QUESTION: What is an HTML form?
ANSWER: An HTML form is
a collection of HTML code
that is displayed in a Web-browser window and
contains boxes where the user can type text,
lists from which the user can select particular
items, buttons that the user can click on, etc.
The mechanism that allows a user to
interact with an HTML form
is part of the user's Web browser. The
main components of this mechanism are
the HTML interpreter and
other software that interprets scripts
that might be contained in the HTML code.
HTML interpreter: this
HTML code into text and graphics and displays the
text and graphics in the user's Web-browser window;
manages the interactive process that
takes place when a user is typing text and
making selections on an HTML form.
HTML forms are often used to collect
information from users via the Internet
or via an Intranet. In these cases,
a Web server
sends the HTML forms out over the Internet
to a Web browser on a user's computer,
and the HTML forms are displayed
in the Web-browser window.
Other software that interprets scripts:
other software within the Web browser deals with
scripts that might be embedded in the HTML
are small programs that handle tasks such as
data validation; dynamic display of
text & graphics; and dynamic display of
form elements like text boxes, lists, and
buttons. Conventionally, several different
languages are used to write scripts contained
in HTML code. One of the most popular languages
Most HTML forms contain a button that a
user is supposed to click when he has
finished filling out the form. In the
typical case, the data that was entered by
the user and the selections that were made
by the user are sent over the Internet or
Intranet to a Web server when the user
clicks this button. Software on the Web
server then takes control and uses
the data as required. For example,
the software on the Web server
might utilize the data to generate
a document of some kind, or it
store the data in a database for later use.
HTML forms vs. PDF forms
Using HTML forms is the conventional method for
collecting data from users on the Internet
or on an Intranet. However, it is possible
PDF forms instead of
HTML forms for this purpose. Click here
to see some guidelines that explain
when to use HTML forms and when to use PDF forms.
How do you create an HTML form?
If you are willing to invest some time in
learning about HTML code, you can use any
application or word-processing application
to create HTML forms.
For example, on a Windows computer, you
can use Notepad or Microsoft Word. There
are many sources of information about HTML
and HTML forms on the Internet, and there are lots
of good books available. Note that
you'll need to make sure
that you save your HTML files in plan-text
(ASCII) format. You'll also want to give
your files an .html or .htm
filename extension, because software that
deals with HTML files (such as Web browsers
and Web servers)
expects them to be named that way.
If you don't want to spend time learning
about HTML code, you'll want to use
known as an "HTML editor" or
Such software lets
you use a drag-and-drop approach to
create HTML code, with or without forms. It generates
HTML code behind the scenes so that you
don't have to concern yourself
with the details of how the
HTML code is structured. It also allows
you to create special visual effects and
audio effects more quickly and more easily
than you could if you were using a regular text editor
or word processor.
Examples of HTML editors/Web-development
tools are Adobe Macromedia and Microsoft FrontPage.
It's easy to obtain free information about
HTML forms on the Internet. Just use your
favorite search engine to search for
"Web development" — you'll
get lots of hits!
Let our Wizard help you find the right product!
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