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Xfa

The meaning of «xfa»

XFA (also known as XFA forms) stands for XML Forms Architecture, a family of proprietary XML specifications that was suggested and developed by JetForm to enhance the processing of web forms. It can be also used in PDF files starting with the PDF 1.5 specification. The XFA specification is referenced as an external specification necessary for full application of the ISO 32000-1 specification (PDF 1.7). The XML Forms Architecture was not standardized as an ISO standard,[3] and has been deprecated in PDF 2.0.[4]

XFA's main extension to XML are computationally active tags. In addition, all instances created from a given XFA form template keep the specification of data capture, rendering, and manipulation rules from the original. Another major advantage of XFA is that its data format allows compatibility with other systems, and with changes to other technology, applications and technology standards.

According to JetForm's submission to the World Wide Web Consortium, "XFA addresses the needs of organizations to securely capture, present, move, process, output and print information associated with electronic forms."[5] The XFA proposal was submitted to the W3C in May 1999.

In 2002, the JetForm Corporation was acquired by Adobe Systems, and the latter introduced XFA forms with PDF 1.5 and the subsequent Acrobat releases (6 and 7) in 2003.[6]

XFA forms are saved internally in PDF files or as XDP (XML Data Package) files which can be opened in Adobe's LiveCycle Designer software. An XDP can package a PDF file, along with XML form and template data.[7] XDP provides a mechanism for packaging form components within a surrounding XML container.

Although XFA can make use of PDF, XFA is not tied to a particular page description language.

The XFA specification includes an appendix that discusses details of the Adobe-specific XFA implementation and behaviors of Adobe products that deviate from the XFA specification.

Data filled in an XFA form may be submitted to a host using an HTTP POST operation in XDP format, PDF format, XFDF format, XML 1.0 format or as an URL-encoded format.

XFA supports the use of XSLT to transform the XML data before it is loaded to XFA Data DOM or after it is unloaded from XFA Data DOM.

One of XFA approaches to pagination duplicates the pagination logic and much of the syntax of XSL-FO.

XFA forms are synonymous with SmartForms in the Australian government.

XFA defines static forms (since XFA 2.0 and before) and dynamic forms (since XFA 2.1 or 2.2).

In a static form the form’s appearance and layout is fixed, regardless of the field content. Any unfilled fields are present in the form. By default, static forms do not require re-rendering. XFA recognises two types of static forms: "old-style static forms" (using "full XFA") and XFAF (a subset of full XFA, defined since XFA 2.5).

Dynamic forms (defined since XFA 2.1 or 2.2) can change in appearance in several ways in response to changes in the data. Dynamic form requires rendering of its content on file opening. Dynamic forms may also be designed to change structure to accommodate changes in the structure of the data supplied to the form. For example, a page of a form may be omitted if there is no data for it. Another example is a field that may occupy a variable amount of space on the page, resizing itself to efficiently hold its content. Dynamic form cannot rely on a PDF representation of its boilerplate, because the positioning and layout of the boilerplate change as the fields grow and shrink or as subforms are omitted and included.

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