World Wide Web Consortium Publishes XForms 1.0 as a W3C Candidate Recommendation

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W3C's Next-generation Forms Technology Ready for Implementors

Testimonials are also available -- 12 November 2002 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announces the release of the XForms 1.0 Candidate Recommendation. XForms 1.0 is the foundation for next-generation Web-based forms, by combining the ability to separate purpose, presentation, and results with the Extensible Markup Language (XML).

Advancement of this document to Candidate Recommendation is a statement that the specification is stable. The W3C XForms Working Group invites the Web development community at large to implement the specification and demonstrate interoperability.

After Nearly 10 Years, It's Time to Upgrade Forms on the Web

When HTML Forms were introduced to the Web in 1993, they provided a means to gather information and perform transactions. The structure of forms served the needs of many users at that time, as well as the devices used to access the Web.

Now, nearly 10 years later, the original HTML Form design is showing its limitations. Users now wish to access the Web through cell phones, handheld devices, and assistive technologies such as screen readers. Forms Authors are looking to both minimize scripting and maximize reuse of form components, as well as cleanly separate the purpose, presentation and results of a form. And of course, companies which have made the move to XML are looking for ways to bring forms along with the rest of the enterprise.

"W3C's XForms allow authors to use their choice of markup language - XHTML, SVG, XML - with minimal scripting and maximum usability," explained Steven Pemberton, co-chair of the W3C XForms Working Group. "The XForms Working Group has provided a model that makes it easy for implementors to develop and reuse form components, delivering functionality to users and devices previously not possible."

XForms Cleanly Separates Purpose, Presentation, and Results

In contrast to HTML Forms, with functional and presentation markup intertwined, XForms lets forms authors distinguish the descriptions of the purpose of the form; the presentation of the form, and how the results (the instance data) are written in XML.

By splitting traditional HTML forms into three parts—XForms model, instance data, and the XForms user interface—it cleanly separates presentation from content. This separation brings new advantages:

  • Reuse: XForms modules can be reused independent of the information they collect
  • Device Independence: as the User Interface controls are abstract - that is, their generic features are the only thing indicated - they can easily be re-presented on different devices with different capabilities
  • Accessibility: separation of presentation from content leaves information more readily available for users of assistive technologies; in addition, the User interface controls encapsulate all relevant metadata such as labels, thereby enhancing accessibility of the application when using different modalities.

Practically speaking, XForms technologies make it possible to use forms from a PDA, a cell phone, screen reader or conventional desktop machine - without loss of functionality for the end user.

XForms delivers the power of XML to online forms

XML is at the core of the XForms model, and delivers key advantages to the XForms technology:

  • Data received from an XForm is already strongly typed, well-formed, easy to validate, and process - in other words, it's XML. This also speeds up form filling since it reduces the need for round trips to the server for validation.
  • XML Schemas may be reused and updated by XForms, which allows one form to remain useful and functional even if there are changes in the Schema
  • Using XML 1.0 for the description of results - called 'instance data' - ensures that the submitted data may be easily internationalized.

Moreover, XForms, while initially designed to be integrated into XHTML, may be adopted by any suitable markup language, such as Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG). By defining XML-based declarative event handlers that cover common use cases, the majority of XForms documents can be statically analyzed, reducing the need for imperative scripts for event handlers.

XForms Working Group Includes Industry Leaders, Seeks Implementations

In the competitive field of forms technology, it's almost unheard of to have so many leading participants working together on the development of a standardized technology to be used by all. The W3C XForms Working Group serves as the place where these technology and industry leaders meet to produce results that have immediate use on the Web today. The XForms Working Group includes: Adobe; AOL/Netscape; Cardiff; Computer Associates; CWI; Electricité de France R&D; Helsinki University of Technology; IBM; Novell; NTT DoCoMo, Inc.; Openwave; Oracle; PureEdge Solutions; SAP/Mozquito Technologies; Sony/Ericsson; and Xerox. Many companies have announced support for XForms in current and future software.

The XForms Working Group encourages developers to work with the new specification, and to send feedback about implementations to the XForms Working Group mailing list.


About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The W3C was created to lead the Web to its full potential by developing common protocols that promote its evolution and ensure its interoperability. It is an international industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users, and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 450 organizations are Members of the Consortium. For more information see


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Testimonials for W3C's XForms 1.0 Candidate Recommendation

Blast Radius

XForms is a leading example of the new generation of Web standards. Like SVG and XHTML 2, it builds upon XML and other established Web specifications such as CSS, ECMAScript and the DOM. As a developer of Web technology, Blast Radius strongly supports the standardization of XForms and the continued evolution of platform-neutral, XML-based Web technology. We look forward to using XForms to develop content-creation and e-commerce applications for our global clients.

-- Paul Prescod, Blast Radius Inc.

Cardiff Software

The certification of XForms 1.0 CR marks an important milestone in the history of the Web--a single standard based on open technology for form data interchange and presentation. Cardiff Software is pleased to be one of the first vendors to support XForms with out-of-the-box design and publishing capabilities for XForms.

-- Micah Dubinko, Chief XML Architect, Cardiff Software Inc.


The XForms standards committee has done an excellent job. Our XFE product continues to receive a lot of attention from customers because of this standard. The strong market trend towards merging XML with forms as a means to manage data entry reinforces the bright future of this new standard.

