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XForms is an official W3C recommendation for the data processing and presentation of forms.

As opposed to the traditional HTML-based forms, XForms isXML-based and allows for the separation of presentation and content giving developers the ability to reuse forms for multiple platforms and devices (e.g. PDAs, cell phones, etc.). From a W3C XForms press release:

By splitting traditional HTML forms into three parts—XForms model, instance data, and the XForms user interface—XForms cleanly separates presentation from content. This separation brings new advantages:

  • Reuse: XForms modules can be reused independently of the information they collect
  • Device independence: user interface controls are abstract—that is, their generic features are the only thing indicated—so they can easily be delivered to different devices with different capabilities
  • Accessibility: separation of presentation from content leaves information more readily available for users of assistive technologies; in addition, the user interface controls encapsulate all relevant metadata such as labels, thereby enhancing accessibility of the application when using different modalities.

Update (oct 2009). XForms may not survive, since the new HTML5 input forms just build on top of the older HTML format. It has to be seen whether XHTML5 implementations will include XForms ...


XForms processors

Currently the XForms standard is not supported by any browser natively, though plugins exist for Windows Internet Explorer and Firefox 2.0 KBenetos 11:24, 30 January 2007 (MET) has not yet tested any of these plugins.

For further information on software support see for example Wikipedia's XForms article.

Here is an unsorted and really not representative list of some software:

Browser extensions:

Pure (portable) JavaScript processors:

Flash-based processors:

Other languages:

Other things

E.g. generators, filters, server-side technologies


XForms engines

  • XForms in Firefox - a good intro to XForms and tutorial on installing and using XForms with Firefox.

Standards and bodies

Tutorials and Introductions