Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Announcing Orbeon Form Builder

Orbeon at JavaOne
It is with great pleasure that we are announcing Orbeon Form Builder. Form Builder allows you to build forms right from your browser and aims at taking the pain out of building forms. It is 100% open source, standards-based, and built on top of the Orbeon Forms XForms implementation, which we have been refining for years.
An alpha version of Orbeon Forms Builder is currently available to developers for testing and feedback. You can download it as part of the Orbeon Forms nightly builds.
More information is available on the Orbeon Form Builder product page, in the Orbeon Forms flyer (PDF), and in the following press release which we wrote with OW2 (PDF also available):
OW2 and Orbeon make web forms easy to build and deploy
San Francisco, May 6 2008 – Orbeon, Inc. and the OW2 Consortium today announced Orbeon Form Builder, a web-based, standards-based open source WYSIWYG web forms editor. Unlike most form editors, Orbeon Form Builder does not require any client-side software install and runs directly off a web browser by leveraging Ajax and Web 2.0 technologies.
Orbeon Form Builder includes a visual grid editor, attachments, validation rules, printable views, PDF output, full internationalisation, Web Services integration, XML-based persistence, an offline mode, as well as an "expert" mode allowing advanced form authors to provide their own XForms markup.
"For years now our customers have asked us for a visual form editor that leverages the power of XForms," said Alessandro Vernet, CTO of Orbeon. "We believe that with Orbeon Form Builder, we are answering that call and we are making it dramatically easier for less technical users to build full-fledged web forms, while at the same time building on the technical merits of XForms."
Orbeon Form Builder also provides the Orbeon Form Runner runtime environment, which manages deployed forms, presents searchable form data, handles validation as you type and takes care of the plumbing necessary to capture, save, import and export form data.
Orbeon Form Builder is built on top of the open source Orbeon Forms platform, which delivers the W3C XForms standard to web browsers without the need for plugins or additional client-side software. "The Orbeon Forms XForms engine is the technology that underlies Form Builder" said Erik Bruchez, principal architect of Orbeon Forms. "Without it, we wouldn't have been able to progress as fast as we have over the past few months, and we are very proud of the fact that it is entirely open source."
About Orbeon
Founded in 1999, Orbeon delivers and supports Orbeon Forms, an open source, standard-based forms solution. Orbeon Forms is delivered to web browsers thanks to XForms and Ajax technology, with no need for client-side software or plugins. Companies and public sector agencies that rely on Orbeon Forms include CSC, Teleflex, SunGard, Esprit Limited, CRIX International, the State of Oregon, and Amnesty International. Visit:
About OW2
Founded in January 2007 OW2 is an independent industry community dedicated to developing open source code middleware and to fostering a vibrant community and business ecosystem. The OW2 Consortium hosts some one hundred technology Projects, including Acceleo, ASM, Bonita, eXo Platorm, Funambol, JOnAS, Lomboz, Orbeon Forms, SpagoBI and Xwiki. Visit
Orbeon, Inc.
Communications Department
Tel: +1 650 938 3120
Fax: +1 650 618 2600

OW2 Management Office
Tel: +32-24 26 85 23
Fax: +32-27 919 219


  1. I have downloaded and deployed the 15 May build of the Orbeon war but I don't see anything a form builder in the demo apps. How do I get to sample the Forms Builder?

  2. Hi, simply go to: http://[host:port]/[context]/fr/orbeon/builder. From there, say "New Form". Note that we recommend using Firefox at the moment.

  3. The Form Builder is indeed great and user friendly. I gave it a try few hours ago and haven't found any exception, so far. It will give a boost to XForms acceptance, I believe.
    What is missing at the first glance: the dataSources from eXist for comboboxes and lists.
    Thanks Erik and Alessandro.

    when we were talking about FormBuilder in XMLPrague2007, I thought that it will be a tool for XForms developers, but it is for end users in fact!

  4. Fantastic stuff! As a visual tool it is primarily aimed at the end user, but it will also help the starting developer to understand XForms through looking at the created code behind.

    Currently tiny bug regarding the code edit/view window. On my Mac Leopard with Firefox, the scroll bar disappears when the mouse points to it (it is still possible to use the wheel or the keyboard to scroll).

    I can't test and save the form. I figure this is not supported in this alpha version, or did I miss something...? Similarly, I didn't see how to create nested sections and repeated sections.

  5. Thanks for the kind comments. We have a very long list of features we would like to add, but for the moment we have to work on the essentials ;-) And remember, we still consider it alpha code.

    Regarding the Firefox bug, Firefox 2.x on Mac OS X is pretty bad in general IMO. Can't wait for 3.0 final. I remember seeing funny bugs with scrollbars appearing and disappearing. I am not sure we can do much there.

    You are right, this tool's audience is primarily non-programmers, although it can also be very useful to programmers as well as it handles a lot of the plumbing for you.

  6. #4, testing and saving is implemented. Make sure the metadata is entered (see Toolbar -> Metadata) and that your form has a title. You can try to enter "foobar/myform" for app name/form name. We need to work a bit to streamline this.

  7. Hello Erik and everybody, I'm just testing the FormBuilder in FireFox 3 release. It seems to be several times faster than in ff2. Do you intend to concentrate to test Orbeon on which version of FireFox?

  8. Regarding FF 3 vs. FF 2: I think we want Form Builder to run in both browsers. Of course browsers improve over time, so Firefox 3 will provide a better experience.

  9. Good,

    I need to know if with " Orbeon Form Builder " it is possible to guard, testear and to publish forms that the user should have realized. These last three functionalities me it has not been possible to reproduce them on having generated forms.

    Is it possible to reproduce these functionalities? In affirmative case, which I have to do to see his functioning?Does documentation exist on this?

    Regards && Thanks

  10. Sergio: yes, with Form Builder a user can edit forms in a browser, save them, and deploy them. When they are deployed, the same user or other users can go in an fill out the form to create "instances" of the form (i.e. filled out forms).

  11. Hi,

    Any chances to see comparison to MyTaskHelper?
    Is it possible to use together in order to have bot desktop and online Form Builder?

    Thank you,

  12. Igor: I am not familiar with MyTaskHelper, so I wouldn't be able to compare what XForms and Orbeon Forms with Form Builder does compared to MyTaskHelper.