Cover by Eric Freeman, Elisabeth Robson

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Chapter 14. HTML Forms: Getting Interactive

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So far all your web communication has been one-way: from your page to your visitors. Golly, wouldn’t it be nice if your visitors could talk back? That’s where HTML forms come in: once you enable your pages with forms (along with a little help from a web server), your pages are going to be able to gather customer feedback, take an online order, get the next move in an online game, or collect the votes in a “hot or not” contest. In this chapter you’re going to meet a whole team of HTML elements that work together to create web forms. You’ll also learn a bit about what goes on behind the scenes in the server to support forms, and we’ll even talk about keeping those forms stylish.

How forms work

If you use the Web at all, then you know what a form is. But you might not have really thought about what they have to do with HTML. A form is basically a web page with input fields that allows you to enter information. When the form is submitted, that information is packaged up and sent off to a web server to be processed by a server script. When the processing is done, what do you get? Another web page, of course, as a response. Let’s take a closer look at how this works:

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How forms work in the browser

To a browser, a form is just a bit of HTML in a page. ...

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