[whatwg] Comparison of XForms-Tiny and WF2

Sebastian Schnitzenbaumer schnitz at demaledetti.net
Fri Jan 26 03:51:39 PST 2007

Matthew Raymond:
> Klotz, Leigh wrote:
>>>   Explain to me why Web Forms 2.0 shouldn't be "incorporating more of
>>> the great ideas" in XForms-Tiny rather than the other way around. Why is
>>> your approach to cannibalize an existing W3C working draft to enrich a
>>> draft you haven't even finished yet? What, in your opinion, makes WF2
>>> unsalvageable?
>> Or what makes you want to cannibalize an existing W3C Recommendation
>> which predates the formation of WHAT-WG?
>    Are you trying to justify hypercannibalization?!? Or are you just
> trying to cover up the fact that XForms and WF2 don't occupy the same
> niche, but XForms-Tiny and WF2 do?

I will not get into this "who occupies which 
niche" thing from the perspective of the 
respective groups who created the specifications, 
but rather - and much more important - from the 
perspective of the market. Regardless of whether 
or not the respective groups claim that their 
intention was not to cross each others border, the 
market doesn't care at all and is confused.

To illustrate this, let me point you to this 
article by Anne v. Kersteren: "Improve your forms 
using HTML5!" [1]. It has been recently DIGGed [2] 
and here are some comments:


"What the hell? No XHTML? Attributes with no 
values and values without quotes is so 1996."

"There can't be xHTML5 without xHTML 2.0 being 
released. This group is undermining the W3C, and 
aren't really introducing anything new (that we 
can't do with CSS). Face it HTML is dead, xHTML is 
the future."

"This isn't very exciting seeing how standard 
forms will be replaced with XForms..."

"It seems to me that XForms is a much nicer 
implementation of this... :)"

"Um yeah, that's what I was thinking. I'd rather 
use XHTML and CSS, with XForms if necessary."

"Oh great more divergence"

"This page starts out by implying that XHTML and 
XHTML2 don't exist. Then it goes on to show 
examples of 'web forms 2' using shortcut filled, 
unbalanced HTML4 style markup.

Tag soup is evil. Sure they say there's a version 
of HTML5 that resembles valid XML (XHTML5), but it 
sure seems like they don't want anyone to use it.

XForms, 'nuff said: http://www.w3.org/TR/xforms/"

"i thought HTML 5 was supposed to be XHTML 1.0?"

"This article is a joke.


"HTML 5? Please tell me this is a joke..."

"This is horrible. It's a mess and I personally 
can't believe that it's on Opera's dev site."

"I prefere XForms (MVC Pattern).
HTML > 4 IMHO have no sense since there are XHTML."


Harmonizing the concepts of WF2 and XForms Full 
into something like XForms Tiny to get a more 
consistent story out there would seem to be a good 

Not doing so leaves a bigger mess. Developing 
XForms Tiny together is a limited time offer from 
the W3C Forms WG to reduce confusion. Separatism 
will make this option go away - a behaviour which 
cannot be the intent of a W3C Working Group trying 
to reduce confusion and create a standard, in the 
interest of the Web and perhaps not in the 
interest of certain individuals and/or companies.

- Sebastian


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