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From Thomas Nichols <>
Subject Re: XForms with Cocoon
Date Fri, 17 Sep 2004 14:41:04 GMT

Very interesting - thanks. If anyone's interested I'll be bringing some 
experiences with current XForms implementations to XML Open in 
Cambridge, UK on Wed -
There's quite a lot happening with XForms at the moment.
    - Thomas.

Lars Huttar wrote:

>Since Thomas asked about anyone being interested in
>XForms with Cocoon, I thought I would share the results of my
>looking into the combination the last few days.
>Doubtless, many will know more about this subject than me,
>so I welcome corrections and additions.
>This email will just focus on the how-to, not on the why of
>XForms in Cocoon.
>Potential approaches:
>XMLForms was an XForms package that was part of Cocoon, but
>has been removed. (See
>There seems to have been a project called ExFormula, which,
>according to,
>was to implement XForms for Cocoon. However the sourceforge
>project page seems to lack anything beyond the initial
>"what it's going to do" statement.
>(Side note: The Web Service Proxy in Cocoon 2.1 depends on XMLForms,
>but the samples for the proxy in did not work for
>me. I don't know if that is because XMLForms was removed, or what.
>If this sample is no longer expected to work, it should probably
>be marked as such. Too bad; it sounds like a useful thing.)
>Chiba ( is a servlet webapp
>(i.e. like a sibling of Cocoon rather than its child) that
>implements XForms. I'm not sure how easy it would be to use
>Chiba from within Cocoon.
>There is a project called Chicoon whose purpose is to integrate
>Chiba into Cocoon. However, it seems to have lain dormant since
>April 2003 and is not compatible with recent versions of
>Chiba or Cocoon.
>There is little documentation on how to use it either.
>The Chiba Cookbook has a section on Chicoon but it's empty.
>As I looked for XForms implementations, my ideal was an open-source
>package that would allow client-side XForms functionality without
>users having to install additional software (such as a plugin).
>Looking through the list at
>(which still lists Cocoon XMLForms, btw), I found "Mozquito DENG
>zero-install XForms".
>[Another helpful XForms implementation list is at
>The DENG blurb says "Mozquito's latest XForms implementation is fully client-side and
written in
>Actionscript to allow instant deployment for any flash-6-enabled browser on the web. Mozquito
>deploys XForms on for personal communication including Email and Blog
over the
>web via XForms. Supported are subsets of CSS2, CSS3, XHTML, XForms, XFrames and SVG."
>I tried DENG and have had good success with it, with a few caveats.
>Good points:
>1) It's free.
>2) Doesn't require an explicit software download (if SWF is already there).
>3) DENG is tiny - about 76KB.
>4) Looks good.
>5) Cool idea -- using a Shockwave movie as an XForms renderer.
>6) Lets you deploy XForms to users right away, without having
> to develop or decide on stylesheets for rendering.
>7) It's pretty easy to generate the necessary code from Cocoon.
>You just generate an HTML page that contains an <object> tag;
>the latter has URLs for (a) the deng.swf renderer file on your server,
>and (b) the XForms XML document you want to use. Make sure you also put
>pipelines in your sitemap to serve requests for (a) and (b).
>8) The rendering is customizable via CSS.
>Demos of DENG can be found at
>See e.g.
>OK, now the caveats:
>1) It's not highly obvious how to get your web pages to use DENG.
>However I wrote a tiny how-to which is currently at
>and with that, it should be easy.
>2) Only a subset of XForms is supported. I'm not sure what's left out;
>a feature list is available at
>3) Users do have to have a Flash plugin installed. However it seems to
>me that most will already have it, or can easily do so.
>4) It's a little slow in "rendering" the forms... it can take a few seconds.
>But if you have something for users to look at at the top of the page
>and the XForm rendering at the bottom, it's not noticeable.
>5) If it has to scroll, instead of using browser scrollbars at the side
>of the window where you expect them, you have SWF scroll buttons across
>the top and bottom of the window, which are not as easy to use.
>6) The rendering of the XForms is customizable with CSS, but if you
>needed to do more flexible transforms, a la XSLT, between the XForms
>markup and the rendering step, you don't have that option.
>The caveats don't seem to bad for the time being. Moreover, I feel
>comfortable with them because I'm not locked in. If I decide on a
>different solution, I should be able to repurpose the XForms output to
>some other renderer, such as Chicoon, without much trouble.
>I haven't done this yet, but I will most likely create an "insert DENG object"
>transformer that isolates any DENG-specific code from the rest.
>I should add a disclaimer... I'm pretty new to XForms (and CForms).
>So far I have really only worked with a simple form display sample,
>and have not delved into repeater widgets or submission options. So it's
>possible that there are issues of substance that I haven't yet encountered.
>I would be interested in hearing from others about their experiences
>with Cocoon and XForms.
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