Well, now that I can finally log in to the blog system again, it's time for an update on XForms 1.1.
The working group has been addressing the "last call" comments of the community since last call officially ended back at the end of April. Although we got a pretty healthy review during the March and April review period, it so happens that we have received an equal or slightly greater number of review comments after the official review period. The working group has been treating these comments with the special "last call" status as well. This not only maximizes our responsiveness to our community but also, frankly, makes for the highest quality specification, which I think is quite important at the current stage of XForms within the big wide world.
As a side comment, I would say that the bar of technical precision is extremely high, in my opinion, relative to most other W3C groups, and in XForms 1.1 (as well as the new editions of XForms 1.0), we have had great success at tightening up our most sophisticated and powerful features, which is to the benefit of our users.
Since last call started on XForms 1.1, there have been nearly 150 comment records created in our database, which is quite a lot, but the number of records does not tell the full story because very many of those records report half a dozen or a dozen issues at a time, usually amounting to one person's feedback about an entire module within the spec. It is more telling to have a look at the diff marks in the editor's draft of XForms 1.1. There are over 650 and counting!
The working group met in Madrid last week to continue work on the last call. Many thanks go to our gracious hosts at SATEC, who not only provided all the facilities we needed to do the work (and a great dinner on Thursday), but whose members went out of their way for us after the meetings by driving us back to our hotels in the evenings!
When the meetings began in Madrid, we had 48 remaining last call comment records to address. I organized them into related categories, provide a sensible order of attack, and did my best to predict how long to spend on each topic. It was pretty daunting, though, because some of these issues were still open because they were the hardest to deal with and were deferred to the face to face meeting for that reason. I was mightily pleased with how hard the Forms Working Group worked in Madrid. Everyone did their best to elucidate all sides of each technical issue, and to compromise in order to reach consensus. We had a number of issues that were hard because both sides of a debate were crystal clear and each side could even see the sensibility and consistency of the other side, depending on the fundamental set of "axioms" one accepts about XForms as a language and application platform. Yet still, we managed to produce resolutions and then action items for 39 of the last call comment records.
Of the 9 remaining, 3 were resolved on the latest teleconference. Suffice it to say that the next month or so will be busy indeed as we complete all the action items related to the working group's decision and also come to consensus on those last six issues. Hopefully, we can advance XForms 1.1 to "Candidate Recommendation" before the publishing moratorium that is coming before the W3C Technical Plenary in Boston in November. It'll be a close call, but either way the long-awaited "CR" for XForms 1.1 should occur in the next two months at the outside.
Candidate Recommendation is a very important step in the W3C process. It says that the working group thinks the language is done, and the concerns of the wider community about it being done have all been addressed. This is the level of stability in the specification that is needed to support the second meanning of "Candidate Recommendation", which is that it is the "Call for Implementations". To be honest, many implementers have already added support for half or more of the new XForms 1.1 features, but this is the time period in which the working group must formally show a full implementation and at least two interoperating implementations of all features. XForms has no shortage of implementations, but starting to "dot the i's and cross the t's" on the implementation report before the year end.
Clearly, there has never been a better time to be working on XForms!