HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
Chapter 8
Assembling Forms and Applications
We've referred to the Web as a conduit for the movement of information, distributing ideas around the
world to anyone who wants to find them. It's this far-reaching scope and wide-open range that makes the
Web so captivating and philosophically marvelous. But information doesn't flow only downhill. Your visitors
might arrive at your website to passively absorb, but, if allowed, they can also participate in the exchange
of information, offering their own ideas and reactions.
But how can you receive such feedback from your visitors? How can readers and viewers become valued
contributors? The simplest, most common, and perhaps most powerful means of moving ideas uphill onto
the Web is through a form . In the analog world, a form is just a printed document with predefined, labeled
blanks where people can write information. Forms standardize the formatting of data for easier handling;
when a clerk knows exactly where to look to find a customer's name on a slip of paper, it saves precious
time and makes his or her job that much easier. If you take this concept a step further, a web form
becomes more than just a stodgy way to force your formatting expectations onto your visitors. Forms are
the means by which an anonymous user becomes an active participant.
If you've ever used a search engine, made an online purchase, created a personalized login to a website,
posted a comment, uploaded a photo, or updated your status on a social network, you've already seen
and used web forms; the Web simply wouldn't be what it is without them. They're ubiquitous and a
fundamental cornerstone of online living, so you'll inevitably need to include forms in some of the pages
you build. This chapter explores the HTML elements you'll need to construct functional, usable, and
accessible forms for your web pages, as well as a few ways to use CSS to make your web forms more
visually appealing.
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