Friday, October 14, 2016

Orbeon Forms 2016.1.1 PE

Today we released Orbeon Forms 2016.1.1 PE. This is an update to Orbeon Forms 2016.1 PE which contains bug-fixes and important security fixes and is recommended for all Orbeon Forms 2016.1 PE users.

Please note that this release is separate from the recently-released Orbeon Forms 2016.2.1 PE, which contains all these fixes and more for Orbeon Forms 2016.2 users.

Specifically, this release addresses the following issues:
    • Form Runner
      • Form Metadata API returns latest updated version instead of latest version (#2780)
      • Refresh button is no longer narrow (#2739)
      • Error producing PDF when input field contains `]]>` (#2847)
      • `digits-after-decimal` must not apply to integer values (#2856)
      • fr:number: incorrect behavior with "." as grouping separator (#2857)
      • fr:number: blur from field doesn't reformat value if no change (#2858)
      • FB: Cannot read property 'setAttribute' of undefined when pasting form (#2860)
      • IE 9 crash when adding a row in a repeated grid (#2842)
      • Home page admin view thinks one form is selected (#2810)
      • Date picker buttons don't work with IE9 (#2893)
      • fr:datetime doesn't show as readonly (#2925)
    • XForms
      • Dialog on JavaScript error not shown anymore (#2774)
      • Separate deployment: content "cut" with .html (#2775)
      • XForms Server must not accept unencrypted payload (#2926)
      • Upgrade Apache Commons Collections (#2929)
      You can download the latest version of Orbeon Forms from the downloads page.
        Don't forget to grab a trial license for the PE version.

        Please send feedback:
        We hope you enjoy this release!

        Tuesday, September 27, 2016

        Orbeon Forms 2016.2.1 PE

        Today we released Orbeon Forms 2016.2.1 PE. This update to Orbeon Forms 2016.2 PE contains bug-fixes and important security fixes and is recommended for all Orbeon Forms 2016.2 PE users.

        Specifically, this release addresses the following issues:
          • Form Builder
            • FB: Cut & Paste client side errors related to 'fb-static-upload-empty' control ID (#2935)
          • Form Runner
            • Database reindexing doesn't have any effect (#2921)
            • Relational: making form unavailable doesn't work (#2923)
            • ORA-01000 during reindexing (#2928)
            • form-runner-min.js not found (#2902)
            • Date picker buttons don't work with IE9 (#2893)
            • SQL Server: error with spaces doing full-text search (#2913)
            • 2016.2 "/> in process button rows (#2916)
            • Relational search: ignore `[1]` predicates (#2922)
            • When reindexing happens very quickly, the home page shows no progress indication (#2924)
            • Improve reindexing logging (#2927)
            • fr:datetime doesn't show as readonly (#2925)
          • XForms
            • XForms Server must not accept unencrypted payload (#2926)
            • Upgrade Apache Commons Collections (#2929)
            You can download the latest version of Orbeon Forms from the downloads page.
              Don't forget to grab a trial license for the PE version.

              Please send feedback:
              We hope you enjoy this release!

              Wednesday, September 14, 2016

              Versioning comments

              When using a relational database, Orbeon Forms supports versioning of form definitions.

              This means that you can publish multiple versions of a form known by its name (like the “ACME Order Form”). Data captured by, say, version 1 of the form can be viewed and edited with that version of the form, and data captured by version 2 of the form can be viewed and edited with that other version of the form, even if version 2 of the forms contains, for example, some additional fields. [1]

              With Orbeon Forms 2016.2, we added the ability for the form author to add a comment associated with a given version of the form definition.

              Why add a comment? A good reason is to include information about why that specific version of the form was created. The comment for the first version might just say “Original version of the form”, or remain empty. But the second version could include a descriptive comments of the changes introduced, such as “Added purchase order field”.

              You optionally set your comment when publishing from Form Builder: [2]

              If you choose to overwrite an existing version of a form definition upon publishing, the comment associated with that published version is loaded and you can decide to keep it as is or update it with new information:

              We hope you will find this feature useful! It is available in Orbeon Forms 2016.2.

              1. For more on form definition versioning, see:  ↩

              2. The comment is stored alongside the published form definition, not the form definition as you see it in Form Builder.  ↩

              Tuesday, August 23, 2016

              Orbeon Forms 2016.2

              Today we released Orbeon Forms 2016.2! This release features several important features and enhancements.

