Forms Builder – building block for the future?

At EMC World 2007, EMC Documentum released a new product called TaskSpace that is designed to provide a highly configurable UI for transaction-based processes. I havent used TaskSpace yet, but I have used Forms Builder, which is the primary tool to create UI for TaskSpace.

For those of you who havent used Forms Builder, its a nice alternative to WDK layout of attributes. Forms Builder supports the creation of tabs, the grouping of attributes, placement of attributes horizontally (as well as vertically), dynamic visibility, dynamic enabling/disabling, and much more. The form paradigm makes sense if you are building an application to collect structured data from a user.

What it doesnt do (at least in the current version), is dynamic support for making an attribute required, disabling of validation till form submission, and the most critical issue is support for versioning of the form template.

Forms Builder allows you to define custom xml schema to store information collected in the form. Forms Builder editor then allows you to define UI controls to map to the xml schema. This works great until you want to add new controls (and new xml tags) to existing form template. Since existing form instances do not have new xml tags, you get xsd validation errors when trying to edit the form (and thereby load the new form UI template against the old xml schema). The only way to get around this is to manually update the existing xml content and insert the new xml tags.

Hopefully, this problem will get resolved with D6. Otherwise, I foresee a short-lived future for these products. It seems silly that the product managers did not consider that customers would want to eventually version their form templates.

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2 responses to “Forms Builder – building block for the future?

  1. Pingback: TaskSpace - Webtop Killer? « Ask Johnny! - Documentum Guru

  2. Pingback: simply24 » Blog Archive » Forms Builder - building block for the future?

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