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Creating pages

Creating forms
Forms allow readers of your Web page to send you information. You can create forms that send you email, forms that search a database, forms that add information to a database, and more.


Choosing a form handler

Forms work by running a program on a Web server. So, to create a usable form, you either have to know how to program or use a program that someone else wrote.

In AOLpress, the location of the program you want to run is called the Form Handler Location. Since you haven't created a program yet, we'll use the program WebCrawler uses to help you search the Web. To run someone else's program, you create fields that match the ones in the form normally used to run the program. The WebCrawler program is located at: http://www.webcrawler.com/cgi-bin/WebQuery.

  1. Place your cursor in the space to the right.
  2. Select FormatForm. In the window that asks for a Form Handler Location, type the location of the WebCrawler program exactly as shown above.
  3. Choose POST as the Method. (This controls how values in the fields get sent to the program. Ask the creator of your program if you don't know which to use.)
  4. Click OK. Notice that you see two dashed lines. These lines are the boundaries of the form. In addition, a toolbox with several icons for creating fields appears.
  5. Click the Text icon in the toolbox. In the Text Field window that appears, type "searchText" as the Form Tag. You can change the Display Size to make the field wider if you like.
  6. Click OK to create the text field. This is where you will type your WebCrawler search text.
  7. Click the Submit icon in the toolbox.
  8. Change the Button Label to "WebCrawler Search" and click OK.
   Try it here:
Now your form is ready to use! Try typing some keywords you want to search for on the Web. Then, click the "WebCrawler" button. You should see the WebCrawler search results. Click the icon to return to this page.

If you are a PrimeHost customer, see the PrimeHost Getting Started Guide and the PrimeHost FAQ for information about the form handlers provided with your PrimeHost account.

If you are an AOL member, see the AOL Web Administrator's page for information about the form handlers provided with your AOL membership.


Adding a selection list

A selection list lets you pull down a list and select the option you want. Here we'll add a selection list that lets you control how many matches WebCrawler sends.

  1. Put your cursor to the right of the line that says "Number to find".
  2. Click the Slist icon in the toolbox.
  3. Type "maxHits" in the Form Tag field.
  4. Change the Display field to 3 lines.
  5. Now, type a number of matches you might want the search to find in the Elements area (for example, 10). Click the Add button to add the number to the list.
  6. Add several more numbers to the list (for example, 5 and 20). You can change the order of the numbers by using the Up and Down buttons.
  7. Click OK to create the selection field. (Unless you put a check in the Select box for an entry, you'll see a message that says "Nothing is selected". Click Yes to make the first choice the default selection in your form.)
  8. Test your form by typing some text to search for, selecting a number of matches, and clicking the WebCrawler Search button.
   Try it here:
Search for:

Number to find:

For more information about creating forms, see the chapter on forms in the AOLpress User's Guide. For information about creating programs to use with your forms, you can read the AOLserver documentation.

In the next lesson you'll learn how to create frames to divide your page into separate regions. Don't forget to choose FileSave to save your changes to this page.


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