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Forms that work on both the Web and the desktop

Opinion
Mar 13, 20062 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsOpen Source

Are tools available that can deploy the same data collection forms to the Web and desktop? Both sets should be generated from a single source model, and the desktop version should be able to post data to the same back end used by the Web version.

Are tools available that can deploy the same data-collection forms to the Web and desktop? Both sets should be generated from a single source model, and the desktop version should be able to post data to the same back end used by the Web version.

Check out Formatta, which has the most robust commercial offering for deploying identical forms to the Web and desktop. The client application is free. The server-side application is not.

Adobe PDF forms are another popular commercial form-processing solution. Extensions for Acrobat reader let users save filled-out PDF forms locally for later submission.

There also are commercial and open source tools that use XForms implementations. They can be used to generate multiple versions of form sets for the Web and desktop from a common set of XML files that describe the fields and data to be collected. One commercial example is the XMLSpy family of products, which includes Web and desktop versions of a free XML content editor named Authentic.

Recently, Nuxeo released an XForms engine for Eclipse that generates forms for the desktop in Java. Now the same XForms source files can be used to generate forms for the Web and desktop. XForms rendering add-ons are available on the Web for all but the most obscure browsers.