[Web4lib] collecting form input

Mark Gilman mgilman at dallaslibrary.org
Tue Aug 15 21:50:35 EDT 2006

The answer to this is likely obvious, but not to me.  What is the easiest
way to collect data via a web-based form in such a manner that it can be
imported into a lightweight database such as Access?  I realize that one can
use a simple HTML form and then use post or a similar method to email the
data, but what I'm looking for is a more elegant way to collect structured
data (i.e. several thousand summer reading program registrations) in a
manner that obviates the need to rekey it into a database.  Preferably this
would be a technology that does not rely on a lot of fancy server support.
I've sort of had one eye on the XForms development, but since no browsers
supports XForms out of the box, that doesn't yet seem the right path to
The basic HTML forms I've used in the past are pretty limited.  Should I be
exploring multipart/form-data?  What I want to be able to do, I suppose, is
to be able to aggregate a bunch of strings that are readable by Access as
records.  They wouldn't have to be very sophisticated.  They are essentially
just flat files.  I guess we would like to filter or otherwise validate
certain of the fields.

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