Transformation between XML instance data and HTML form

Discussion in 'XML' started by Ed Lai, Jan 27, 2004.

  1. Ed Lai

    Ed Lai Guest

    A few weeks ago I have the idea of converting XML instance data to a
    HTML form, using tags as the label and the resulting form can be used
    to edit the XML data. So I started to play around with it, and have
    some prelimary proof of concept stuff working. Then I started to
    search around on the web for similar works. There seem to be quite a
    few people with the same idea. The following is an example. However as
    far as I can tell, nobody really takes it to the fullest conclusion.
    And the more I work on the project, I can see more and more
    interesting potential. I would like to get some comment before I go
    too far with my project.

    My work is on this site, bear in mind that a lot of features are
    missing. For example I am working on insert and delete now.

    http://www.datamech.com/XMLForm/

    And for a completely bare bone approach, look at this
    XML file from IE6 (would not work with mozilla.)

    http://www.datamech.com/XMLForm/test.xml

    Ed Lai

    (Frank Einstein) wrote in message news:<>...
    > Looking for a tool that can edit an XML file in a browser. The basic
    > requirement is that the XML file is rendered as an HTML form with
    > editable fields (including add/delete, preferably in accordance with
    > with the document's XSD/DTD or other schema definition). I don't mind
    > the actual form of this tool - could be implemented as a JSP/Servlet,
    > ASP component, or browser plug-in for local or remote XML file access.
    > Alternatively, it doesn't have to be a web browser or HTML as the GUI,
    > but it does need to be form-based (as opposed to element-tree based
    > like most simple XML editors).
    >
    > My initial feeling that something like this would be ubiquitous and
    > freely available seems to have hit up against a different reality
    > after a day of looking. Perhaps tool writers are waiting for
    > standards to progress in this area (XForm ?). Perhaps I'm looking in
    > the wrong places ?
    >
    > As an example of what I'm looking for, the closest thing I've found is
    > described in this series of articles :
    > http://www.xmlfiles.com/articles/michael/searchxml/default.asp (this
    > example uses the Microsoft.XMLDOM asp component)
    >
    > What's missing here is that the generated HTML form simply reflects
    > the current XML document instance, and does not allow for
    > modifications allowable by the XSD/DTD unless they are currently in
    > the XML document instance. For example, it doesn't give a button to
    > add an additional element, if this is allowed by the maxOccurrence in
    > the XSD.
    >
    > So what I want does this:
    > - open user-specified XML doc
    > - (optionally) open XSLT doc for custom GUI/form rendering
    > - open XSD or DTD doc
    > - render GUI form containing XML data in accordance with optional XSTL
    > doc
    > - allow use of HTML/_javascript(or other) controls to change/add/delete
    > elements/paramenters/data etc., within the confines of the XSD/DTD
    > - transform form data back to XML format, valid per XSD/DTD, and save
    > to disk
    >
    > I've also briefly looked at the Cocoon XMLForms stuff (and related),
    > but this seems too comprehensive for what I want... I don't want XML
    > binding to Java objects/beans, I simply want something that will
    > input/output back to/from the original XML file. Maybe there is a
    > tool/sample/example within the Cocoon distribution that does this, but
    > I haven't actually looked yet.
    >
    > Any pointers welcome.
    >
    > ...
     
    Ed Lai, Jan 27, 2004
    #1
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  2. Ed Lai

    rriv Guest

    (Ed Lai) writes:
    > A few weeks ago I have the idea of converting XML instance data to a
    > HTML form, using tags as the label and the resulting form can be used
    > to edit the XML data. So I started to play around with it, and have
    > some prelimary proof of concept stuff working. Then I started to
    > search around on the web for similar works.
    > ...


    Hey, I find this very interesting. I had the same idea, but just looked at
    the web to find any existing tool and didn't try to implement it myself.

