The Future of Forms in Islandora

If you have been following events in the Islandora community lately, you probably know that we are in the midst of an ambitious project to build an Islandora that works on top of Fedora 4. The project is going great, but it has raised some questions about how to proceed with one of the most crucial yet under-appreciated tools in the Islandora stack: XML Formbuilder.

Largely the work of a single developer (discoverygarden's awesome Nigel Banks), XML Form Builder is a powerful (and sometimes difficult-to-master) tool that allows you to leverage the ease of Drupal forms to edit metadata for your Fedora objects. All Islandora Solution Packs come with standard MODS forms, but XML Form Builder lets you go far beyond those basic building blocks to meet almost any use case. A simple form for students to add objects with just a few fields; a brand new form to manipulate esoteric metadata standards; a tiny tweak to an existing Solution Pack form that brings it in line with your institution's specific needs. 

The Fedora 4 project team recognizes that this functionality needs to exist in the future version of Islandora. The question now is: How? Do we port over XML Forms and untangle the legacy of compromises that allows it to work in the current environment? Do we sidestep the issue and build a new tool that more closely leverages the underlying structure of Fedora 4? Do we build a new tool and make it look like XML Form Builder so it's comfortable to use, but still works completely differently? XML, RDF, Xpath, etc. It's a big task and it comes with a lot of big questions.

So, we turn to you, the Islandora Community, to get some answers. What tools do you need to work with metadata for your collections? How are you using XML Form Builder now? What parts of it don't you use? What parts are critical? To that end, Nick Ruest has put together a template to collect use cases. Please add yours to the list and help us shape Islandora's future.