XForms Tutorials

Most XForms tutorials [e.g. t1, t2] had to-date been of the lecture style, covering most of the language. However, a request for a hands-on tutorial motivated a new approach.

After attending several hands-on tutorials on other topics, the author concluded that in order to optimally use the time available for exercises, attendees shouldn’t be required to start from scratch, since precious time is lost dealing with trivial issues like set up and syntax. Rather, the exercises should all require the attendee to make a change to an existing, working, example, using the newly-acquired knowledge. In that way, you get the advantage of the hands-on approach, while minimising trivial administrative details, with the added advantage of attendees being confronted with larger working examples right from the start.

As a consequence, the tutorial was designed as a rapid-fire sequence of exercises, each consisting of 5 minutes of presentation, followed by 5 minutes of coding. This has the added advantage of maximising the attendees’ concentration, thanks to the recurrent switching of activities. The exercises themselves are mostly not stand-alone, but cumulative, each one building on an earlier one, so that at the end the attendee has a handful of small, but in themselves useful, applications. Although the tutorial was designed to be part of a live event, it also supports the use of self-study.

The resulting tutorial [t3] is interesting in that it is not only about XForms, but is also built in XForms, which in itself gave surprising possibilities.