Re: New look at forms - look at ANSI FIMS / DECForms for spec

Craig Hubley (
Sat, 15 Apr 95 14:43:32 EDT

> As someone writing forms for a commercial vendor I am deeply frustrated at the
> lack of the
> form abilities. If the web is to provide capabilities for vendors then the
> whole form category needs some rethinking. Web use is taking off like a rocket

I agree.

> and yet the ability of vendors is still stuck in text based, point and click
> links, and the most simple of fill out forms.
> ...
> experience with HTML forms, as well as other GUI-building tools like CD
> ROM authoring tools or Motif/X) to take a look at the current <FORM>
> mechanism, take a look at the HTML 3.0 proposal (particularly file

You have missed the most important reference. ANSI already has a Forms
Interface Management Standard ("FIMS") which was implemented almost fully
in DECforms and I think other products by now.

It's model of the form includes field- and form-wide value constraints,
mechansims for checking other types of integrity, and it covers a very
broad range of multiple-choice selection mechanisms. Even if its model
of the form is a little too 'intelligent' for HTML, it's specification
should be one of the first things investigated... work already done for
us by a very thorough committee...!

> upload, "scribble", and such - admittedly it doesn't add much) and then
> step back and design a more comprehensive set of improvements and new
> functions to <FORM>, and present that as a proposal. <FORM> is one of
> the most undernourished parts of the HTML spec.

I agree. But to nourish it, we should first figure out the logical limits
of its growth...then figure out what to add first.

> Ideally <FORM> could be revamped so instead of just text interaction
> arbitrary media types could be plugged in... chew on that for a bit.

Not sure how far FIMS went in this but the standard is recent ('91 I think)
so there is at least a mechanism for it proposed.

Craig Hubley                Business that runs on knowledge
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