Declarative Amsterdam

Declarative Applications with XForms

In the 50s, when the first programming languages were designed, computers cost millions, and relatively, programmers were almost free. Those programming languages therefore reflected that relationship: it didn't matter if it took a long time to program, as long as the resulting program ran as fast as possible. 
Now, that relationship has been reversed: compared to the cost of programmers, computers are almost free. And yet we are still programming them in direct descendants of the programming languages from the 50s: we are still telling the computers step by step how to solve the problem.
Declarative programming is a new approach to applications: rather than describing exactly how to reach the solution, it describes what the solution should look like, and leaves more of the administrative parts of the program to the computer. 
One of the few declarative languages available is XForms, an XML-based language that despite its name is not only about forms. Large projects, at large companies such as the National Health Service, the BBC and Xerox, have shown that by using XForms, programming time and cost of applications can be reduced to a tenth! 
This hands-on tutorial allows you to learn about the structure and workings of XForms, and gives you the opportunity to work on useful working programs.
It is a “bring your own device” tutorial. You will be required to install some files beforehand (details to follow), and check they are working. You will be able to work using the text editor of your choice during the tutorial.
Tutorial, 8 October 2020
Steven Pemberton is a researcher affiliated with CWI Amsterdam, the Dutch national research centre for mathematics and informatics. His research is in interaction, and how the underlying software architecture can support users. He co-designed the ABC programming language that formed the basis for Python. Involved with the Web from the beginning, he organised two workshops at the first Web Conference in 1994. For the best part of a decade he chaired the W3C HTML working group, and has co-authored many web standards, including HTML, XHTML, CSS, XForms and RDFa. He now chairs the XForms group at W3C.