This page describes the M-Link capabilities to support publishing and distribution of structured forms using the Forms Discovery and Publishing (FDP) Protocol and sharing those forms with other systems using the M-Link FDP Gateway.

On other pages in this section, you’ll find information on M-Link’s use of Directory for configuration/authentication, security features, support for wide and local area clustering, operation over constrained/unreliable networks, Federated/Multi-User Chat and Archive & Search functionality.

M-Link enables flexible forms publishing and distribution using protocol described in XEP-0346: Form Discovery and Publishing. Forms are important for military operations, and there is often a need to handle forms quickly and share with a large number of users. XMPP based open standard instant messaging is a sensible framework for sharing forms. Background to this requirement and a more detailed description of the M-Link FDP support are provided in the whitepaper [Military Forms using XMPP].

M-Link can store a set of "topics", each with an associated form template. These topics and templates are managed by M-Link console. An FDP client can discover topics and use the form template to publish forms, which are stored in M-Link.

Published forms are distributed using XMPP PubSub which enables clients to subscribe to topics of interest and automatically receive forms as they are published.

Client Forms Publishing and Display

Isode provides a Web Application to discover and publish forms. This web application allows a user to:

  • Get a list of available topics (form templates).
  • Select a topic, fill in a form and publish it.
  • Subscribe to one or more topics, review published forms and be alerted to new forms.

More information on how they work can be found on the M-Link Web Applications page.

Forms Management

M-Link Console provides capabilities to manage FDP handling, including:

  • Set up of FDP domains and associated PubSub configuration.
  • Add and manage FDP topics.
  • Load and save XML form templates.
  • Create and edit form templates. This includes flexible editing and testing capability.
  • View published forms.

M-Link FDP Gateway

M-Link FDP Gateway runs externally to the core M-Link. An M-Link FDP Gateway process (or Windows Service) will subscribe to an FDP topic and thus receive all published forms. The M-Link FDP gateway provides a framework to send forms to external services that need to handle published forms.

The current release of M-Link FDP Gateway sends forms to XMPP clients, either as XML or text encoded XML. Future releases of M-Link FDP Gateway will support other services.

Evaluations

A Form Discovery and Publishing evaluation guide is available, in PDF format, from the Documentation page of this website.