IBM not happy at all
I could also have titled that "we're gonna eliminate you, bastard"...
John Boyer from IBM is upset. Very upset. No, seriously. First, he sent incredibly harsh messages to the W3C chairs mailing-list (member-only, sorry) about WebForms, and he even insulted Hixie. I posted a reply (member-only, sorry). Now IBM posts on various member-only AND public mailing-lists their point of view on WF2:
- they don't want a second forms spec made for the Web - even
simple web pages - while XForms would be preferred for complex and
a different more HTML-oriented solution "on the wire".
On this point we respectfully disagree
- they think WF2 and XForms should merge
we are pushing so strongly for unification
- they acknowledge the fact the WF2 spec is good
The first working draft of Web Forms 2.0 contains many good features
- Because some WF2 features also exist in XForms,
they're good !
many of the features exist in the XForms
recommendation. From this we conclude that many of these features are of
use, not just at the server, but on the wire as well
- IBM repeats they want the two specs to merge
XForms and WF2 have very many features and use cases in common, so it
should be possible to unify the two with a common syntax.
- IBM acknowledges the fact WF2 makes forms simple
while XForms does not
the extent to which new features of HTML
can be accessed as simply as possible to scale up the functionality of
content gradually (...) is a strength of Web Forms 2.0 that needs to be better
incorporated into XForms.
- IBM wants XML
new features in HTML should be defined via XML syntax rather than non-XML
- and in conclusion, IBM repeats and officializes its
position that the WebApps WG should disappear and WebForms should be
given to the XForms WG. Same thing for WebApps and the HTML WG.
In conclusion, IBM strongly advocates for the renewed charter of the
XForms and HTML working groups to include unification of the Web Forms 2.0
work with emphases on the ease-of-use benefits from WF2 and the XML basis
from XForms. There will be compromises required of all parties, but also
significant synergies that become possible by accommodating the full range
of forms expertise available in the W3C.
- While I am here, John Boyer did not answer my question
posted to firstname.lastname@example.org:
I'd like to know how a Working Group that put HTML4 in *strict* errata
mode years ago can be relevant here. Why the HTML WG should now deal
with new proposed evolutions of the couple html4/xhtml1 when they
consider html4 **extinct** for the future of the Web ?
Aaaaah. Let me translate that into more human-readable form:
- the WebApps Working Group is a pain in the ass, and their spec Web Forms is a major threat to our big investment into XForms.
- we must save the soldier XForms because the current business model of IBM totally oriented towards services needs XForms.
- we tried to block this spec at a high W3C level and it did not work ; not only the management level of W3C refuses to block the document, but the WebForms app seems to be quite strongly supported in the browser community. The "browser community" includes key players we cannot neglect.
- we think - and we even wrote it in the chairs mailing-list - that this spec was brought to W3C using, I quote, "guerilla warfare tactics".
- if we cannot defeat WebForms immediately, let's use "guerilla warfare tactics" ourselves and burry it under W3C process and compromises. We'll make XForms percolate into WebForms and in the meantime, XForms implementations will be everywhere and we'll beat WebForms. We're a big company with big power and forces, we surely can do that, we already did it.
IBM probably missed one point : it's too late. HTML5 and WebForms have strong support and they WILL be implemented in browsers. Despite of a very polite phrasing, IBM's message is nothing but a declaration of war. A mozillian summarized that very well on irc.mozilla.org :
* WeirdAl reads that as "Abandon WF2, merge it into XForms"