Push Button Paradise
Wed, 18 May 2005
As long as we're talking about community, it's worth pointing out XFormsWiki. We'll see how this develops. Will it be a place to hash out new ideas? Or a place to capture existing ones?
Back on the design of Repeating Things, though, what matters from the markup side is capturing the author's intention. If existing elements and attributes don't cut it, then something new is needed. But as A List Apart nicely covered this week, just inventing new elements and attaching a custom DTD so it "validates" is unsatisfactory.
The key tension here is that authors want to be more expressive, to have "poetic license", while consumers need a very basic and widely-agreed-upon set of crystallized intent markup, since the user agent's job lies in representing the given intention in a way that makes the most sense for the end-user. Authors need freedom. User Agents need restriction. I call this "intention tension".
Standards groups wrestle with intention tension constantly. In fact, it would probably not be an exaggeration to say that the current work on XHTML 2.0 consists primarily of finding an agreeable solution to intention tension.
Some goes for the forms community. We need a generally-agreed-upon vocabulary for expressing data collection intent. It has to be flexible enough for authors and restricted enough for implementers. -m