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Using Forms in Web Development

You can get input from your users via HTML form elements. You can have many forms on a page. If they are named, you can refer to them by name. You can also refer to a form by its index into the zero-based forms array.

Each form can have any one of the standard HTML form elements. These include single-line text, radio, checkbox, hidden, password, reset, and submit. There is also a select widget, which can be either a drop-down list or open list, and a text area widget, which can be used to collect large amounts of text spanning multiple lines.

When you submit a form, all the values of the various form elements are retrieved, parsed, and concatenated with the location object:

  • They are placed in the path and preceded by question marks (?).

  • The value of location.search is precisely that string, including the question mark (?).

  • This string is not just a simple list of element contents, however.

  • Each item value is placed in the string in the form elementName=elementValue and followed by an ampersand (&).

  • Any non-alphanumeric characters are coded or escaped.

  • The ASCII value of any such character is changed into a two-digit hex number preceded by a percent sign (%).

  • If text field or text area elements have multiple words, these words are separated by a plus sign (+).

Consequently, when you get the location.search string, you have to decode it to get the various form elements that it contains.


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