There are many reasons why you might not want to use CGI forms on your Web site. For example your web site may be on a free host that does not allow custom CGI scripts. You may want to conserve bandwidth on your Web server. Or maybe you just donít want the hassle of CGI programming.
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Submit Forms Without CGI

There are many reasons why you might not want to use CGI forms on your Web site. For example your web site may be on a free host that does not allow custom CGI scripts. You may want to conserve bandwidth on your Web server. Or maybe you just donít want the hassle of CGI programming.

An alternative method to let visitors to your Web site submit forms is through email. If you know how to code a form in html and you know a little JavaScript, then designing a form for email submission is not difficult. If you donít know either of those things, you can still design your own email submission form if you can follow the pattern of the code provided with this article.

The code provides an example of using checkboxes, a select list, and a text area with an email submission form. If you can follow the pattern, you can edit the code to your requirements, remove some elements, and add more of a different element.

The code comes in two basic parts, the html form, and a JavaScript function that applies a bit of processing to the formís data before submitting it to the users email program.

The first problem I found with submitting a form by email is that the formís action property captures only the first input element of the form. So I added a hidden input as the first element of the form. When the user clicks on the "Submit" button, the form is passed to a JavaScript function that collects the data from all the input elements of the form and places them in that first hidden element.

The second problem I found with submitting a form by email is that the formís data is submitted in URL encoded format. It's possible to type any character into a text box on a form, including slashes and other characters that have meaning in a URL. Also, a URL canít have spaces. When you submit the form, the browser replaces dangerous characters with other characters, and spaces are replaced with "+" signs. The JavaScript function uses URL escape characters to reformat the data so it creates a more understandable email message.

To a non-programmer, the escape characters make the JavaScript code look way more complicated than it is. You might want to make a second copy of the code, and in that copy, remove all the escape characters to make the program more readable. The escape characters used are listed below.

%0a = Line Feed
%0d = Carriage Return
%20 = Space

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