Form Designs


HTML Forms are required when you want to collect some data from the site visitor. For example registration information: name, email address, credit card, etc.

A form will take input from the site visitor and then will post your back-end application such as CGI, ASP Script or PHP script etc. Then your back-end application will do required processing on that data in whatever way you like.

Form elements are like text fields, textarea fields, drop-down menus, radio buttons, checkboxes, etc. which are used to take information from the user.

Most frequently used form attributes are:

  • name: This is the name of the form.
  • action: Here you will specify any script URL which will receive uploaded data.
  • method: Here you will specify method to be used to upload data. It can take various values but most frequently used are GET and POST.
  • target: It specifies the target page where the result of the script will be displayed. It takes values like _blank, _self, _parent etc.
  • enctype: You can use the enctype attribute to specify how the browser encodes the data before it sends it to the server. Possible values are like:
    • application/x-www-form-urlencoded - This is the standard method most forms use. It converts spaces to the plus sign and non-alphanumeric characters into the hexadecimal code for that character in ASCII text.
    • mutlipart/form-data - This allows the data to be sent in parts, with each consecutive part corresponding the a form control, in the order they appear in the form. Each part can have an optional content-type header of its own indicating the type of data for that form control.



Form controls

There are different types of form controls that you can use to collect data from a visitor to your site.

  • Text input controls
  • Buttons
  • Checkboxes and radio buttons
  • Select boxes
  • File select boxes
  • Hidden controls
  • Submit and reset button

HTML Forms – Text Input Controls:

There are actually three types of text input used on forms:

  • Single-line text input controls: Used for items that require only one line of user input, such as search boxes or names. They are created using the <input> element.
  • Password input controls: Single-line text input that mask the characters a user enters.
  • Multi-line text input controls: Used when the user is required to give details that may be longer than a single sentence. Multi-line input controls are created with the <textarea> element.


Single-line text input controls:

Single-line text input controls are created using an <input> element whose type attribute has a value of text.

Following is the list of attributes for <input> tag.

  • type: Indicates the type of input control you want to create. This element is also used to create other form controls such as radio buttons and checkboxes.
  • name: Used to give the name part of the name/value pair that is sent to the server, representing each form control and the value the user entered.
  • value: Provides an initial value for the text input control that the user will see when the form loads.
  • size: Allows you to specify the width of the text-input control in terms of characters.
  • maxlength: Allows you to specify the maximum number of characters a user can enter into the text box.



Multiple-Line Text Input Controls:

If you want to allow a visitor to your site to enter more than one line of text, you should create a multiple-line text input control using the <textarea> element.

Following is the detail of above used attributes for <textarea> tag.

  • name: The name of the control. This is used in the name/value pair that is sent to the server.
  • rows: Indicates the number of rows of text area box.

cols: Indicates the number of columns of text area box




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