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Processing and Rendering XForms on the RCP platform Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129858D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Oct-07
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 2 page(s) / 51K

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The article describes an eForm processing and rendering software component developed by IBM* based on the XForms standard which executes within the context of the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (RCP).

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 52% of the total text.

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Processing and Rendering XForms on the RCP platform

The problem of providing an eForm processing solution for the RCP can be seen from 2 viewpoints: 1. The definition of a format for the user interface and processing of an interactive form in the Rich Client Platform, which makes use of the user interface capabilities inherent to the Rich Client Platform.

Users of the Rich Client Platform require a means of creating forms used to access, display and edit data in a database or similar data structure. There are not yet any standards for such interactive forms in the Rich Client Platform.

To allow for the maximum functionality with the minimum of interaction with a server, as is preferable for when the client is running without a network connection, as much processing and validation of the form and its data as possible should be carried out on the client.

Such a format should aim to maximize the amount of processing performed through declarative statements and minimize the amount of procedural scripting required, to prevent many users having to duplicate complex code and to allow less advanced users to use the product without specialized knowledge.

  Most existing forms for the Rich Client Platform are programmer-defined with the interaction coded in high-level languages. Some format for forms that users could design would have to have been agreed on at some point. 2. Enabling the Rich Client to display XForms documents, to allow the platform to support this new standard for interactive forms.

The XForms standard has been recommended by the W3C since October 2003, and is growing in acceptance and prominence. It is highly likely that applications for the Rich Client Platform would at some stage have to support the format, so that users might view such forms. The standard approach to XForms processing has been to add a plugin to a web browser which performs the behind-the-scenes processing but which uses the web browser's UI rendering capabilities.

Hence the most likely approach to supporting XForms on the Rich Client would have been to embed an XForms-enabled web browser in it, with which the user could interact with the form using the standard XHTML widgets (interactive controls).

    This article suggests that all of the XForms processing and presentation be executed within the Rich Client Platform. For the IBM implementation the XForms processing and rendering are two distinct RCP plug-ins. The XForms processing plug-in provides an XForms 1.0 compliant processing engine and an IBM* defined public API. The XForms engine implements, among other things, the XForms event processing, data binding, validation and support for submitting the completed form. The XForms rendering plug-in provides the User Interface (UI) rendition of an XForms...