UWI.com has announced the Extensible Forms Description Language (XFDL), a new language that will make it possible to create, view, and fill in complex business forms and legal contracts on the Internet and intranets.
XFDL, an offspring of the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and UWI.com's proprietary universal forms description language, was created with the help of the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) XML co-editor, Tim Bray, who worked as a consultant for UWI.com.
The new language, expected to be approved by the W3C standards body once the draft is completed on Tuesday, offers the capability of viewing forms with any browser, rather than a proprietary client.
For the first time, it will bring forms processing to Internet-commerce applications using an open protocol. In addition, those forms can be regenerated at a later date to verify their accuracy, which is a critical development in the drive to allow electronic forms to replace paper forms as legally binding documents. This in turn will also allow companies to reduce their dependency on imaging applications, used largely to store electronic representations of paper forms.
Bray has talked informally with bigger companies that use workflow in their suites, such as Netscape, about incorporating XFDL technology. However, no formal talks have yet been held.
UWI.com, in Victoria, British Columbia, can be reached at http://www.uwi.com.