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Step 5. Using Forms with ColdFusion MX

Step 5. Using Forms with ColdFusion MX

If you have been using the web for any length of time, you are probably familiar with HTML forms. HTML forms are a common feature of most web sites and are used for tasks, such as gathering user feedback and providing user interfaces for things like login and search functionality. HTML forms are an ever-present fixture on the web because they are so flexible and easy to use. They are not very smart, however; about all they can do is gather information (in the form of text) and email that information to someone. HTML itself has no way to interact with or process the information it gathers from a form.

If you have been using forms on your web sites, you probably have been processing the information from these forms using CGI scripts or perhaps Microsoft FrontPage extensions. In this chapter, we will look at how to use ColdFusion to process and manipulate the information gathered by HTML forms. We also will look at using special ColdFusion-based forms in place of plain HTML forms. This chapter assumes you have a working knowledge of HTML forms. Consequently, we will be focusing on the use of ColdFusion rather than the finer points of creating HTML forms. If you need to brush up on your forms, try the tutorials at www.htmlgoodies.com or www.pageresource.com.

Before we start diving into using ColdFusion to handle our forms, we need to have an understanding of the form-submission process. When using ColdFusion to process form information, two pages/templates are involved in the transaction: the form page and the action page. The form page is the page that actually contains the form. This page gathers information from the user and passes it on to the action page for processing. The action page receives the information passed by the form and performs some sort of processing on that information.


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