WWW FAQ: How can users send me comments and/or email?


How can users send me comments and/or email?

There are two ways:
Using a mailto: URL
You can simply create a link which looks like this:

<A HREF="mailto:me@my.address">Send Me Mail</A>

This works great for browsers that support the mailto: URL. Perhaps 80% of web users will be able to use such a link. But not all browsers support it.

Installing a comment form
If you have access to the server's configuration files, or if your server administrator permits users to create their own CGI scripts, you can create a form which sends mail to you from any browser that supports forms. A really flexible package for this is the mit-dcns-cgi package (URL is <URL:http://web.mit.edu/wwwdev/www/dist/mit-dcns-cgi.html> ). I've written a simple email forms package (URL is <URL:http://www.boutell.com/email/> ), which does it in ANSI C. There is also a package written in Perl, known as the WWW Mailto Gateway (URL is <URL:http://www.mps.ohio-state.edu/mailto/mailto_info.html> ). GetComments (URL is <URL:http://seclab.cs.ucdavis.edu/~hoagland/>) is a more general package, also written in Perl, which can do many different things in response to a form submission. Tcl programmers may wish to try J.M. Ivler's TCL mail forms package <URL:http://www.crl.com/~ivler/jmi.html>.

InfoMania offers a tool called Uniform which automatically formats e-mail based on the input received from a form posting. This "one size fits all" CGI program is a convenient alternative to writing custom CGI programs. <URL:http://www.mornini.com/>

Macintosh users should check out forms.acgi <URL:http://www.biola.edu/cgi-bin/forms/>, a comment-handling package for Macintosh web servers.

If you want to learn how these forms actually work, see the entry on CGI scripts.


World Wide Web FAQ