Using XForms with Mozilla

J. David Eisenberg

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Beijing • Cambridge • Farnham • Köln • Sebastopol • Tokyo

January 2, 2007


The XForms technology gives you many advantages over ordinary XHTML forms. The XForms technology separates your form’s data and presentation and submits your data as XML.

XForms-aware applications can validate your data as you type it and can also submit your data to different servers and even store it in files.

This tutorial shows you how to use Mozilla to start working with XForms.

XForms Overview


In the bad old days, HTML was written with content and presentation mixed together. Sites were hard to modify, and content could not be transferred easily from the Web for other uses. Then Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) came along, and people were able to separate the content from the presentation. They had to learn a lot of new things in order to use CSS, but in return they gained a way to build and maintain web sites more easily and to repurpose their content.

When it comes to HTML forms, you’re still stuck in the bad old days: the data you collect is intimately tied to the form elements. In a sense, the form is the data. Just as CSS allowed people to separate content and presentation, XForms lets you separate your data from the form elements.

XForms lets you do other things that HTML forms can’t do, such as validate input as it’s ...

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