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Using Forms

One of the most powerful features of the Web is the capability to interact and collect input from your users. Web technologies offer more than downloading static information—users can post feedback, too, in the form of guest books, site registrations, content searches, and product orders. You accomplish this two-way communication pathway by using forms.

Forms are HTML Web pages with special tags that create interactive elements, including option buttons, check boxes, drop-down menus, and buttons. Part of the form references a program on the server to process the results when the user clicks a submit button. The browser collects the values from the form, sends the data to the server, which calls the program to process the data, which in turn sends the results in an HTML response back to the browser. The magic of the form is really in the program that resides on the server—there it can do powerful processing, such as query a database, send email, save the form data in a server file, place an order, or search the Web site content for a phrase and return the pages that best match, complete with links.


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