XForms exhaustion

In case you haven’t noticed, or are not using the Firefox XForms extension, it isn’t compatible with Firefox 2.0.0.4 (see e-mail discussion in progress). It seems that some forms will work, but there are problems with repeats, switch (and the two combined), and probably other elements as well. This is a little odd because I remember some discussion from last week about version .8 being ready. But I haven’t seen anything about it since 2.0.0.4 came out.

This means my new forms are pretty much useless right now.   Of course you can say no to the “Would you like to install the latest Firefox?” pop-up, but I noticed that when I restarted my computer Firefox did a stealth update anyway. I can’t really expect my users to reinstall the old version of Firefox everytime they want to  edit metadata. There have also been some other difficulties with the Firefox extension from the standpoint of my users. For example to post data to the Solr index you have to specifically allow your XForms to access a different domain (see instructions). This isn’t difficult to do, and it only has to be done once, but it is another stumbling block for users of the forms.

Although I’m hoping  version .8 of the extension will be out soon to give me a reprieve, I think this is the turning point; starting this week I’ll be migrating my forms over to Orbeon.  What a way to start the week.

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7 Responses to “XForms exhaustion”

  1. Kurt Cagle Says:

    The 0.8 plugin should be available soon … they were basically just doing final clearances with the mothership before landing it, last time I talked to the Moz XForms team.

  2. Kurt Cagle Says:

    Followup – I just saw this posted:

    http://groups.google.com/group/mozilla.dev.tech.xforms/browse_thread/thread/8425566faf17095d/a1c75ba7b339d586?#a1c75ba7b339d586

  3. wsalesky Says:

    Thanks Kurt. I’ve been following that thread. Looks like the extension will be out by Wednesday, which does give me some breathing room. We are not so busy that a few days off is going to be a problem.

    But I still think a more stable solution is going to be important for us. I have really enjoyed the ease of implementation that I have experienced with the extension, but I don’t think it will work for us as we get a larger and more distributed editing network.

  4. Kurt Cagle Says:

    Not knocking Orbeon (I regularly talk with that team), but I’ve invested pretty heavily into the Mozilla XForms implementation, and with a few minor caveats (such as the minimal XF1.0 insert/delete capability, which will be fixed with this implementation and the move to support the XF 1.1 spec in that area), I’ve found the MozXForms implementation to be reasonably solid.

    Admittedly, I’m also willing to accept the tradeoff of standardizing on a single browser to achieve that (something which may not work for you). Orbeon and FormsPlayer are both good solutions; they are both stable, have a fairly high degree of deployment, and while each have their limitations, overall they’ve handled a lot of the hard problems that Mozilla is only just getting to.

    Out of curiosity, what’s the server side of your Forms equation?

  5. wsalesky Says:

    Actually I’ve been a really big fan of the Mozilla XForms implementation (I’m still a fan). I just have a problem with this kind of interruption in workflow, no blame on the XForms team, I think they are doing a great job and are very responsive. But it will become more difficult for me as time goes on and I have more buy-in from other departments in my institution to insure that everyone who is using the system is set up properly.

    There is also the XForms 1.1 specs which would make some of my forms much easier to use, and create. The single platform and even the XForms 1.1 specs were not problematic enough for me to make the switch (especially since I knew the 1.1 features are coming), but the increase in form use here is really making me worry about relying on my end users being understanding when this kind of interruption happens, and also the single browse might become more problematic.

    I’m using eXist, xquery and xforms (and solr for searching).

  6. Daniel E. Renfer Says:

    I’ve been using Orbeon Forms since shortly after the 3.0 release and I am a very big fan.

    One thing you could always do, assuming you don’t get into the habit of using too many Orbeon-specific features, is serve a pure XHTML+XForms page to clients that support/request it, and serve a OF-hosted javascript form to everybody else.

    I really couldn’t tell you how hard it would be to do something like that, because personally, I’m addicted to Orbeon’s support of XPath 2 :)

  7. wsalesky Says:

    Hi Daniel,
    I will be trying to stay as close to pure XForms as possible, but i don’t think I would want to maintain two sets of forms, when my main resistance to Orbeon is just getting started, which I’ve pretty much overcome at this point. There is a lot to like about it.

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