This week, Mark came back from the XForms Working Group face-to-face meeting with news of a potential new XForms feature–the ability to handle non-XML responses from submissions.

The motivation for this feature is that there are many services that don’t return XML, but which are crucial to an application; if the form author has no control over these services then it is important to be able to process the non-XML responses. In standard XForms there is no way to get to the response.

(A good example of such a service is the GData authentication mechanism.)

The mechanism for handling this is by defining an additional value for the replace attribute on submission (text), and a new attribute telling the processor whereabouts in the instance data to insert the retrieved data (target).

For example:

  <instance id="inst">  
    <x><y /></x>  
   method="get" action=""  
   replace="text" target="y"  

In this example, the contents of SomeTextFile.txt would be loaded into the node y in the instance.

submission-text- target.html demonstrates the use of these new attributes to insert both text and XML into an instance document. A more in-depth look at this feature can be seen in submission with replace=”text”, and the target attribute in Using formsPlayer.