Tuesday, March 08, 2005

XForms Myths rebutted

I’m not an XForms expert, I do not have specific interests in XForms, but I have to admit that I like certain aspects of XForms. When you’re into the XML-family of standards, it’s just a very elegant way to create form-based applications. Ian Hickson, the driving force behind WhatWG’s Web Forms 2.0, is clearly annoyed by the marketing speak of XForms proponents. I’ve added some serious and some not-so-serious comments on the arguments of Hixie, so please compare this with his article.

XForms is declarative
XForms is more declarative than HTML + JavaScript, but I think the main benefit is that 80% of the commonly used functionality is available as a tag, thus reducing the learning curve (although XForms is not so easy to learn because it introduces several more advanced concepts).

Scripting is bad for accessibility
Two competing standards (Web Forms 2.0 and XForms) is bad for accessibility, because screen readers will need to learn about both standards, instead of just one.

Script is harder to maintain than XPath expressions
I’m not an expert in this, but it seems that there are more degrees of freedom for JavaScript programs than for XPath expressions. More freedom means more power to do messy things.

HTML mixes presentation and content - XForms doesn't
Somewhat true, but I do like the client-side data instance of XForms. Some content should just be inserted server-side by a content management system, and there is no need to keep it separate on the client.

XForms is better than HTML because it is media-independent
Indeed, crap. What does the independence of the media have to do with XForms or HTML?

HTML mainly specifies how the control should look, while XForms specifies what the control should do
Yes, I think that’s a myth. From what I remember, XForms leaves it up to the XForms player to render the user interface. Just like the web browser renders the form controls.

HTML has limitations, so it had to be replaced with XForms
Yes, that’s something I can’t agree with. It’s better to extend HTML.

HTML requires authors to use hacks; XForms doesn't because is cleanly designed
Somewhat true: HTML was not designed to have client-side applications, but XForms was, so it’s easier to make a good implementation.

1 Comments:

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