XForms, XForms Tiny and Web Forms 2
I have been a member of the XForms working group through many years now and have to air my concerns for the proposed route in the new XForms charter. Therefore I send a member only mail to the working group which I now choose to publish on my blog:
I have repeatedly asked for a reason we do this XForms Tiny work and have not received a clear answer other than "we do this before somebody else do it for us". But frankly there are lot of open source frameworks out there and even though XFT is really cool and uses many of the same design criteria as XForms did, it seems it has little to do with the work we previously have done in XForms and hence the naming is very misleading.
It is clear the XForms will not be mainstream as HTML Forms and it will never find its way to the "please contact me" form. It is also clear that it is that kind of functionality WF2 tries to enhance which make perfect sense in an evolutionary way. In XForms we provide some pretty complex semantic constructs which enables authors to describe relationships between data and between data and UI. This is what we call the processing model and it is what makes XForms worth while. This processing model makes it possible to declaratively describe entire applications with a rich UI only based upon data. This is the real difference between XForms and Tine/WF2 (e.g. the processing model vs. event based updates) not some syntactic sugar as element names or if the label is inside or outside the form control element and what a repeating structure means. This is also why XForms should not standardize on XForms Tiny as it is put out today but consider a normal w3c profiling of the "full" version.
In the working group we put a lot of effort in discussion political positing of XForms. It seem the original goal has been to replace HTML Forms (which is quite clear as the specification originates from xhtml). Because of the complex design requirements put out for XForms the goal will not be meet simply because XForms *did* fulfill these requirements but as a side effect made the language to complicated for simple use. Attempts to argument that XForms is not complicated by creating examples like a simply search has been put out there on the web. But when it comes down to grasp XForms in entirety we must face the fact that it is complicated but at the same time extremely powerful.