) and pasting the subtree copy into an identified instance element node. The method must provide a facility for indicating where to put the subtree copy in the children of the target node (e.g. first, last, after a given child).
Requirement: Let email address be a primitive (recognized) XForms datatype for schema data validation.
A document containing an XForms model can be associated with externally
defined XML data using linking attributes of the
but there is no way to associate XML data with externally defined documents that
contain a compatible XForms model. A use case would be to allow XForms processors
to edit XML obtained from the local computer or server, and to return the edited
XML to the local computer or server.
Requirement: A method of associating XML data with a container document that places the XML data in the document on load and persists the association in the XML data when it is submitted or saved.
Applications that require mathematical exponentiation (raising X to the power Y) are not possible in XForms 1.0, such as the compounded interest calculation for a periodic loan payment.
Requirement: Allow the ability to calculate XY in XForms computational expressions.
In some forms, it is necessary to perform a simple table lookup based on
user input. For example, suppose a form contains an element
conversionTable that provides conversion rates for various
currencies to the user's local currency. Based on the conversion selected by
the user, the appropriate exchange rate would be used in a calculation.
XPath provides the ability to perform this type of search using
predicates. To continue the above example, suppose each child of
conversionTable is a
rate element with the exchange
rate as content and a
currency attribute. Further, let a
separate instance element called
currency provide the storage
for the currency selected by the user, and let
the amount to convert. The converted amount could then be obtained using the
The problem with this approach is that it uses absolute referencing to obtain the currency value selected by the user. If the converted amount, amount, and currency elements were moved to a deeper point in the instance data, then the XPath would have to be rewritten.
Requirement: Allow an XPath expression to perform a table search using a key whose value is referenced relative to the initial context node of the XPath expression.
XForms actions benefit from access to key pieces of information available in the context of the events for which they are handlers.
Requirement: Allow an XForms action to access information in the context of the event for which the action was activated.
In XForms 1.0, textual content from instance data nodes can be extracted and
rendered inline. For example, the
output element can provide
text from instance data to the
label of a
(which may be rendered as text on the face of a button). XForms 1.0
has the facility to place data in other media types, such as digital images,
into instance data in a base 64 or hex binary encoding. As well, an instance
node may have a type identification indicating that it contains a URI.
However, there is no facility in XForms 1.0 for inline rendition of data in non-text
Requirement: Allow facilities for inline rendition of non-text media types, both based on decoding data placed in an instance and on dereferencing a URI in instance data.
The ability to validate a credit card number is an important capability for better enabling online transactions to be performed using XForms. However, validating credit card numbers is difficult since they are not simply numbers but rather need to conform to a number of constraints, including valid prefixes, length, and adherence to the Luhn checksum formula.
Requirement: Provide the ability to indicate that an instance node represents a credit card number and provide the ability to determine whether the instance node content satisfies the validity constraints of a credit card number as defined in ISO/IEC 7812.
To increase widespread adoption of XForms in web applications, it is necessary to reduce the difficulty of authoring XForms in XHTML, which is currently hindered by the incessant need to flip between the host language namespace and the XForms namespace when authoring the user interface component of a form.
Requirement: Simplify Authoring XForms in XHTML2.
To facilitate the adoption of XForms in other XML tag sets, which is stated as a key goal in the XForms 1.0 requirements, the conformance levels for implementations of XForms elements outside of the XForms model will be modified (because those elements must often be more closely integrated with the host language).
Requirement: Let the XForms user interface related elements and attributes be recommended.
There are many use cases in which a behavior should be followed by closing the
containing document (which may cause the user agent to close if appropriate).
For example, in XForms 1.0 the
replace="all" setting on a
can be considered to close the containing document as the user agent displays the new
document with the result data of the submission. A more general facility is required
to notify the user agent of the need to close the containing document at any time, for
example in response to a trigger activation or other event.
Requirement: Increased ability for XForms markup to indicate the need to close the containing document.
This document was produced with the participation of current XForms Working Group participants: