Programming with HTML Forms / Introduction | WebReference

Programming with HTML Forms / Introduction


Programming with HTML Forms

A drawback with the basic features of HTML is their lack of support for writing documents which interact with the user. Interaction in many documents consists of the user deciding which hypertext link to follow next.

Fortunately, HTML 2.0 includes forms, which means that a document can utilize text entry fields, radio boxes, selection lists, check boxes, text areas, hidden fields, and buttons. These can be used to gather information for an application 'behind' the document, to guide what is offered to the user next. Some typical forms documents are: a movie database (see, questionnaires, surveys, and pizza delivery (Pizza Hut's PizzaNet at

This article details three stages in writing forms-based applications for Netscape Navigator for X Windows version 2.0. However, the approach is applicable to all Web browsers with forms capabilities.

The first example prints out the values entered in the fields of a form. The second searches through a text file for matching strings entered via a form. Both examples utilize C programs to process the form's data.

The article finishes with brief discussions of forms testing, and techniques for logging form usage.

Comments are welcome

Copyright 1996 Andrew Davison and Created: Apr. 26, 1996
Revised: May 7, 1996