Mozilla XForms Project threatened by cut-backs

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A couple of weeks ago, I took the second preview release of the Mozilla XForms Project for a spin, demonstrating how it could be used along with the FormsPlayer plug-in for Internet Explorer to create cross-browser XForms.

Unfortunately, despite all the promise of that preview, things are suddenly looking very grim for XForms support in Mozilla. News has come that Novell, in a round of cut-backs, has dismissed the entire development team on the project, including lead developer Allan Beaufour, who wrote about it in his blog.

Though the project was open source and had the support of several volunteer members of the development community, the main development effort was launched and funded by Novell. Without that support, the project–tantalizingly close to a 1.0 release–may not have the momentum to carry it forward for the foreseeable future.

As a fan of XForms, I’m deeply disapointed by this news. I was even preparing a presentation for the Melbourne Open Source Developer Conference on the subject of Mozilla XForms in December. It looks like I’ll have to come up with something different to speak about now.

Update: Allan Beaufour has posted to the netscape.public.mozilla.xml newsgroup regarding the future of the project:

I’m still hanging around for now, and there are both IBM resources and volunteers working on it, so it’s not dead at all. It’ll be finished somehow, no worries.

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  • Etnu

    If xforms is deemed important enough, it’s sure to live on, whether it’s developed entirely by volunteers or gets funding from corporate entities with incentives to do so.

    Right now, I don’t think it’s going to be considered “important enough”. Xforms is interesting, to be sure, but it’s really not a show-stopper for most things.

  • http://www.sentrylogin.com/ ericshawnSentry

    Like any of the newer technologies, Xforms need to reach a critical mass before usership becomes ubiquitous. Kind of like no one will hire you without experience, and you can’t get any experience until someone hires you.

    Eric Shawn – Sentrylogin.com

  • Erik Bruchez

    This is a sad news. It is necessary that XForms implementations are developed so that application developers can evaluate the technology through more than an abstract specification. And XForms is really worth it: it’s not a question of whether you can do things without XForms, of course you can. But XForms’s programming model is extremely powerful and cross-platform, and that makes it unique. Once you’ve started working with XForms, you simply can’t imagine how you developped web apps before.

    Let’s hope IBM or other developers pick up the Firefox implementation. Luckily, in spite of this, there are other XForms implementations in the works, but a native Firefox implementation of XForms 1.0 would definitely be a major boost for XForms.

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  • .

    Maybe this will mean webforms will be the future and not xforms… I mean other browsers seem not to want to support xforms but rather webforms including a lot of mozilla developers.