HTML and CSS Reference
Chapter 9. Forms
Forms, forms, forms, forms: we fill 'em out for nearly everything, from
the moment we're born, 'til the moment we die. Pretty mundane, really.
So what's to explain all the hoopla and excitement over HTML forms?
Simply this: they make HTML and, of course, XHTML truly interactive.
When you think about it, interacting with a web page is basically a lot
of button pushing: click here, click there, go here, go therethere's no
real interactivity, and it's certainly not personalized. Programs such as
applets, servlets, JSPs, and ASPs provide extensive user-interaction cap-
ability but can be difficult to write. Forms, on the other hand, are easily
made in HTML/XHTML and make it possible to create documents that col-
lect and process user input and to formulate personalized replies.
This powerful mechanism has far-reaching implications, particularly for
electronic commerce. It finishes an online catalog by giving buyers a way
to immediately order products and services. It gives nonprofit organiza-
tions a way to sign up new members. It lets market researchers collect
user data. It gives you an automated way to interact with your readers.
Mull over the ways you might want to interact with your readers while we
take a look at both the client- and server-side details of creating forms.