Web Form tag & HTML elements

Forms are very common in web pages through out Internet. Web forms are mostly used to capture user entered data and post them back to the server. You can see signup forms, login forms, profile update forms and many more type of forms.
<form method="POST" action="file_name.php">
     <!--- Other form components here -->
HTML form input and data receiving page

How to select a form component

Designing a form is based on the data format requirement. For example if you want the users to tell about their gender. Here the user will enter one out of the two choices available, so one period button is to be provided for the user to select. Same way one input text box is to be provided for entering name of the joining member. To select a city, user can be given a dropdown listbox showing name of the cities from which user can select.

Based on different data input requirements we can keep different form components or input types.

Here we will understand different types of components used to collect data and their possible use. Before that let us try to understand the basic form structure or syntax.

Form tag

Our form area starts with <form ..> and ends with </form>. All our input fields are to be located between these two tags. These are two boundaries for the data entry. Here is the basic syntax for the form tag.

Method attribute of the html form

The method parameter takes two values one is GET and other is POST. In GET method values are passed through the address bar or technically speaking they are passed as query string. We should not pass sensitive information this way as through browser history they can be retrieved. Post method submits the data without using the query string.

You can read more on GET & POST methods here.

Action attribute

The action attribute takes the name of the file to which the data to be submitted for further processing. It can be a file in the same directory or a file in different directory. We have to give proper path information if they are in different directory. Forms can even submit data to a different web site by using the URL of the site and the particular page by entering the details in action attributes.

For example form can submit data to https://www.mysite.com/my_file.php page for processing the entered data of the visitor.

If the action tag is left blank then the form will submit the data to itself( same file ). In this case we have to keep the form processing script in the same file.

HTML FORM basics with input fields submit button action page and target attributes

We can give a name to the form by declaring it through name tag. Like this name='f1'. It is easy to get the value of any entry by using name tag of the form like
var val=form.cat.options[form.cat.options.selectedIndex].value;
Elements <tag> Description
Text fieldEntering short text like name, email, address etc
Hidden FieldHidden to the user with data to pass along with user entered data
Password FieldInput text entered will be masked to prevent others from seeing
TextAreaLarge text like blog posting, comments, body of email form
Radio buttonSelecting one of many option
CheckboxSelecting one or more out of several options
Drop down listSelecting option from a drop down list box
OptgroupOPTGROUP for grouping options of a select box
DatalistSelecting from options with auto complete
ButtonTo trigger event or run script by user
Image ButtonUsing images as button
Submit ButtonStart sending the form elements data for processing
Resetting the formReset button to reset the form data to default values

Applications and uses of html form elements

ApplicationUses of form element
Set FocusKeeping the crusher at a text field to receive user data by default
Two Submit ButtonSubmitting same from data to two different action pages
Submit to new windowForm data to submit to a new window keeping the parent window as it is
Back to previous pageHistory button to take the user to previous pages
File UploadHTML form tags to upload files from user computer to server or for attachment
Select optionsDifferent form component types for user selection of options

Text field in a Web form

questions on HTML Form

  1. Exercise on HTML Form
  2. Create a form for a member to enter following data.

    First Name
    Second Name
    Gender ( Radio button )
    Class ( select from a list of one to ten )
    Languages they know ( checkbox ) Python, PHP, JavaScript
    Details about educational background ( textarea )

    The Label and input field must be in one line with matching alignment.
    Colour of the font and background of the text should be different.
    On Submit the form should send data to a different page. ( Form should be at Signup page signup.html and on submit the data should goto signupck.php page )

    Integration of all html input components in to a form and submit user entered data
  3. Read details on how to collect form data in a PHP page here . Display all the data you receive from the signup form here .
  4. Create a link which points to the above page. On click of this link the page with above form will open and get filled with default value as passed on by the link.

    Hint : This is similar to submitting the form by GET method.
    Read how to collect data from query string and use it as textbox default data
    Read Data formatting in Query string


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