Authoring - Form editor
Because in our system forms are LISP objects, forms were orignally
defined by writing LISP code. While developing a number of
forms in the course of our research, we found that the process of
writing these forms was very long and tedious, and subject to
long hours of debugging. To remedy to this problem, we developed the
Form editor, a general purpose tool for the authoring of forms and
The Form editor provides a Graphical User Interface to the
- Create, browse and edit forms and queries - the
Form Editor allows the user to browse form and query object, to view the
values in the slots of the objects and to edit the values in these
- A full-featured text editor for editing instructions,
including a spell checker and full interface to the file system.
- A mechanism for saving forms as human-readable LISP code and a
way to load them back in. Also available is a way to produce binary
images of forms.
- A simple way to automatically release forms to servers, for
example by creating a URL on the fly.
- A preview command which lets a user see what a form will look
like to in email and the HTML that will be produced by the HTML
The Form Editor also offers a point-and-click interface to the
Command Interface structures, which
allows a user to take queries from a library of queries and add them to
their form. Overall, we have found that the Form Editor cut by an order
magnitude the time needed to author forms. Perharps the most strinking
application of the Form Editor was the writing a series for forms to
interface to itself: it was possible to write an interface to the Form
Editor entirely in HTML.
The Form Editor is implemented entirely in ANSI Common Lisp, using
the CLIM as the Interface Manager.