In many cases, it can be useful to receive feedback from our web visitors. Common PHP or CGI applications can process data and produce edited reporting. However, in most cases, just a plain email is enough. HTML provides an easy way to send web forms data through this channel.
Generic form tags
Of course, first step is to define the input form itself. We will add the form part inside the body section of the HTML file:
-FORM tag: needs opening and closing, it includes two attributes:
ACTION: will define the URL for the data-processing file (PHP or CGI, for example).
METHOD: Either "Get" or "Post"; email action will require usually POST method.
- INPUT tag: To define each individual data entry. It includes two attributes, too:
TYPE: it can be "text", "password", "radio" (button), "checkbox", "file", "submit", "reset"
NAME: an identification for later reporting and data management. - SELECT tag: for multiple choice selection (drop-down lists) - TEXTAREA: for special uses, where long input from the visitor is expected (comments, suggestions). Size can be defined in rows and columns.
The action of sending the email will be defined at the URL position. Instead of "http://www.myweb.com/process.cgi", the action tag will include something like "mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org". The "post" parameter will include the data pairs (data name and value) in a text file, which will be the email contents. If you are skilled with PHP, you might add some programming, so that output is formatted. If you just want to send raw data, this is not needed (although basic PHP may improve usability) to produce mail forms.
The following example would define a basic structure for data input from the web visitor:
FORM action="mailto:email@example.com method="post"
INPUT type="text" name="visitor_name"
INPUT type="password" name="thepass"
FORM end Please check the images included in this article for "real" HTML code view. To create forms with specific layout and styling, some more HTML or CSS is required; web forms can be real simple - or as complicated as desired. IMPORTANT If you include a "file" input (to upload a CV, or maybe some cooking recipes) you have to include some filtering (even virus scan) to avoid the reception of malware - or just invalid data.