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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

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=
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

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

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
"			"			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
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

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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