The XForms team finished our face-to-face meeting in Amsterdam last week. A major focus of the work on XForms 1.2 is called modularization.
The rationale for this work is the observation that the set of XML data processing problems which may have first arisen in the electronic form space are really more generally applicable to the XML data processing needs of RIAs and web applications. On the other hand, those who hear the word "form" may think they do not have a form problem because they still think of a "form" as a simple or static application like those for ordering pizza or flowers. However, XForms has solved numerous problems that keep coming up again and again throughout the W3C standards stack as well as the web application stack. By modularizing the components of XForms, we believe we can increase adoption of the components in other technologies which may not have need of all aspects of XForms.
The current view of the XForms 1.2 modularization can be viewed here. As an example of the rationale above, consider an application that may want to use the submission capability from XForms in a regular web application. The application would import the instance data module, but it might have an application-specific way of populating a data instance with data. The submission module would reference a data instance for the upload data and another instance for the submission results. An application-specific method would then be invoked to consume the submission result into the application, but the means of invoking that method could be an event handler for the xforms-submit-done event. The key issue here is that submission could be consumed by a non-XForms application without needing to incorporate the XForms recalculation engine, user interface controls and so forth.
The full elaboration of this modularization will allow applications to consume pieces of XForms incrementally, including the notion of data validation, data relevance, declarative data calculations, event-drive action scripting, repeats, switches, groups, basic user interface controls, and of course submissions.