Requirements for Extended <FORM> Support

Position Paper for the W3C Workshop on the Future of HTML
Rohit Khare, UC Irvine, April 26, 1998


FORMs are a wickedly powerful UI tool. They have not been refreshed in several years. The XML community still thinks forms are sufficient, and should remain isolated in HTML. Shift to applets is bad: let's embrace and extend FoRMs so all UIs can be rendered this way -- reuse and accessibility are better.

We need typing most of all, then new widget types


We need weak typing in forms to enable 'application interoperability' between web resources: being able to exchange higher-level constructs like contact-info rather than mere strings. This interacts with DOM operationally, but I believe there is an obligation on HTML to carry types and new widgets -- especially since the XML community is expecting to thunk back to html for UIs.

Argument Typing

Lots of examples of evolvable typing.

Segue: allows decoupling of datum and interactor.

Interaction Modes

New widgets


DOM: Scripting, of course

Using XML for strucutred arguments and marshalling.

Recommendations on rules for using HTML forms within XML

Possibly a DTD for direct use in XML; it shouldn't always be forced to be EMBED/AUTO.

* Transactional support: sub-submits, interactive fill-in

* CSS/XSL work on 'behavior sheets': how to manipulate focus, visibility of panes (as in an inspector).


Mission: any UI should be representable as markup