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Introduction To XForms

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XForms is the next generation of HTML forms.

XForms uses XML to create input forms on the Web.

What You Should Already Know

Before you continue you should have a basic understanding of the following:

  • HTML
  • HTML Forms
  • XML

If you want to study these subjects first, find the tutorials on our Home Page.

What Is XForms?

  • XForms is the next generation of HTML forms
  • XForms is richer and more flexible than HTML forms
  • XForms will be the forms standard in XHTML 2.0
  • XForms is platform and device independent
  • XForms separates data and logic from presentation
  • XForms uses XML to define form data
  • XForms stores and transports data in XML documents
  • XForms contains features like calculations and validations of forms
  • XForms reduces or eliminates the need for scripting
  • XForms is a W3C Recommendation

XForms Is The Successors Of HTML Forms

Forms are an important part of many web applications today. An HTML form makes it possible for web applications to accept input from a user. 

Today, ten years after HTML forms became a part of the HTML standard, web users do complex transactions that are starting to exceed the limitations of standard HTML forms.

XForms provides a richer, more secure, and device independent way of handling web input. We should expect future web solutions to demand the use of XForms-enabled browsers (All future browsers should support XForms).

XForms Separate Data From Presentation

XForms uses XML for data definition and HTML or XHTML for data display. XForms separates the data logic of a form from its presentation. This way the XForms data can be defined independent of how the end-user will interact with the application.

XForms Uses XML To Define Form Data

With XForms, the rules for describing and validating data are expressed in XML.

XForms Uses XML To Store And Transport Data

With XForms, the data displayed in a form are stored in an XML document, and the data submitted from the form, are transported over the internet using XML.

The data content is coded in, and transported as Unicode bytes.

XForms Is Device Independent

Separating data from presentation makes XForms device independent, because the data model can be used for all devices. The presentation can be customized for different user interfaces, like mobile phones, handheld devices, and Braille readers for the blind.

Since XForms is device independent and based on XML, it is also possible to add XForms elements directly into other XML applications like VoiceXML (speaking web data), WML (Wireless Markup Language), and SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

XForms Is A W3C Recommendation

XForms 1.0 became a W3C Recommendation in October 2003.

The official W3C recommendation can be found at this link:


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