Steven Pemberton illustrates the use of XForms for interface specification with an example: “Take, for instance, a radio button: this is typically used to select one value from a collection of values. But you could do the same task with a drop-down menu, or a select list. XForms just says what the purpose of a control is, in this case that the control should select one from a list, and leaves the actual display of the control to the realm of stylesheets. In this way, for instance, you can display the control using radio buttons on a big screen, but on a smaller screen, such as a mobile phone, you can use a menu, without having to rewrite the application.”
New features of the XForms 2.0 Working Draft include the use of XPath 2.0, giving a more powerful expression language, and being able to process JSON data as well as XML.
The work on XForms started in 2000. Pemberton has been chairing the XForms Working Group for many years. Active participants are, amongst others IBM, Inventive Designers, Xerox, and CWI - the national research centre for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands. Since the mid-1990s, CWI has been heavily involved in web standardization and web related R&D, for example on XHTML, XForms, Semantic Web, CSS, SMIL, and RDF. CWI has also been hosting the W3C Benelux Office for fourteen years, which organizes – together with ISOC.nl –two masterclasses with experts Bert Bos (CSS 3, France) and Mike Smith (HTML5) on 13 resp. 14 September 2012. The goal of W3C is to lead the World Wide Web to its full potential.
More information: http://www.w3.org/TR/xforms20/
Picture: Steven Pemberton (CWI), chair of the W3C XForms Working Group