Forms control the following objects and activities:
Layout and display characteristics of the page
Forms are composed of fields. Visible field types include simple text boxes, radio buttons, and selection boxes with multiple values. Fields can also have values based on other fields and can be either read-only or be hidden from view.
Data that is used on the page
Data can be captured dynamically from a resource or be calculated from other fields. With the Identity Manager expression language called XPRESS, field data can be calculated, concatenated, and logically evaluated.
Data that is coming into the system
Forms can be the interface from web pages as well as from noninteractive systems such as ActiveSync resources. In this role, the form has no visual fields, but still provides rules to set default values and other field values.
For example, the Full Name field might not be visible to the administrator using the page, but can be set based on the values that the user enters into the First Name, Middle Name, and Last Name fields. Populating fields from other fields reduces the data entry that users and administrators must perform, consequently reducing potential data entry errors. Likewise, by providing option menus in the place of text input fields, an administrator can select a department from a list instead of entering the department name. For information on the specific HTML components that define the default Identity Manager forms, see Chapter 7, HTML Display Components.
Identity Manager background processing
Forms are also used within Identity Manager in the background processing. For example, forms can work in conjunction with resource adapters to process information from an external resource before storing it in the Identity Manager repository.
When creating forms to manipulate data in the background, you focus primarily on encoding logic because the appearance is irrelevant in forms that are not visible to users. For more information on using hidden (nonvisible) components, see the section titled Using Hidden Components.