[Standards-JIG] associating fixed Data Form fields with input fields (was new <remember/> element)

Ian Paterson ian.paterson at clientside.co.uk
Sun Jan 8 13:47:36 UTC 2006

> I'd like a <readonly/> tag for fields (equivalent to
> <required/>) to render the field in a disabled state

How about providing a pair of the existing fields instead - 'fixed' and
'hidden'? That would achieve the same logical result. Although I
understand this wouldn't allow the form's creator to distinguish
'readonly' fields from any other fixed fields... unless the two fields
were explicitly linked.

I can see a different advantage of being able to explicitly associate
'fixed' fields to other fields:

IMHO the completeness of forms being returned by current servers often
makes them user unfriendly. There are often simply too many fields. For
example, just to start a chat in a new MUC room the user has to fill in
a form that is sometimes so complex that the form doesn't even fit on a
1200-pixel-high screen!

IMHO the solution is not to reduce the number of fields sent by the
server. A few users will want the control those fields offer, and only
the client can know which combination of fields each individual user
might prefer. A client can already simplify forms by *optionally* not
presenting certain well-known fields to its user. However, the names of
the fixed fields that are associated with groups of 'input' fields are
not standardised. So even if the 'input' fields are hidden, the
associated fixed fields will still be presented to the user!

One way of solving this problem might be to define something like new
optional <var/> child elements of 'fixed' fields that link the 'fixed'
fields to specified input fields. That way, if the client is going to
hide all the input fields associated with a particular fixed field, then
it can ignore the fixed field entirely.

Here is an example of the protocol:

<field type='hidden' var='FORM_TYPE'><value>jabber:bot</value></field>
<field type='fixed'><value>Section 1: Bot
<field type='text-single' label='The name of your bot' var='botname'/>
<field type='boolean' label='Public bot?' var='public'/>
<field type='fixed'><value>Note take care with the fields
<field type='fixed'><value>Section 2:

In this example, if the client is configured to hide 'botname' and
'public' fields in forms with FORM_TYPE 'jabber:bot' then it knows that
on this form it should also ignore the two fixed fields 'Section 1: Bot
Info' and 'Note take care with the fields above'.

- Ian

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