              Major features and enhancements

              New indexes for relational database performance

              If you're using a relational database and rely on summary pages or the search API, this change will drastically improve the performance of those operations. If you're using a relational database and are upgrading to Orbeon Forms 2016.2, you should pay particular attention to this change, as it requires that you run a new reindexing operation as part of the upgrade procedure, and thus we recommend you proceed with the upgrade with special care, and make sure to read:

              Form Options in Form Builder

              Form Builder's Form Settings dialog now features a new Form Options tab, with the following options:
              • Whether the form is a singleton form. This option existed in previous versions under General Settings. (doc)
              • Whether the form uses the Wizard View. By default, the published form uses the configuration set via properties. (doc)
              • Appearance of control labels and control hints. The main use is to specify that text input fields hints appear as inline placeholders. By default, the published form uses the configuration set via properties. (doc)
              Form Options

              We expect that further form options will be added in the future.

              Ability to send binary PDF to services

              This feature has been requested often, and we are happy to include it in Orbeon Forms 2016.2! You can now specify that your submit or send action (or in fact any process) sends the form in PDF format to an HTTP endpoint. The same goes for sending a TIFF binary. For details, see the blog post and documentation.

              Versioning comments

              When using versioning, you can now add or update a textual comment associated with the given For details, see the documentation.

              Versioning Comments

              Form Runner function library

              Form Runner now exposes a documented function library with easy to use functions. As of Orbeon Forms 2016.2, the library contains 28 functions, and we plan to add more in the future. For more details, see the blog post and documentation.

              Accessibility / HTML layout

              We have changed the layout of grids to no longer use HTML tables when possible. In addition, we have also removed the use of HTML tables in the error summary component. For more details, see the blog post and  documentation on the new HTML layout of grids.

              Wizard enhancements

              The wizard view features several enhancements:
              • We introduce a new option to show a separate table of contents instead of always showing it to the left of the content.
              • You can enable subsection navigation, which shows one nested subsection at a time instead of showing all subsections together.
              • The wizard now shows improved status options for each section.
              Wizard Status

              Buttons visibility

              You can now control the visibility of buttons, and whether they appear disabled or not, using XPath expressions. For more details, see the documentation.

              Other features and enhancements

              Form Runner

              • Repeated grid/section: option to always insert at end (#2747)
              • Form Metadata API returns latest updated version instead of latest version (#2780)
              • Form Metadata API: option to return all non-deleted form versions (#2781)
              • Flat view support for SQL Server (#2790)
              • Proxy portlet: property to disable namespace mapping (#2764)

              XForms engine

              • Ability to configure a custom function library (#2812)
              • XPath: support let expressions (#2816)
              • Internal changes to remove an old Java dependency on DOM4J. This will also be useful for our progress towards native/offline clients.

              Other platform enhancements

              • XML processor to convert XML to JSON (#2796)
              • Ability for services to receive JSON (#2793)

              Other new features and bug-fixes

              Including the major features and enhancements above, we closed over 70 issues since Orbeon Forms 2016.1.


              See Localizing Orbeon Forms for the latest localization support. Localization depends on volunteers, so please let us know if you want to help!

              Browser support

              • Form Builder (creating forms)
                • Chrome 42 (latest stable version)
                • Firefox 48 (latest stable version) and the current Firefox ESR
                • IE 11 or Edge
                • Safari 8 or 9
              • Form Runner (accessing form)
                • All browsers supported by Form Builder (see above)
                • IE8, IE9 and IE10
                • Safari Mobile on iOS 7, iOS 8 and iOS 9
                • Chrome for Android (stable channel)

              Compatibility notes

              Persistence layer

              The relational database schema contains changes in this version. Please refer to the notes at the beginning of this post on "New indexes for relational database performance".

              Deprecations and removals

              • The oxf:from-xls-converter processor is deprecated and will be removed in a subsequent release.
              • The deprecated XMLDB processors are removed.
              • The property is deprecated. Use instead. (doc)
              • xforms-disable-hint-as-tooltip is deprecated. Use instead. (doc)

              Download and feedback

              You can download the latest version of Orbeon Forms from the downloads page.

              Don't forget to grab a trial license for the PE version.

              Please send feedback:
              We hope you enjoy this release!

              Wednesday, August 10, 2016

              Submitting a PDF file to an external service

              PDF icon by Double-J Design
              In addition to saving data to a database, Orbeon Forms can submit (or send) data to external services. If you just want to send the captured data as XML, it is very easy:
              1. Add the built-in "Send" or "Submit" button
              2. Configure the URL of the service
              3. Done!
              Sometimes, you want to do more, and you can configure the details through what Orbeon Forms calls simple processes. These define a series of steps to perform in response to the user activating a button, including error recovery. You can, for example, specify that a "Submit" button must:
              1. Check that the data is valid.
              2. Save it to the local database.
              3. Email it to the user's email address.
              4. Send it to a workflow service via HTTP.
              Until recently, though, it wasn't easily possible to send the form exported as a binary PDF to an external service. Orbeon Forms has a couple of options for PDF production, and there was a way to send a callback URL for the PDF to a service, but that was difficult to setup.

