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Web Design in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition by Jennifer Niederst Robbins

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Form Elements

There are a variety of elements (also sometimes called “controls” or “widgets”) that can be used for gathering information from a form. This section looks at each control and its specific attributes. Every form control (except submit and reset) requires that you give it a name (using the name attribute) so the form-processing application can sort the information. For easier processing of form data on the server, the value of the name should not have any character spaces (use underscores or periods instead).

Input Controls: <input>

The controls described in the following sections are entered as attribute options within the <input> tag.

Text entry (type=text)

The simplest type of form element is the text entry field (type=text), which is the default setting for the <input> element. This field allows the user to enter a single word or a line of text. By default, the browser displays a text-entry box that is 20 characters wide, but you can set it to be any length using the size attribute.

By default the user can type an unlimited number of characters into the field (the display scrolls to the right if the text exceeds the width of the supplied box), but you can set a maximum number of characters using the maxlength attribute.

Use the value attribute to specify text to appear when the form is loaded. This can be changed by the user. If you have a form that consists of only one text input element, hitting the Enter key submits the form without requiring a specific Submit ...

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