Building Forms

Forms are an essential part of how the Web is made interactive and useful. Forms are interactive because a form demands that you, the user, interact with it to perform some task. That task might be any number of important ones:

  • Entering information into your online banking system so you can manage funds online
  • Submitting your name and information to become a member of an online dating service
  • Making a purchase for an airline ticket and travel services
  • Purchasing other goods and services online

Without forms, we'd have had none of these features available and, in fact, the Web itself would never have moved along to become as efficient as it is in terms of providing interactive services. Today other technologies are being used with regularity to accomplish the same things HTML forms do.

Flash, for example, supports rich forms that are also very fast and update on the same page. This doesn't mean that HTML forms are falling out of favor: Although Flash forms can be very useful for some users, they cannot be made as searchable and accessible in the way that HTML-based forms can. So even sites using Flash forms often also provide an HTML alternative. Other technologies are beginning to emerge to help make forms more feature rich, but these technologies are preliminary, so HTML forms remain the conventional method to bring interactivity and functionality to websites.

Here you'll learn how to build HTML forms and make them logical and accessible. I'll also provide resources along the way so you can become more aware of the options you have when it comes to server-side scripts to validate and process the forms that you build.