What’s XForms authoring?

First of all XForms authoring in essence means to use the declarative approach of XForms to build xhtml pages containing logic, calculations, validations, event- handlers, actions and more. You can even write complete applications with this approach.
Everything you’ll write are tags, attributes and CSS rules. You’ll not need to write any JavaScript or Java to make things happen. You don’t even need to understand how all the AJAX, XForms magic is done behind the scenes. But you should have at least a basic understanding of XHTML, CSS and XForms. As you go you’ll probably like to learn about Dojo e.g. for page layout or animations.

Page authoring means to do at least some of the following things:

  •  creating XHTML/XForms documents
  • use XForms models to work with XML data
  • use XForms ‘appearance’ attribute to select between various rendering options
  • use Dojo layout containers for page layout
  • adapt the rich set of pre-existing CSS-classes to your needs
  • add custom CSS matchers to fine-tune styling
  • use XForms actions and events to add logic and behavior
  • use XForms submissions to load or send data
  • add validations and data types to certain data nodes
  • add calculations
  • provide help, hint and alert texts

As an XForms author you’ll not have to worry about:

  • when to display validation errors
  • data validity and consistency. The processor will keep track on all dependencies and revalidates everything when needed
  • keeping client and server in sync
  • wrong or invalid data received by your backend
  • dynamic behavior
  • cross-browser compatibility


5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jason Harrop  |  July 4, 2012 at 4:53 am

    I’ve downloaded lime green and see the dashboard in my web browser. How do I start the XForms editor/authoring tool on any one of the sample included forms?

    • 2. joernturner  |  July 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

      There is a little icon on the upper right side of every entry of the dashboard. Click it to open the fle in the editor. But please be aware that the editor is still an experimental tool and likely has issues.

  • 3. Jason Harrop  |  July 4, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Hi Joern, thanks for your reply, but I can’t see it. What does it look like?

    For example, take http://localhost:8080/betterform/rest/db/betterform/forms/demo/contacts.xhtml

    Is there something I can just append to the URL to open the editor?

    I’m guessing I need to be logged in as administrator, but how do you do that from the betterform dashboard?

    • 4. joernturner  |  July 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm

      You cannot open it from within a form but from the betterFORM dashboard. There are 2 little circles on the right side of each form document. When you hover the left one of these you should see a very little icon. Click it to open the editor.

  • 5. Madhav (@madhavb)  |  October 18, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Is the experimental XForm editor bundled in the limegreen-4.1 installer? I am able to see the small circle which when I click opens it in browser for view (not editable). And there is no option for editor, am I missing something here?


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