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Forms - Basics >> Mailto VS CGI
Forms are a great way to get feedback from your visitors. From simple comments to taking orders. Some online servers provide a general CGI form to activate and receive comments from visitors.

Some older browsers may not understand the FORM function. This won't create an error, but it will bring up the visitor's e-mail program to send information.

Most FORMs use a CGI (Common Gateway Interface) program. This is a separate program that lives on a server. It takes the visitor's FORM input, processes it, and sends it to a specified email. Without a CGI, the outcome may be a very long line of continuous text.

If your server does not offer a GGI for your FORM, you can find a FREE service at http://www.bravenet.com/Free Webtools for Webmasters. Once registered, choose E-mail Forms and follow the questions to set your FORM up. They give you a simple form code to copy and paste into your own code. Very easy to understand and do.

Note : Using a FORM to collect data DOES NOT and WILL NOT post information onto a web page. The information is directed to a CGI or e-mail only.
  • Anything placed within the FORM tags will be considered part of the FORM.
  • Any FORM type tags must be within the FORM area to work correctly.
  • All regular HTML tags are usable in the FORM area as well.
The basic FORM has :
  1. The FORM tag set.
  2. The SUBMIT button.
  3. The RESET button.
<form method=" " action=" ">

<input type="submit" value=" ">
<input type="reset" value=" ">
</form>

FORM tells the browser to expect some visitor input using some special tags.

<form method="GET or POST" action=" ">

<input type="submit" value=" ">
<input type="reset" value=" ">
</form>

METHOD is how the FORM information is going to be sent. The two options for this property are GET or POST. Post is the most common and used.

GETThe default setting.
Sends information as a query string.
Not used often.
Size limitations.
POSTSends information as text.
Text is in one long line.
No size limitations.

<form method=" " action="CGI or mailto:SomeEmail">

<input type="submit" value=" ">
<input type="reset" value=" ">
</form>

ACTION is where information is going to be sent. This is where the specified CGI link or your e-mail information goes. Direct to e-mail usually results in a VERY long line of information instead of a compiled set of answers. Mailto tends to be an unstable working value. The CGI option is very recommended.

<form method=" " action=" ">

<input type="submit" value=" ">
<input type="reset" value=" ">
</form>

INPUT readies for FORM for accepting information.

<form method=" " action=" ">

<input type="submit" value=" ">
<input type="reset" value=" ">
</form>

TYPE produces the actual FORM item. The different values for TYPE are :
submitcreates a button for sending information.
resetcreates a button for clearing the FORM.
textsingle line text box for user input.
radiosingle circle toggled on/off in a set.
checkboxsingle square toggled on/off individually.

<form method=" " action=" ">

<input type="submit" value="Send the info">
<input type="reset" value="Clear the form">
</form>

VALUE produces words to appear on or in the specified TYPE. Also acts as a title on submitted information.

Note : All of the examples in the following pages belong within a FORM area as seen above.
Forms - Basics >> Mailto VS CGI
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