Forms provide interaction between the creator of a web site
and people visiting the web site. They can be used for guestbooks,
surveys, and more. To really make a form work, you'll
need to know a programming language, like PERL (Practical Extraction
Or, you can modify a free script that will take the contents of a form and send it to a
specified email address. We'll talk about some of these options later
on in this course.
For now, you'll learn to create beautiful, completely non-functioning forms!
INDEX CARD #20:
INTRODUCTION TO FORMS (20a)
What is a form? A form is a formatted document containing blank fields that users can fill in with data. (Think: job application forms;
applications for credit; college application forms; etc.) On the
web, you get an "electronic form" instead of an old-fashioned "paper-and-pencil" form, like this (non-functioning) form:
HTML tags merely describe how the form should look, and where the collected information should be sent. The processing of the information
is done somewhere else.
What happens to the information that gets put into the form? Usually, it's processed by a CGI (Common Gateway Interface) program.
What is a "CGI program"? A CGI program is any program designed to accept and return data that conforms to the CGI specification. On Unix, the most common CGI
programming language is PERL; other languages used are C/C++, Java, Visual Basic, and AppleScript.
OTHER WAYS TO INTERACT (20b)
Processing forms using CGI programs (also called "CGI scripts") involves the web server: it's a "server-side" solution to achieving
interactivity. There are also "client-side" solutions that are executed
(W20.1) Please continue with the online tutorial located at:
http://www.cwru.edu/help/interHTML/toc.html (link is no longer valid)
Read Chapter 4 (FORMS THEORY) and do the exercises at the end
of Chapter 4.
(A20.1) In the Weasel Book, please do the following: read page 226 (opening paragraph); quickly skim the "Summary of Form Tags" on pages 226233 to
get a taste of what's involved in forms; then read pages
233234 (on "Introduction to Forms").
do for you, do it now!