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Subject: HTML form feature list ? DECFORMS/ANSI FIMS features in detail
From: [log in to unmask] (Craig Hubley of CH&A)
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Fri, 5 May 95 06:46:05 EDT
Content-Type:text/plain
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text/plain (234 lines)



My apologies for the text formatting, the report's ultimate consumer=20
*required* that
it be formatted this way.  Ick.  Anyone care to add an 'HTML' column to=20
these tables ?

One thing I like about basing an HTML forms overhaul on FIMS is that it=
 works on
VT-class terminals, one of its major strengths.  This would help keep the=20
text browsers
(like Lynx) from falling behind and keeping HTML useful for shell-access=20
accounts, and
character terminals (e.g. old DOS PCs), which are still very heavily used in=
=20
many places.

IFDL, the Interactive Forms Definition Language, is not procedurally=20
complete but then
neither is HTML.  Its features could probably be cribbed one for one into=20
the HTML spec.

responsibility	   location under	VAX FMS	VAX TDMS	DECforms
---------------				-------	--------	--------
database/file manipulation		application	application	application
form/field interaction/validation	application	requests	form
screen appearance				form		form		form

Features and Functions
----------------------
The following table provides a comparative overview of DECforms
capabilities as compared to FMS, TDMS, and (indirectly) to other forms
management products of that generation.

capability			VAX FMS		VAX TDMS		DECforms
----------			-------		--------		--------
data entry-----------------------
field navigation		in application	in TDMS		in DECforms
field level control	in application	no			in form
record level control	no			in TDMS		in form
cross-field validation	no			no			in form
relational validation	no			no			in form
range/list validation	no			no			in form
modified field indicator yes 			yes			yes
timeout mechanism		yes			no			yes

user interface definition--------------
key redefinition		full			limited		full
runtime video changes	yes			yes			yes
modify field attributes	form creation	form creation	+ runtime
user action routines	yes			no			yes

form appearance-----------------------------
windowing			limited		none			full
color forms			no			no			yes
use of entire VT screen	no			no			yes
multi-page forms		no			no			yes
multi-screen requests	no			no			yes
scrolling regions		yes			full lines		part lines
lines per scrolled entry	one		one			multiple
shared form images	no			no			yes
icons				no			no			yes

globalization--------------------------------
multi-language forms	no			no			yes
international dates	no			no			yes
multi-currency signs	no			no			yes=09
international numerics	no			no			yes
multi character sets	no			no			yes
right-left text motion	no			no			yes
translatable messages	no			no			yes
flexible positioning	no			no			yes

integration-----------------------------------
separate runtime system	yes			yes			yes
program interface		complex		simple		simple
program interface		synchronous		asynchronous	combination
memory resident		yes			no			yes
multi-record transfer	no			yes			yes
ACMS front end		in application	integrated		layered
CDD/Plus integration	no			basic			+ RDB
help processing		basic			basic			VAX messages
data types			strings only	VAX types		VAX types
conforms to a standard	no			no			yes (FIMS)

programming tools----------------------------------
LSE support			no			templates		+diagnostics
form language		simple		no	semi-procedural (IFDL)
form appearance editor	yes			yes			yes
form tester			yes			no			yes
other development tools	no			no			yes (FDE)
converters			to TDMS		to FMS		from both
new releases ?		bug fixes only	bug fixes only	yes

IFDL form definition
--------------------
Objects and attributes:

object		type of control	attribute
------		---------------	---------
field			appearance		bold	=09
"			"			underlined
"			"			character set
"			"			font size
"			"			background/foreground color
"			"			reverse
"			"			blinking
"			"			line width

field			compose form	active highlight
"			"			highlight when...
"			"			protect, protect when...
"			"			conceal, conceal when...
"			"			output when...
"			format output	sign appearance
"			"			sign location: fix/float lead/trail
"			"			currency appearance
"			"			currency location: fix/float
lead/trail
"			"			decimal point: period/comma
"			"	suppress/replace leading/trailing blank/zero
"			"			left/right/decimal justified
"			"			output picture

"			format input	insert literals in string
"			"			insert/overstrike mode
"			"			character type
"			"			uppercase/mixed case
"			"			input picture
"			"			input required
"			"			minimum length
"			"			full field
"			"			no data input
"			"			autoskip
"			"			timeout

"			validate		range clause (e.g. "range 1 thru n")
"			"			search list of valid values
"			"			require (e.g. "require a<b and b>c")
"			"			vs. general expression
"			"			vs. other fields
"			help			associated help messages and panels

Action, procedure, and response:

type of object	type of control	action or clause
--------------	---------------	----------------	=09
action		navigation		cursor left/right
"			"			delete character
"			"			down item/occurrence
"			"			erase field
"			"			exit group next/previous
"			"			insert/overstrike
"			"			left item/occurrence
"			"			next help/item/panel
"			"			previous item/panel
"			"			refresh display
"			"			right item/occurrence
"			"			terminate help
"			"			transmit
"			"			up item/occurence

procedure		functional		activate
"			"			call
"			"			deactivate
"			"			display
"			"			enter help
"			"			exit help
"			"			if/then/else
"			"			include
"			"			invalid
"			"			let
"			"			message
"			"			position
"			"			print
"			"			refresh
"			"			remove
"			"			reset
"			"			return
"			"			signal

order of response	level of response		response
-----------------	-----------------		---------
1st in panel	panel	.	.		panel entry response
1st in group		.	group	.	group entry response
1st in field	.	.	field		entry response
2nd "			.	.	"		operator input
3rd "			.	.	"		data conversion
4th "			.	.	"		function response
5th "			.	.	"		field validation
6th "			.	.	"		validation response
7th "			.	.	"		exit response
1st in icon		.	.	icon		entry response
2nd in "		.	.	"		operator input
3rd in "		.	.	"		function response
4th in "		.	.	"		validation response
5th in "		.	.	"		exit response
2nd in group	.	group	.		group validation response
3rd in "		.	group	.		group exist response
2nd in panel	panel	.	.		panel exit response
				=09
User Interfaces:

User interfaces built in DECforms run on VT series (character) terminals
or 100%-compatible emulators.  DEC will fully support DECwindows and
X/Motif (bitmap) terminals, as well as future VTs, in future releases.
The DECforms style guide helps developers build consistent user
interfaces.

General Interfaces:  	see "capabilities" table above

Language Support:		see "requirements and options" table below=7F

Data Access/Bridges:

IFDL is not a procedurally complete programming language.  Therefore the
capabilities of other programming languages are often required to fully
define a user interface.  The following summarizes the interfaces
available to pass control and data to and from IFDL:

interface/mechanism		between...	sync?	function	data=09
-------------------		----------	----	--------	-----
form record				appl'n-IFDL	no	any API fn	form record
form record control text	IFDL-appl'n	no	--		text
procedural escape/callout	IFDL-any_fn	yes	(user def.)	VAX types
callout via ACMS, DECintact	IFDL-any_fn	yes	(user def.)	VAX types
COPY CDD/Plus definition	IFDL-dict.	--	COPY only	VAX types
 Craig Hubley              | Business that runs on knowledge +
 Craig Hubley & Associates | needs software that runs on the net +
 mailto:[log in to unmask]   416-778-6136   FAX 416-778-1965=20
Seventy Eaton Avenue Toronto ON M4J 2Z5 Canada




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