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Check out the XForms Institute

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Check out the XForms Institute

Having recently covered XForms—an XML-based form specification and input handling vocabulary—in Tips entitled "XForms and useful implementations" and "Manage user input with XForms" I was thrilled to get an e-mail from Micah Dubinko about some new and interesting XForms resources earlier this week (for those who don't already know, Dubinko is the author of the excellent O'Reilly & Associates book, XForms Essentials, August 2003, ISBN: 0-596-00369-2).

It seems he's put together an interactive Web forms school that goes by the name of the XForms Institute online, in association with Amazon.com. As the editor of the W3C's XForms 1.0 Recommendation, Dubinko is of course uniquely well-equipped to offer training, insight, information, and copious examples on this potentially useful and powerful XML application.

The primary focus of the site is an interactive XForms tutorial in six lessons, each of which includes one or more markup examples of varying complexity and a simple, interactive markup check (where the reader is asked to create XForms markup, then shown a correct implementation):

  • Introduction: covers basic XForms capabilities and design philosophy.
  • Binding: explains how to relate an XForms Model to the XForms User Interface, the role of XPath in making XForms work, and how instance data collects and organizes user input.
  • XForms Properties: Covers key XForms properties and related XPath expressions.
  • Form Controls: Cover XForms form controls and the appearance attribute that governs basic look and feel for XForms displays.
  • Submitting Data: Covers the HTTP submission methods that XForms supports, and explains how and when to use each one.
  • Further Reading: Pointers to further reading on XForms and other related XML applications.

The short course is simple, easy to follow, and takes less than an hour to complete. By the time it's completed, those who hack their way through it will understand basic XForms syntax and semantics.

You'll also find other interesting XForms resources here as well. These include regularly updated XForms news (including an RSS feed), a free, HTML- or DocBook-based, full-text version of Dubinko's XForms Essentials, plus pointers to key W3C XForms resources, including the XForms 1.0 Recommendation, an XForms FAQ, and a tutorial by Steve Pemberton called "XForms for HTML Authors."

This site is definitely worth a visit for anybody who wants to learn more—or do more—with XForms.


About the Author

Ed Tittel is a VP of Content Development & Delivery at CapStar LLC, an e-learning company based in Princeton, NJ. Ed runs a small team of content developers and project managers in Austin, TX, and writes regularly on XML and related vocabularies and applications. E-mail Ed at etittel@lanw.com.


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