Nice job, Ethan.  This looks really cool.

We have an Orbeon-based MODS editor, but I have found Orbeon to be a bit
tough to develop/maintain and more heavyweight than we really need.  We're
considering more Xforms implementations, but I would love to find a more
lightweight Xforms application.  Does anyone have any recommendations?

The only one I know of is XSLTForms ( but
I haven't messed with it yet.


On 11/13/09 9:13 AM, "Eric Hellman" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> XForms and Orbeon are very interesting tools for developing metadata
> management tools.
> The ONIX developers have used this stack to produce an interface for ONIX-PL
> called OPLE that people should try out.
> Questions about Orbeon relate to performance and integrability, but I think
> it's an impressive use of XForms nonetheless.
> - Eric
> On Nov 12, 2009, at 1:30 PM, Ethan Gruber wrote:
>> Hello all,
>> Over the past few months I have been working on and off on a research
>> project to develop a XForms, web-based editor for EAD finding aids that runs
>> within the Orbeon tomcat application.  While still in a very early alpha
>> stage (I have probably put only 60-80 hours of work into it thus far), I
>> think that it's ready for a general demonstration to solicit opinions,
>> criticism, etc. from librarians, and technical staff.
>> Background:
>> For those not familiar with XForms, it is a W3C standard for creating
>> next-generation forms.  It is powerful and can allow you to create XML in
>> the way that it is intended to be created, without limits to repeatability,
>> complex hierarchies, or mixed content.  Orbeon adds a level on top of that,
>> taking care of all the ajax calls, serialization, CRUD operations, and a
>> variety of widgets that allow nice features like tabs and
>> autocomplete/autosuggest that can be bound to authority lists and controlled
>> access terms.  By default, Orbeon reads and writes data from and to an eXist
>> database that comes packaged with it, but you can have it serialize the XML
>> to disk or have it interact with any REST interface such as Fedora.
>> Goals:
>> Ultimately, I wish to create a system of forms that can open any EAD
>> 2002-compliant XML file without any data loss or XML transformation
>> whatsoever.  I think that this is the shortcoming of systems such as Archon
>> and Archivists' Toolkit.  I want to integrate authority lists that can be
>> integrated into certain fields with autosuggest (such as corporate names,
>> people, and subjects).  If there is demand, I can build a public interface
>> for viewing the entire EAD collection, complete with solr for faceted browse
>> and search, but this is secondary to producing a form that people with some
>> basic archiving knowledge and EAD background can use to easily and
>> effectively create finding aids.  A public interface is the easy part, in
>> any case.  It wouldn't take more than a week or two to build something
>> fairly nice and robust.
>> Here is the link:
>> I should stress that the application is *not complete.*  I am using cocoon
>> for providing a list of EAD content in the system.  I will remove that
>> application eventually and utilize Orbeon's internal pipelining features to
>> achieve the same objective.  I haven't delved too deeply into Orbeon's
>> pipelines yet.
>> Here are some things to note:
>> 1. If you click on a link to open the main part of the guide or any of its
>> components, you have to click the "Load" link on the top of the form.  Forms
>> aren't being loaded on page load yet.
>> 2. Elements that accept mixed content per the EAD 2002 schema (e.g.
>> paragraphs) only accept PCDATA.  I haven't worked on mixed content yet; it
>> is by far the most challenging aspect of the project.
>> 3. I only have a few C-level elements available to add.
>> 4. Not all did elements are available yet.
>> 5. A lot of the generic attributes, like type and label, are not available
>> for editing yet.  This may be the type of thing that is best customized per
>> institution relative to their own best practices.  I don't want more input
>> fields than necessary right now.
>> 6. The only thing you can add into the archdesc right now is the <dsc>.
>> Once I finish all of the c-level elements, I can just put some xi:includes
>> into the archdesc XForm file to show them in the archdesc level.
>> I think those are the major issues for now.  As I stated earlier, this is
>> sort of a pre-alpha.  The project is open source and available (through svn)
>> to anyone who wants it. .  I have put
>> together an easy package to get the application up and running without
>> difficulty.  All you have to do is unzip the download, go into the apache
>> tomcat folder and execute the startup script.  This assumes you have nothing
>> running on port 8080 already.
>> Download page:
>> Wiki instructions:
>> dated=QuickstartInstallation
>> Comments, questions, criticism welcome.  The editor is a sandbox.  Feel free
>> to experiment.
>> Ethan Gruber
>> University of Virginia Library
> Eric Hellman
> President, Gluejar, Inc.
> 41 Watchung Plaza, #132
> Montclair, NJ 07042
> [log in to unmask]