Web Forms Reloaded

Album Cover: Wincing the Night Away

"It's like I'm perched on the handlebars of a blind man's bike."
The Shins / Spilt Needles

Posted on June 27, 2004 2:13 PM in Web Development
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

If you're a web developer and have done any kind of work involving forms, you know that they can be an absolute pain in the butt to work with, especially when you're dealing with validation, required fields, and multiple data formats (e.g. credit cards, dates, etc.).

Well, if the new Web Forms 2.0 specification is any indication, these woes may soon become a thing of the past (at least in browsers like Opera and Firefox, where they are most likely to be implemented).

Among the most interesting and useful new features, at least in my opinion, are the pattern attribute, for ensuring that form field contents match the regular expression you provide; the required attribute, which gets rid of the headaches of handling form validation on your own – instead, just leave it up to the browser; and the help attribute, which allows you to provide a URI that contains helpful information regarding the field you are working with.

There are a ton of other improvements as well, so if you're at all interested in the future of forms on the web, check out the latest Web Forms 2.0 specification.

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