Creating Forms for your Web Pages
To create a from you simply need to include the FORM tags in
your HTML document. Here is the basic format for the form section of the HTML document :
<FORM action="/cgi-bin/mailback.pl" method="post">
Your input tags here
These input tags should be of the form :
<input name="varible name" type="input type" value="default value">
variable name can be any word with no spaces in it. The variable
name you choose will be included in the e-mail message you receive with
the information that was typed into the HTML form. There are some variables
that the script recognizes as commands, a few of these are required.
- mailitto - email address of mail recipient
- namefrom - name of the person the submission is from
- mailfrom - email address of person submission is from
- subject - subject of the email message
- showreport - if defined, when the form is submitted will give a report of the mail that has been sent.
- returnmessage - message to display when the user submits the form
- returngraphic - image to display before the "returnmesssage"
- returnurl - the URL that the "returnmessage" and "returngraphic" will be a link to.
- sentmessage - Message to be displayed at top of the end page to signify the message has been sent. Has a default value of "Your mail has been sent"
- redirecturl - if defined, a report is NOT shown, but upon submitting it goes directly to the URL defined.
Special Note -- Every form must have a
<INPUT type="submit" value="some words"> for the form to be processed. A user must click on the button it creates in order 'submit' the form.
- hidden -- this will pass a variable to script without it showing up on the form and a user being able to change it. This is useful for things like the variable mailitto since this will never change (always go to your email address), it makes sense to have it hidden.
- text -- text entry field; this is the default
- password -- text entry field; entered characters are represented as asterisks)
- checkbox -- a single toggle button; on or off
- radio -- a single toggle button; on or off; other toggles with the same NAME are grouped into "one of many" behavior
- submit -- a pushbutton that causes the current form processed
- reset -- a pushbutton that causes the various input elements in the form to be reset to their default values
Here are some additional options besides
type= for the INPUT HTML tag.
VALUE, for a text or password entry field, can be
used to specify the default contents of the field. For a
checkbox or a radio button,
VALUE specifies the
value of the button when it is checked (unchecked
checkboxes are disregarded when submitting queries); the default
value for a checkbox or radio button is "on".
For types "submit" and "reset",
VALUE can be used to
specify the label for the pushbutton.
CHECKED (no value needed) specifies that this
checkbox or radio button is checked by default; this is only
appropriate for checkboxes and radio buttons.
SIZE is the physical size of the input field in
characters; this is only appropriate for text entry fields and
password entry fields. If this is not present, the default is
20. Multiline text entry fields can be specified as
SIZE attribute should not be used to specify multiline text entry
fields now that the
TEXTAREA tag is available.
MAXLENGTH is the maximum number of characters that
are accepted as input; this is only appropriate for text entry
fields and password entry fields (and only for single-line text
entry fields at that). If this is not present, the default will be
unlimited. The text entry field is assumed to scroll appropriately
MAXLENGTH is greater than
Other types of input
The SELECT Tag
<FORM> ... </FORM>, any number of
SELECT tags are allowed, freely intermixed with other
HTML elements (including
elements) and text (but not additional forms). In Mosaic for
SELECT tags are instantiated as Motif option menus and
SELECT has both opening
and closing tags. Inside
SELECT, only a sequence of
OPTION tags -- each followed by an arbitrary amount of
plain text (no HTML markup) -- is allowed; for example:
<OPTION value="first option">First option.</OPTION>
<OPTION value="second option">Second option.</OPTION>
The attributes to
SELECT are as follows:
NAME is the symbolic name for this
This must be present, as it is used when putting together the
query string for the submitted form.
1 or if the
SIZE attribute is missing, by default
SELECT will be represented as a Motif option
SIZE is 2 or more, the
will be represented as a Motif scrolled list; the value of
SIZE then determines how many items will be visible.
MULTIPLE, if present (no value), specifies that the
SELECT should allow multiple selections (n of
many behavior). The presence of
MULTIPLE forces the
SELECT to be represented as a Motif scrolled list,
regardless of the value of
The attributes to
OPTION are as follows:
SELECTED specifies that this option is selected by
default. If the
SELECT allows multiple selections
MULTIPLE attribute), multiple options can
be specified as
The TEXTAREA Tag
TEXTAREA tag can be used to place a multiline text
entry field with optional default contents in a fill-out form. The
TEXTAREA are as follows:
NAME is the symbolic name of the text entry field.
ROWS is the number of rows (vertical height in
characters) of the text entry field.
COLS is the number of columns (horizontal width in
characters) of the text entry field.
TEXTAREA fields automatically have scrollbars; any amount
of text can be entered in them.
TEXTAREA element requires both an opening and
a closing tag. A
TEXTAREA with no default contents looks
<TEXTAREA NAME="foo" ROWS=4 COLS=40></TEXTAREA>
TEXTAREA with default contents looks like this:
<TEXTAREA NAME="foo" ROWS=4 COLS=40>
Default contents go here.
Newlines are respected (so in the above example there will be a newline both
before and after "Default contents go here.").