    Anyway, a couple of ideas :
    - did you look at XForms ? I guess it may concern
    HTML completed form -> XML instance,
    - In my mind, your "form generator" could by made with a XSL transformation
    generating the HTML form from any XML instance document.
    The really difficult job would be to generalize this to HTML form derivated
    from DTD or XML-Schema... Of course some tools exist (XML structured editors),
    but I couldn't find one working over the Web (in a thin client architecture)

    Bye,

    Robert Rivière
     
    rriv, Jan 28, 2004
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  3. Ed Lai

    Ed Lai Guest

    The most frequent suggetion I got was that I should look into XForms. I
    have read some introduction but not in detail. I guess I would be using
    it in future. Now I would like to have something that at least in its
    minimum configuration can run in as many machine as possible. Using
    XForms now require a special browser or plugin. I often use the computer
    in a public library and of course you cannot install your own software
    there. This is my guideline, you should be able to use it from a public
    library computer. So XForms is for future work, not now, and of course
    that gives me some time to really learn XForms.

    As for using XSLT for the transformation, it is indeed possible and I
    have a shorten version of it, when I suggested looking at
    http://www.datamech.com/XMLForm/test.xml, that uses XSLT to transform
    the test.xml file to HTML form. Although I agree it would be much more
    difficult when we have to take account of XSD/DTD.


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    Ed Lai, Jan 28, 2004
    #3
  4. Ed Lai

    rriv Guest

    Ed Lai <> writes:
    > [about XForms]
    > it in future. Now I would like to have something that at least in its
    > minimum configuration can run in as many machine as possible. Using
    > XForms now require a special browser or plugin.


    AFAIK, the Chiba project implements on server-side XForms managing for a thin-client
    pure HTML navigator.

    I didn't look in deep details, though

    Robert
     
    rriv, Jan 29, 2004
    #4
  5. Ed Lai

    Ed Lai Guest

    Ed Lai, Apr 9, 2004
    #5
  6. Ed Lai

    rriv Guest

    Ed Lai <> writes:

    > A new version that includes insertion and deletion is now available. It
    > can be found in the same location.
    >
    > http://www.datamech.com/XMLForm/
    >


    Hi,

    very interesting work. Nice job. I think it gives a good illustration of global concepts around XML.

    However in "Modify the Input Fields of the Form", you say :
    "Note that with schema information, it is possible to generate these non-text field automatically".

    Yes, definitively. But in my mind *this* is the hot-topic. Having a form generator
    able to produce radio-buttons or drop-down menus from what is in the schema.
    Would you have any plan about this ?

    Robert
     
    rriv, Apr 9, 2004
    #6
  7. Ed Lai

    Ed Lai Guest


    >Ed Lai <> writes:


    >> A new version that includes insertion and deletion is now available.

    It
    >> can be found in the same location.
    >>
    >> http://www.datamech.com/XMLForm/
    >>


    >Hi,


    >very interesting work. Nice job. I think it gives a good illustration

    of global concepts around XML.

    >However in "Modify the Input Fields of the Form", you say :
    >"Note that with schema information, it is possible to generate these

    non-text field automatically".

    >Yes, definitively. But in my mind *this* is the hot-topic. Having a

    form generator
    >able to produce radio-buttons or drop-down menus from what is in the

    schema.
    >Would you have any plan about this ?


    >Robert


    Yes, it is definitely under the plan, although I think the choice
    information is going to be collected from the data.

    BTW, for those who just drop into this thread and do not know what is
    going on, XMLForm is a web based XML editor using HTML Form. It is still
    under development, the first release was in Jan which only allows
    modifying the XML data. I just release a version that allows adding and
    removing elements from the XML data. There will be more features in
    future release. Check it out in http://www.datamech.com/XMLForm/

    Ed


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    Ed Lai, Apr 9, 2004
    #7
  8. Ed Lai

    Ed Lai Guest

    I have posted a new version of the editor that allows you to change a
    text field to a select list or radio buttons, the choices are collected
    from the document.

    For Safari you can only make the select list. The radio buttons would
    not work right.

    As usual, it is located at

    http://www.datamech.com/XMLForm/

    Ed



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    Ed Lai, Apr 14, 2004
    #8
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