Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Announcing Orbeon Forms 4.0

After more than 2000 commits, 19 milestone builds, 3 betas, and one release candidate, we are proud to announce the final release of Orbeon Forms 4.0!

As a goal for 4.0 we wanted to create a release we care about, on the outside as well as the inside. So in this release, in addition to new features and bug-fixes, we have fixed countless UI issues, refactored a lot of code, and thought a lot about architecture.

So what's new since the last major version, Orbeon Forms 3.9? The answer is: a whole lot!

1. A brand new look

Let's start with one of the most obvious changes. Form Runner and Form Builder feature a new look based on Twitter Bootstrap. Forms are more pleasant out of the box, and chances are that more developers will be familiar with Bootstrap when customization is desired.

New look and feel with Bootstrap

2. Security and access control

Orbeon Forms 4.0 introduces many security improvements:
  • All services are protected by default.
  • The built-in eXist database is protected by default.
  • All uses of cryptographic algorithms have been reviewed and improved (blog post).
  • File uploads are now tamper-resistant (blog post).
  • Ajax requests are better protected against DOS attacks.
  • Processing and loading of external DTDs when XML validation is turned off (which is in most cases) is disabled by default.
  • The product version number is hidden by default.
  • You can protect your Form Runner forms with a captcha (reCAPTCHA or SimpleCaptcha) (documentationblog post).
  • Form Builder supports setting fine-grained CRUD permissions for individual forms (blog post).

3. Repeats in Form Builder

This is one of the most important features of the release: Form Builder now supports grids with repeated rows. See this blog post which introduces the feature.

Example of repeated content

4. Nested sections and live controls in Form Builder

Under the hood, Form Builder had major architecture changes. In 4.0, everything you see in the builder is dynamic. This allowed us to add support for nested sections, and also to let controls (including your own custom controls built with XBL) appear in the builder as they will when the form is deployed. This is also a strong foundation for future improvements to the builder.

Examples of XBL controls at design time

5. Multi-page "wizard" view

The wizard view is a nice new way to present a form to the user, as a sequence of multiple screens. In fact, chances are you will want this mode for most forms! See this blog post which introduces the feature.

6. Improved portal support

Both the full portlet and the Form Runner proxy portlet have been improved and tested with Liferay 6.1 GA2. Other improvements include:
  • Liferay role and user information (including email and full name) is available to the full portlet (documentation).
  • The workflow-review/workflow-send buttons work with the Form Runner proxy portlet.
  • The Orbeon Forms CSS is sandboxed so that the portal style is not impacted.
Form Runner in Liferay 6.1

7. New web site

We have simplified and modernized our web site for the 4.0 release. Check it out! From there you can find out more about Orbeon Forms 4.0, how to try it out, and how to get support.

8. And much more

There are too many new features to describe in this post. For more details, see the Orbeon Forms 4.0 release notes, which also covers backward compatibility.

We hope you enjoy this release!


  1. Several images are missing - under items 1 and 4.

  2. Joe, weird, I don't see that. I tried from a desktop and a mobile device on a different network.