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September 9, 2003

"XForms Essentials": XML Meets Forms So That Web Applications Can Better Meet Users...and Meet User Needs

Sebastopol, CA--The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; the simplest and most efficient route to highly sophisticated user interactions is XForms. In XForms Essentials (O'Reilly, US $29.95), author Micah Dubinko introduces developers to the next generation of web form standards: XForms--a combination of XML and forms--which delivers a powerful and more workable and versatile alternative to clunky, less user-friendly HTML-based forms.

As a general rule, the more interactive a web site, the more heavily the site's designers rely on web forms (various kinds of technologies that collect information from users). "Ordinary news sites," reports Dubinko, "tend to have as many as seven distinct forms on the home page. Many of these are for search and navigation purposes and appear on every page." XForms, based on a specification approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), allows developers to create highly flexible, web-based, user-input forms for a wide variety of platforms, including desktop computers, handhelds, information appliances, and more.

XForms is changing the way people gather and manage information. It offers a more straightforward and effective way to handle user input than the combination of forms written in HTML, JavaScript, or other controls used on today's typical web pages. XForms also gives developers greater presentation options and new ways to manage user interaction, which promises easier-to-build, more dynamic XML documents. Furthermore, XForms is sure to reduce--if not eliminate entirely--the browser dependencies that have plagued earlier HTML-based web forms.

The time to learn about XForms is now: XForms will eventually replace the HTML forms currently used, and they are already infiltrating both XML development and high-end HTML development (through toolkits which allow designers to create XForms and automatically generate HTML forms with scripts). XForms also impacts new XML vocabularies, which is welcome news for application developers trying to come to terms with XML Schema, the predominant--and predominantly difficult--language for defining the content and structure of XML documents.

And there's no more qualified an expert from whom to learn about XForms: as an editor of the specification, a member of W3C's XForms committee, and a frequent spokesperson on XForms, author Micah Dubinko knows XForms inside and out. The only book currently available devoted exclusively to XForms technology, his new "XForms Essentials" offers developers in both the XML and HTML communities general information on the history and basic construction of forms, a thorough explanation of the XForms specification, and an invaluable guide to taking full advantage of its functionality.

Brimming with real-world examples, detailed guidelines, and practical hints and techniques for working with XForms, "XForms Essentials" equips developers to:

  • Create (or convert existing forms into) XForms files

  • Collect XML data from users in a user-friendly way

  • Reduce the amount of JavaScript needed within browser interfaces

  • Take advantage of XForms without having to write their own code

  • Integrate XForms with both HTML and XML vocabularies

  • Increase the security and reliability of their current forms system while simplifying the connection between client-based user input and server-based processing

Readers will come away with everything they need to integrate this latest standard technology in order to simplify their work with forms, HTML, or XML information--and at the same time maximize the ability and sophistication of their interactive web-based applications.

Additional Resources:

XForms Essentials
Micah Dubinko
ISBN 0-596-00369-2, 240 pages, $29.95 US, $46.95 CA, 20.95 UK
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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