Basic forms help!

Hi all!

Okay, I may be a total nit, but something has been bugging me for eons. I am not a beginner, and yet I’m not a terribly sophisticated Web programmer. I do what I need to get by, but I try to do it well.

After all that, Web forms still give me the heebies. I think it’s greatly hilarious that 99% of all the form tutorials out there show you how to build the form just fine. Name fields, great; check boxes, ok!

But when it comes to actually getting the form to do something, either the creator of the tutorial says “talk to your Web provider” or “the actual performance of the form is beyond the scope of this tutorial” (they don’t understand either, in other words) or descends (ascends?) into completely incoherent php-ese, but ONLY in bits and pieces. There is never a clear explanation of where these bits go or what they talk to. Often, there is not even a clear idea of what these bits are truly supposed to do.

It’s really funny how complicated it comes off, considering the majority of Web creators would just like to get a name, email addy and a message, and not necessarily a pile of info that will be applied to a database or ASP. There are millions of “Contact” pages that have the ancient mailto links simply because forms come across as some sort of voodoo.

Here’s what I would love:

  • A dummy Web page that would show me the overall HTML of the page.

  • The basic form tags.

  • The actual position and paths of any POST or GET commands as related to Dreamhost.

  • Examples of typical fields, like name, email, message.

  • That’s it!

Essentially I want something that if I swiped it and threw it onto a page, it would work. Yeah, yeah, that’s getting someone else to do the work, but I’ll figure it out by example, I promise.

So far, when I post to other forums, I got all sorts of condescension, so that I don’t need. I just need simple instructions that I can understand. I know it’s easy, it just still doesn’t make sense!

Thanks greatly in advance!

There are a couple of wiki articles that should help you:

  1. PHP Form Processing
  2. PHP mail()

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I’m having a similar problem - I’ve designed a contact form in flash, and I’m having a hard time finding the correct information to plug into the action script to get it to work. The contact form is simple, containing three input fields (name, email, and comments), and I want to send all of the information to one email address. The script I have is as follows:

function sendForm() {
gatherForm.email_to = "";
gatherForm.visitor_name = contactForm.userName.text;
gatherForm.visitor_email = contactForm.userEmail.text;
gatherForm.visitor_comments = contactForm.userComments.text;

gatherForm.send(“url”, “window”, “method”);

I need dreamhost-specific info for the email_to, visitor_name, visitor_email, and visitor_comments placeholders, as well as the url, window, and method info for the send function.

I couldn’t find any flash or action script specific info on the wiki for this. If anyone has any clues on where I should be looking for this info, please let me know!

You don’t mention formmail. Have you looked at

It sounds as if that would do what you want without having to code your own action in PHP or whatever.

The line is there at the top of the page – as it needs to be for Dreamhost. And there’s code for all the other input fields that the formmail program would handle in a special way. You can then add other fields (as explained in all those tutorials) and they’ll simply be added to the e-mail message that formmail sends.

Is that enough to get you on your way?