Friday, February 24, 2006

The Form Is Out There

After investigating several possibilities (raw DHTML, Backbase...), I have finally opted for Chiba as the presentation engine for jinFORM, my attempt to port MS InfoPath 2003 forms on the web.

Chiba is a cool XForms 1.0 SE implementation that runs on J2EE servers. I investigated it when I started jinFORM last year, but at this time, all actions where bound HTML form post actions, leading to a less than comfortable UI.

The new version, currently in release candidate, is fully AJAX driven, which not only makes it buzz-word compliant, but also dramatically improves the user experience.

Despite several little bugs, the InfoPath forms transformed into XForms and rendered by Chiba are more than usable. So far, the most annoying thing in Chiba is the direct dependency to Log4j: using Commons-Logging would have made it more friendly with the different deployment situations.

I will wave a flag when the first alpha release of jinFORM will be out there.