My company will soon be releasing an XForms processor that supports XForms by leveraging Ajax engines. The XForms mark-up is not converted server-side, but instead the 'pure' forms are delivered to the browser which processes them, and makes use of an Ajax library to provide much of the actual functionality. (At the moment the library supports YUI for all features, and has a few Dojo- and script.aculo.us-compatible adapters in place as a proof of concept.)
Sending the full XForms to the browser means that you can use any server technology you like with your forms. This architecture is quite nice, since you get most of the benefits of using an XForms processor like formsPlayer
or the FIrefox plug-in
, but with the easy deployment and browser-compatibility model provided by Ajax. And most importantly, you get to do Ajax using mark-up; our library supports some SMIL animations as well as XForms, further decreasing the need for script.
One thing I'm really excited about is what I've called Progressive Browser Enhancement
, which XForms lends itself to very nicely; the idea is that if the user installs components like a system tray message processor, browser extensions, offline storage such as Google Gears, or whatever, the XForms library makes use of the component without having to modify any code.
That takes XForms to a whole other level when it comes to creating web 2.0 applications.
We're still preparing the modules for release as an open source project, so I can't give you any links at the moment, but feel free to contact me if you want to know more. The code will be dual-licensed, so that non-open source projects can still make use of the library.
Product-plugging aside (hopefully I haven't overstepped the mark here!), I think XForms is a good way to go for web 2.0-style applications, and as the year progresses, you'll see applications being built along exactly the lines that you are considering.