4.13 FORMS Element for fill-out Forms
The NCSA development team has invested significant work
in developing Fill-out form support. FORMS is a sophisticated
package that allows for user-controlled interactions with
an HTTP server on a much more sophisticated level than is
possible with ISINDEX.
I have not written a long description of forms, as
NCSA has already done an admirable job. This document contains
(1) a simple introduction to what FORMS do and (2) a link to the
more detailed NCSA document (containing serveral examples)
What do FORMS do?
The FORM element allows you to create a fill-out form: the user
types information into the fields of the form and this information
can be passed to a cgi-bin script
on an HTTP server. A typical form layout might be:
<FORM ACTION="url" METHOD=POST>
First entry field: <INPUT NAME="entry1"> <P>
Second entry field: <INPUT NAME="entry2"> <P>
Third entry field: <INPUT NAME="entry3"> <P>
To submit the query, press:
<INPUT TYPE="submit" VALUE="Submit Query">. <P>
This is rendered:
You simply fill in the blanks, and press 'submit' (note that this
form doesn't do anything!)
FORMS is supported by many, but not all browsers. If you
see nothing above here that looks like a form, then your browser
Meanings of FORM Attributes
The ACTION specifies the url to which the form results will be
sent: this should be a cgi-bin script or program. If absent,
the ACTION is taken to be the url of the current document.
The METHOD specifies the HTTP method to be used to submit the
form information to the server. METHOD can have two arguments:
If you are writing your own FORMS you also need to write
a cgi-bin script or program to interpret the FORM entries.
Therefore you will also want to see the
and related documents.
- GET (the default) - the form contents are appended to the url
(after the question mark) just as with ISINDEX queries.
- POST - the form contents are sent to the server in the body
of the message. This is the recommended usage, although you
must be sure your HTTP server supports the POST method.
For more information see the
NCSA Fill-out Forms documentation.