Chaos Storms and Metamagicians

by Kurt Cagle

This has been one of the rougher weeks I've faced technologically speaking. A technical glitch forced the server that housed most of the Understandingxml.com content for the last year to reformat itself, wiping out much of what's been there for the last several months. Fortunately, much of this content was also echoed on this site, so not a huge amount has been lost, but it will take a while before all of my essays have been migrated back. For those of you who've wondered where Understandingxml.com has gone, well - it will be back up in time. I'll be using XForms.org as my primary blogging point for a while, until we can get things sorted out with UXML.

It happens periodically that I get hit with what I've come to term a "chaos storm", where technology in general seems to experience extreme entropy around me. When I was first learning computers in high school, I'd actually held off even though programming appealed to me because I had absolutely no aptitude whatsoever with electronics, and even several years later when I was working on a degree in physics I chose fairly esoteric theoretical areas because the experimental physics professors quietly discouraged me from getting anywhere close to a laboratory.


3 Comments

Michael Day
2007-04-22 22:34:32
The next logical extension to this is a way to generate such XForms from the data model schemas in the first place.


This sounds suspiciously like "Let's autogenerate the GUI from the schema!", another Great Idea™ that seems to occur to every programmer at some point, until they eventually come to their senses. It isn't difficult to turn schemas into forms, but you don't get compelling user interfaces by doing so.


2007-04-23 06:35:02
Like HTML forms are compelling. Interesting Interfaces are being created today from annotions in schema. Although Declaration Programming in this manner is not easy it is very powerful. XSLT and JS can create any interface you might need. XFORMS will go the way of JAVASwing. Niche. Sorry Kurt.

2007-04-23 16:00:44
Michael,


Not completely disagreeing with you on the notion of schema driven interfaces, but I'm also not sure I'm ready to throw in the towel on that either. I've long known that realistically you can only build on schemas by creating an intermediate step, and the purpose of that step is to effectively infuse intent into the data model in a reproduceable manner. I've actually built some very compelling interfaces that way, and am close to OSSing the mechanism for doing same.


I'm also inclined to see XForms as a work in progress. As it stands right now, its too complex, even with the interfaces described above; however, I've built XSLT/JS apps, and I find that when I approach them from the perspective of keeping MVC paramount they begin to look an awful lot like XForms. I know a lot of people out there disagree, and there are more than a few days where I wonder if I'm tilting at windmills, but I'm always rather amazed by what CAN be produced in XForms.