A form begins and ends with the HTML <form> tag. The opening tag (<form>) indicates the beginning of a form and sets its properties; the closing tag (</form>), of course, marks the form’s end.
You add different objects between these tags to deck out your pages with the form elements your visitors interact with—radio buttons, text fields, and pull-down menus are just a few you can choose from to gather input. It’s perfectly OK to include other HTML elements inside a form, too. In fact, your visitors would be lost if you didn’t add (and format) text that explains each element’s purpose. And if you don’t use a table or Cascading Style Sheets to lay out your form in an organized way, it can quickly become an unreadable mess (see the box on Giving Order to Your Forms).
Figure 12-1. A form can be as simple as a single empty text box (called a field) and a button, or as complex as a 100-question survey composed of fill-in-the-blank and multiple-choice questions.
Every form element, whether it’s a text field or a checkbox, has a name and a value. You supply the name, which should reflect the information you’re trying to collect. For example, if you want a visitor to type his email address into a text field, you might name that field email. The value, on the other hand, is what your visitor types in—the text he enters into a text field, for example, or the selections he makes from ...