IN THIS CHAPTER
Getting short data with text boxes
Gathering information with text areas
Making choices with check boxes and options buttons
Saving space with the SELECT and OPTION elements
Using INPUT buttons
Using the BUTTON element
Adding hidden fields
Setting tab order
Specifying access keys
Submitting the form
Forms provide a way for your site's visitors to give you information. Using a variety of different input techniques, forms enable you to gather all sorts of data, ranging from simple "yes" or "no" answers to complex written responses.
Forms are used for several different purposes. Most often, they are used to gather contact and delivery information for situations ranging from e-mail newsletters to the shipment of physical products. As HTML's native method for acquiring user input, forms are a powerful part of your Web design repertoire, enabling limitless opportunities for gathering information.
When it comes to visual presentation, however, forms leave a little bit to be desired. In fact, if you stick with the plain method of adding form controls and their accompanying text to your pages, you end up with a pretty sorry-looking design. To avoid this, embed your forms within tables, as the majority of Web designers do to keep their forms neat and attractive. This chapter is dedicated only to the use of forms. The technique for meshing them with tables is covered in detail in Chapter 6.
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