This module provides a series of articles that will help you master HTML forms. HTML forms are a very powerful tool for interacting with users; however, for historical and technical reasons, it's not always obvious how to use them to their full potential. In this guide, we'll cover all aspects of HTML forms, from structure to styling, from data handling to custom widgets.
Before starting this module, you should at least work through our Introduction to HTML. At this point you should find the Basic guides easy to understand, and also be able to make use of our Native form widgets guide.
Note: If you are working on a computer/tablet/other device where you don't have the ability to create your own files, you could try out (most of) the code examples in an online coding program such as JSBin or Thimble.
- Your first HTML form
- The first article in our series provides your very first experience of creating an HTML form, including designing a simple form, implementing it using the right HTML elements, adding some very simple styling via CSS, and how data is sent to a server.
- How to structure an HTML form
- With the basics out of the way, we now look in more detail at the elements used to provide structure and meaning to the different parts of a form.
What form widgets are available?
The learning path has three articles covering all the form controls you need to know. If you don't find what you need, there's an advanced article on creating your own widgets:
- The native form widgets
- We start off by looking at the functionality of the the original input widgets in detail, looking at what options are available to collect different types of data.
- HTML5 input types
- We continue our deep dive into the
<input>element, looking on the newer input types, and the various UI widgets and data collection enhancements they provide, as well as the
- Additional form controls
- We take a look at all the non-input form controls and associated widgets, such as
- How to build custom form widgets (advanced)
- You'll come across some cases where the native form widgets just don't provide what you need, e.g. because of styling or functionality. In such cases, you may need to build your own form widget out of raw HTML. This article explains how you'd do this and the considerations you need to be aware of when doing so, with a practical case study.
Form styling guides
Form controls are notoriously difficult to style. The learning path has one article on styling HTML forms, and a few additional form style guides if you want to take a dive deeper:
- Styling HTML forms
- This article provides an introduction to styling forms with CSS, including all the basics you might need to know for basic styling tasks.
- Advanced styling for HTML forms (advanced)
- Here we look at some more advanced form styling techniques that need to be used when trying to deal with some of the more difficult-to-style elements.
- Property compatibility table for form widgets (advanced)
- This last article provides a handy reference allowing you to look up what CSS properties are compatible with what form elements.
Validating and submitting form data
- Form data validation
- Sending data is not enough — we also need to make sure that the data users fill out in forms is in the correct format we need to process it successfully, and that it won't break our applications. We also want to help our users to fill out our forms correctly and don't get frustrated when trying to use our apps. Form validation helps us achieve these goals — this article tells you what you need to know.
- Sending form data
- This article looks at what happens when a user submits a form — where does the data go, and how do we handle it when it gets there? We also look at some of the security concerns associated with sending form data.