The use of forms on the Web is so commonplace that most user interactions involve some type of form. XForms - a combination of XML and forms - offers a powerful alternative to HTML-based forms. By providing excellent XML integration, including XML Schema, XForms allows developers to create flexible, web-based user-input forms for a wide variety of platforms, including desktop computers, handhelds, information appliances, and more. This is an introduction and practical guide to the new XForms specification. It explains the how and why of XForms, showing readers how to take advantage of them without having to write their own code. You'll learn how to integrate XForms with both HTML and XML vocabularies, and how XForms can simplify the connection between client-based user input and server-based processing. The book begins with a general introduction to Web forms, including information on history and basic construction of forms. The second part serves as a reference manual to the XForms specification. The third section offers additional hints, guidelines, and techniques for working with XForms.
Micah Dubinko serves as an editor and author of the XForms 1.0 W3C specification, where he has participated in the XForms effort since September 1999, nine months before the official Working Group was chartered. He's on WC3's XForms committee, knows XForms inside and out, and often acts as a spokesperson on XForms within the W3C and at conferences. He works in San Diego at Cardiff Software, Inc., as a Senior Software Engineer and Chief XML Architect. Over the last four years he has helped determine Cardiff's technical XML strategy and designed and implemented key XML support across several product lines, as well as worked in Product Management. Micah Dubinko was awarded CompTIA CDIA (Certified Document Imaging Architech) certification in January 2001.
1. Introduction to Web Forms The Past, Present, and Future of Web Forms A Brief Review of HTML Forms Limitations of HTML Forms, Advantages of XForms The History of XForms The Revenge of the Simple Syntax 2. XForms Building Blocks More Than Forms A Real-World Example Host Language Issues Linking Attributes 3. XPath in XForms Getting Up to Speed with XPath Going Deep: The XPath Data Model Location Paths Computed Expressions How XPath is Used in XForms 4. XML Schema in XForms Wide Open (Value) Spaces Useful Datatypes Other Datatypes An Email Datatype for XForms Complex Types xs i:type 5. The XForms Model Will the Real Data Model Step Forward? Structural Elements Common Attributes Model Item Properties Making the Connection-Binding 6. The XForms User Interface Form Controls Interaction with Instance Data Grouping Dynamic Presentation Repeating Line Items 7. Actions and Events XML Events XForms Act ions XForms Events 8. Submit When to Submit What to Submit Where and How to Submit What Happens After Submit? The submission Element Review: Submi ssion Options Security and Privacy Concerns 9. Styling XForms CSS, Level 3 10. Form Accessibility, Design, and Troubleshooting Basics of Accessibility Form Design Patterns XForms-specific Design Hints Troubleshooting Making the Switch to XForms 11. Extending XForms The Cost of Extensibility Ways to Extend A. Examining Microsoft InfoPath B. The GNU Free Documentation License.