-- Anthony Tomasic, US CEO and co-founder of E-XMLMedia


XForms is the key to successful mobile web services. By adopting XForms' device-independent approach, the Handwise Informate framework can support a wide variety of devices without making any compromises on user interface or usability. With XForms' solid foundation of XML standards and its advanced validation and strong typing features, the application integration work is significantly easier and less error-prone. We are strongly committed to XForms and will continue to leverage the power of XML in our products.

-- Tomi Kankaanpää, CTO, Handwise Ltd.

Helsinki University of Technology

HUT is pleased to see that the XForms specification has progressed to Candidate Recommendation. We have support for XForms and other W3C technologies in the Open Source XML browser X-Smiles. XForms enhances the Web by adding to forms many important user interaction features, which were previously only possible through extensive use of scripting or server side programming. It also enables clients to receive and send structured XML data. We have also found in our research that integration of XForms with XHTML, SMIL and SVG is feasible and will provide new usage scenarios for these languages.

-- Prof. Petri Vuorimaa, Head of TML laboratory, Helsinki University of Technology, Finland


Why has the Web succeeded? It's been successful because people knew that the underlying technology was standardized in an open way. HTML was an important tool in connecting people to the information they needed and we learned important lessons about avoiding company-specific extensions. Now XForms extends the power of XML to further enhance how companies and individuals do business on the Web. XForms has a great opportunity to be the standard, open, non-proprietary technology that will help people access information online on any device--and do everything from shopping and banking to checking their e-mail or calendar.
As one of the editors of the XForms specification, IBM is very pleased to see XForms become a W3C Candidate Recommendation. The XForms Candidate Recommendation is an important step toward establishing a true electronic forms standard which will be critical for cross-industry interoperability.

-- Dr. Bob Sutor, Director, IBM Web Services Strategy

Mozquito Technologies/SAP

As a founding member of the XForms activity, Mozquito is very pleased to see this important technology advance to Candidate Recommendation. It was an honor to work together with the members of the XForms working group on XForms 1.0. Mozquito announces, the personal XML web, leveraging the power of XForms, delivered to browsers anywhere in the Mozquito XForms implementation.

-- Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer, CEO & Founder, Mozquito


The XForms 1.0 Release Candidate represents an important step forward for Web services-based application development. By standardizing XML data binding and device independent presentation, XForms will significantly streamline the development of Web pages and forms. Future releases of Novell exteNd, our integrated Web application development suite, will feature new presentation and page flow designers based on XForms to simplify and accelerate the delivery of portal-style Web applications. This will enable enterprise application developers with little or no Java experience to visually and rapidly build standards-based pages and page flows, tasks that previously required specialized programming skills. Novell believes that XForms will become a cornerstone for the delivery of next generation Web solutions and we're very pleased to support and be part of the W3C's efforts with XForms.

-- David Litwack, Novell's senior vice president for Web application development

PureEdge Solutions

PureEdge Solutions is very pleased that XForms 1.0 has become a W3C Candidate Recommendation, and we will support XForms in our Internet Commerce System™. PureEdge was the first to implement secure and dynamic XML e-forms and has participated throughout this important W3C effort. Standardizing the dynamic data and processing needs of complex forms will hasten migration from paper forms and result in web applications that are more robust, interoperable and maintainable than is possible with HTML systems. It was an honor to co-author XForms 1.0, and I look forward to a lead role in the ongoing development of XForms.

-- John Boyer, Ph.D., Senior Product Architect, PureEdge Solutions Inc.


Customers trust our products to handle their most important business documents, and being standards compliant is important to Xerox and to our customers, because they want to know how their information is handled. XForms will enable us to leverage XML technologies to provide cutting-edge document services and solutions that integrate seamlessly into the customer's environment.

-- Richard W. Peebles, Chief Technology Officer, Office Systems Group, Xerox Ltd.

XForms is a technology which will change the way we build applications. With XForms we can now build systems that take advantage of the cheapness and ubiquity of the internet, without sacrificing the reliability and resilience gained through our traditional languages and tools. And because XForms dramatically eases the maintenance burden of large internet applications, we will see large, multi-language, multi-platform sites - in which the user can see information in the way that best suits them - becoming the norm, rather than the exception.

-- Mark Birbeck, Managing Director, Ltd.

Mozquito Technologies/SAP

XForms Technologie ermoeglicht Benutzeroberflaechen im WWW, die in Sachen Funktionalitaet bisheriger PC Software in nichts nachstehen, allerdings mit dem grossen Vorteil, dass XForms Anwendungen nicht auf dem Rechner fest installiert werden muessen, sondern von ueberall im Web im Browser aufgerufen werden koennen. XForms ist darueber hinaus Platform- und Endgeraeteunabhaengig: Ein mobiles, dezentrales Arbeiten und Kommunizieren wird dadurch effizienter. Teleworking, netzwerk-orientiertes Arbeiten, mobiles Leben: XForms bietet hier zusammen mit den vorhandenen XML Bausteinen des W3C die notwendige Infrastruktur fuer Anwendungen. Mozquito, Gruendungsmitglied der W3C XForms Arbeitsgruppe, sass dieser internationalen Arbeitsgruppe bei der Definition von XForms 1.0 mit vor. Aus dem Selbstverstaendnis heraus, dass das WWW der gesamten Welt zur Verfuegung steht, ist es hier einem kleinen Team aus Deutschland gelungen an der Weiterentwicklung des Webs aktiv mitzuwirken. Auf der Basis dieser Erfahrungen bietet Mozquito weiterhin Unterstuetzung durch Know-How, Software und Loesungen fuer XForms und Anwendungen im WWW an.

-- Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer, CEO & Founder, Mozquito

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