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Form Generation From a Prototypical Data Instance Disclosure Number: IPCOM000132059D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Nov-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-30
Document File: 1 page(s) / 24K

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Current art exists to provide an initial version of a form given an Extensible Markup Language (XML) Schema. The resulting initial form arises from the schema in one of two ways: first, every data item that the schema makes possible is reflected as an input in the generated form, or, second, by requiring user intervention to filter the possible data items, resulting in a more-desirable subset of controls in the generated form. The use of a prototypical data instance that conforms to an XML schema as the starting point for forms generation, rather than the schema itself, has advantages over both of these approaches.

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Form Generation From a Prototypical Data Instance

Clearly, providing instance data gives the opportunity for forms-generation tooling to generate inputs only for those fields available in the instance. However, since the instance document is still tied to the schema, the metadata provided in the schema can still be used during forms generation. Put simply, the instance determines "what" will be generated, and its associated schema determines "how" it will be generated.

In most scenarios, providing instance data as the starting point for forms generation also has advantages over providing user input for filtering. Firstly, (and somewhat obviously), less user intervention means more automation, which generally means cost savings. Secondly, providing a data instance decouples a data source from the form generation; that is, a variety of data sources could exist, as long as connectors exist to transform them to a data instance format to be fed to a forms generator. In this way, for example, an XML-enabled database could easily provide input to a generator without any user intervention. Thirdly, even when user intervention occurs, the choices made by a user should be repeatable. This means that some serialized format must exist that represents the choices made; an XML instance provides this, and a system that uses data instances as a starting point could consume these serializations of prior choices without any transformation/mapping.

This methodology limits the discu...