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I have been thinking a bit about TWiki forms and why I'm not 100% happy with them.

I decided that what I would prefer instead is to associate an XML schema with each form type. You would need some way of rendering an XML topic into (a) a view page and (b) an edit page. In the edit case you would need to be able to interpret the response back into new XML. You would also need default XML for new topics.

The reasoning behind this is that TWiki forms are moving away from knowledge to information. Wikis are about knowledge (unstructured content). Forms are about information (structured content). TWiki has the infrastructure set up already (in particular, RCS) so this is a relatively simple approach to information management. It means that sites can get both knowledge management and information management in one application system.

For extra points, you can enable a database back end to read the XML and index it, and then provide a search syntax to read the database.

For more points, you can also enable plugins or the like to apply business rules (e.g. validation) to the XML data.

Oh, and you can make it read mail. All systems eventually expand to read mail.

-- MartinEllison - 28 Apr 2002

Use of XML was discussed when the TWikiMetaData was first proposed - see GenericMetaDataStoreForTopics. However, it was decided that sticking with TWikis line orientated variable syntax was a better bet for the time being. XML is an attractive backend storage format for Wikis, but retrofitting it cleanly to TWiki is no easy matter - for example much of the regular expression matching in TWiki will not work very well for XML.

-- JohnTalintyre - 30 Apr 2002

My thoughts were not about TWikiXML by the way which is (was?) about replacing the existing TWiki internal format with XML (for TWikiXML, the XML schema would be fixed by the TWiki developers).

Except that I would supersede the existing TWiki forms (but with an XML schema that was form-specific and invented by the form author).

-- MartinEllison - 02 May 2002

moved out of date sequence from TWiki web docs comment - please re-move if more appropriate topic if necessary, I just looked quickly for a spot - MM

Drawing is not editable here (insufficient permission or read-only site)

Any chance of requiring users to produce a conformant xml template? The xml data then be validated and then parsed to the perl. I suspect there are a number of users who would benefit from simplifying the form creation by making TwikiMetaData 'pure xml'.

Looking at the table plugin it's clear that it is not difficult to create tables. Enabling an xml interface/storage would certainly enhance content control and generation.

If an XSD was established then all data could be validated by the TwikiXSD as conformant. An XSL could then parse the XML to perl for display.

-- DennisDaniels - 18 Mar 2002

Topic attachments
I Attachment History Action Size Date Who Comment
Unknown file formatdraw xml_template.draw r3 r2 r1 manage 2.2 K 2002-03-18 - 12:53 DennisDaniels  
GIFgif xml_template.gif r3 r2 r1 manage 5.1 K 2002-03-18 - 12:53 DennisDaniels  
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Topic revision: r5 - 2004-01-16 - PeterThoeny
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