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Web Design Master Series Article
Web Design Master Series Article
is syndicated from Web-Source.net.
Syndicated articles are written by independent authors and the contents represent the author's views. The content of the article does not necessarily represent the views of Company Web staff and management.
I Made a Form. What Do I Do
We receive that type of question occasionally. Every time, it reminds me
of my own first steps into forms and CGI.
The first form I made didn't work. When I clicked the button and nothing
happened. No matter how long I waited for something to happen, it just sat
there, doing nothing.
That's when I began learning about CGI.
I had just started using the Internet and, to accelerate my learning, I had
accepted a job at an ISP.
Because I had years of programming experience at that time, I acquired a
workable understanding of CGI rather quickly. I can imagine that it must
be rather tough going for those who have no related experience.
Hopefully I can explain it clear enough so even folks new to the Internet
can comprehend the main points without a lot of effort.
Let's try it.
A browser displays web pages. Some of those web pages have forms to fill
When the information is filled in, the form is submitted. Submission is usually
accomplished by clicking a button. However, the button might be substituted
with an image.
Whether button or image, the information is submitted.
Submitted to what?
You'll understand more about CGI when that question is completely answered.
When a form is submitted, the information in the form is sent somewhere --
not to the browser; it's sent somewhere else.
So, where does the information go?
It can go to any one of several different places, but all of the destinations
do something with the information received.
The information might be sent to your email program. These types of forms
exist, but are in the minority.
Usually, when the information is submitted from forms, it is sent to a computer
program on a server.
A server is a computer that your browser contacts in order to get a web page.
When the form is submitted, the information is sent to a program on a server
for handling. The program can do any of various things with the information
submitted to it, whatever fulfills the purpose of the form.
The form might be a feedback form, a "recommend this web site" form, a form
to search the web site or the Internet, a survey or a quiz, a merchandise
order form, an ebook download form. a subscription form, well you get the
Whatever type of form it is, the thing to learn from this article is that
when a form is submitted, the information is sent somewhere. Usually, it
is sent to a program on a server which handles the information according
to the purpose of the form.
The purpose of a form often, though not always, requires that the submitted
information be stored in a database of some type, maybe a log of activities,
and/or sent in an email to a certain location.
(When you decide you want forms, select the type of program that will handle
the information submitted to it in the manner you desire. See the Master
Series of CGI programs at
And that's about it, except for one more thing.
When a form is submitted to a program on a server, the browser waits for
an acknowledgment. That acknowledgment is usually in the form of a "thank
you" page. But it might also be a succinct message such as "info received."
Something must be returned to the browser after the browser submits form
information to a program on the server. It's a requirement of CGI and the
browser expects it.
If you wish to learn more about forms, "How Forms Work" and the two-part
"HTML Form Tutorial" are linked from
CGI can be used for ever so much more than just for handling information
submitted with forms. But that's beyond the scope of this article.
A fun article about how CGI works is "How CGI Works" linked from the same
That page also contains links to other articles that may be of interest and
of benefit in further study.
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