The Web Forms Wars

19 February 2005

Pemberton blasted the scripting approach taken in Web Forms 2.0, saying it doesn't scale well, is harder to maintain, doesn't address industry requirements and use cases, and doesn't provide the ability to take snapshots of each step in a forms-based process for sensitive industrial or governmental applications.

"The WHAT approach works OK for small examples," Pemberton said. "But actors like the Department of Defense say 'no scripting.'"

Maybe I've missed something, but I was under the impression that Web Forms 2 is about reducing the amount of scripting needed to author usable forms for the web – in comparison to what we need to put up with today, at least.

But probably it's just that some (most?) of the guys at the W3C are living in corporate/academic ivory towers. A tiny subset of the real world where new, complex standards that break compatibility with existing user agents still have a chance to succeed. Those folks effectively halted evolution of the web when they decided, a couple of years ago, that “HTML was dead” – that the web needed revolution not evolution. Pretty much nothing “recommended” since then has had any real impact on the web as we know it. (Well, there's the whole web services thing, but that's another story altogether.)

XHTML 2 and XForms is not the way forward, because it provides no path to get from here to there. And that's exactly what the WHAT-WG and Web Forms 2 are about.