              Orbeon Forms 2016.2 fixes this and includes a way to directly send the PDF to a service. So now you can, for example, write a "Submit" process which sends the XML data and the PDF to one or multiple HTTP services. You do this by passing the new pdf token to the built-in send action. (Similarly, you can now send a binary TIFF document with the new tiff token.)

              We hope you will like this simple but hopefully useful new feature!

              Wednesday, August 3, 2016

              A stable function library for Form Runner

              When using formulas or custom components with Orbeon Forms, there is often a need to access information about the current form, such as:
              • What is the current form name?
              • If this component currently running at design-time in Form Builder?
              • Is the form in read-only mode?
              • Is the form data currently valid?
              • Is the last page of the wizard currently visible?
              In the past, some of these scenarios were possible by writing XPath expressions which usually accessed the internals of Form Runner. For example the following would return the current form name:
              Other scenarios were not even reasonably possible. Now, instead, Orbeon Forms exposes a documented Form Runner function library with easy to use functions. You now write the above simply:
              You can use this function without worrying that it might go away or stop working due to a change in the Form Runner internals, and it is properly documented, alongside the other 27 Form Runner functions we are introducing for Orbeon Forms 2016.2. We plan to add more as we go, with 2 further functions already documented for 2016.3.

              We hope you enjoy this feature, which will be available in the upcoming Orbeon Forms 2016.2.

              Wednesday, June 29, 2016

              New indexes boost performance with relational databases in Orbeon Forms 2016.2

              When you create a form with Form Builder and use Orbeon Forms' implementation of the persistence API for relational databases, data collected by the form at runtime is stored in a set of 4 generic predefined tables. The tables are generic in the sense that they are not form-specific. This has a number of benefits:
              • It gives more control to DBAs: they can create the tables when Orbeon Forms is installed, and since at runtime Orbeon Forms doesn't need to have the permission to create tables, this allows DBAs to have a full knowledge of the database schema, and to optimize its storage or create additional indexes, should they wish to do so.
              • It keeps the database schema simple, and uniform across deployments. (Contrast this to an approach where you would have one table per form, and per version thereof.) Because of this, no "garbage collection" of unused tables (unused form versions) is necessary, upgrades to new versions of Orbeon Forms that require a change to the database schema are simpler, all the operations performed by Orbeon Forms can be part of a transaction (not all databases support DDL to be part of a transaction), and more.
              For the tables to be generic:
              • Metadata (such as the form data id, the data owners, the time of the last change), which is the same for all forms, is stored in regular columns.
              • Values entered by users in your form are stored as XML, using a single "generic" xml column.
              This works extremely well for operations where Orbeon Forms needs to either read or store all the values for a given instance of a form, like when users save or open form data. However, things gets more complicated when you want to do reporting on the submitted data, like:
              • For a given form, in a table, show the values of 5 significant fields for the last 50 submissions.
              • For a given form, find form data where the field last name has the value Smith.
              Those operations are performed by summary pages, and the search API. In Orbeon Forms 2016.1 and earlier, they required SQL to extract data from the XML stored in the relational database. Unfortunately:
              • Some databases only have minimal support for XML.
              • Even for those databases with good support:
                • Searching and extracting values from XML data still isn't as fast as if the data was stored in "regular columns".
                • Optimizing those queries on XML data is highly database-dependant, and requires the creation of indexes or other techniques that DBAs are not necessarily familiar with.
              Because of this, in Orbeon Forms 2016.1 and earlier, the performance of summary pages and the search API degraded as more data was added to the database. To solve this problem, Orbeon Forms 2016.2 introduces index tables. Data is still stored as XML as it was before, but the subset thereof needed for summary pages and the search API is also stored in the index tables. As a result, summary pages and the search API never need to access data stored in XML, and can thus run much faster.

              This also means that the values in the index tables need to be kept up-to-date by Orbeon Forms. This happens automatically as data gets saved, or forms deployed. However, if you're upgrading to 2016.2, for the summary pages and the search API to work properly you'll need to first populate those indexes, in an operation referred to as reindexing. For more on this, see how to reindex your Orbeon Forms database when upgrading to 2016.2.