Using Forms on Art on the Net

Our server supports a simple forms interface that allows for collecting data entered into the form by the viewer. The data can be appended to a file in your account directory, and/or e-mailed to you. The instructions below assume you know how to write HTML forms. If not, see the Beginner's Guide to Writing HTML.

To use our forms interface, you must use the POST method of submitting the form. The action for the POST method will point to a URL that processes the form data. The URL specifies both a program that processes the form, and the location of a configuration file that tells it how to process the form. For example, your HTML form would start with the following:

<form method="POST"

In this example, cgibin/form is the name of our forms processing program. dir is replaced by your directory name without /home/art/WWW, (ie: /Studios/Visual/Lile) and filename is the name of the configuration file that will be used by the forms processing program. You can have different configuration files for each form, or use the same one for multiple forms.

You must create the configuration file and place it in the path specified by the action URL mentioned above. The configuration file must contain at least two items (one per line): a name for the form, and a URL that should be returned after the forms processing is finished. Additionally, it can contain a command to append the form data into a file, and/or a command to email the form to a specified address. The configuration file commands are:

For example:

name test
return thanks.html
This file specifies a name for the form (test), a URL to return after it is processed (thanks.html), and that the form data be appended to a file ( and also emailed (to

If the URL to return is not fully specified (ie. does not start with http://hostname/) then "" is prefixed to the URL.

The form data is formatted into a number of fields: date, time, hostname accessing the form, name of the form, and then followed by the form data. The form data is in the format fieldname='data'; multiple fields are separated by semicolons. For example:

19941109 004223 test name='joe'; number='123'
One last note: In order to have data appended to a file in your directory, the file must exist and be set world-writeable. The protection we recommend for a data file is "rw-rw--w-". To set up a data file, create an empty file and transfer it to your directory. Then set the protections using the FTP command quote site chmod 662 filename. We are looking into a better way to handle this.