[thelist] XHTML Valid Jump Menu

.jeff jeff at members.evolt.org
Thu Oct 24 15:07:14 CDT 2002


> From: Saila, Craig
> I admire your passion for this, but believe it or not,
> it's not "wrong".  It may not accessible, it may not be
> proper, it may not be advisable, it may not be a lot of
> things, but, AFAIK, it's not wrong.

believe it or not, but it *is* actually wrong according to the spec.

a <form> action is required.  a <form> action must be of type "uri".


a uri is defined here:


and is further expanded upon by tim berners-lee in rfc 2396:


look at section 2.4.3.  here's a copy-n-paste of the relevant bit:

2.4.3. Excluded US-ASCII Characters

   Although they are disallowed within the URI syntax,
   we include here a description of those US-ASCII
   characters that have been excluded and the reasons
   for their exclusion.


   The angle-bracket "<" and ">" and double-quote (")
   characters are excluded because they are often used
   as the delimiters around URI in text documents and
   protocol fields.  The character "#" is excluded
   because it is used to delimit a URI from a fragment
   identifier in URI references (Section 4). The
   percent character "%" is excluded because it is
   used for the encoding of escaped characters.

he goes on to describe the fragment identifier in greater detail.

4.1. Fragment Identifier

   When a URI reference is used to perform a retrieval
   action on the identified resource, the optional
   fragment identifier, separated from the URI by a
   crosshatch ("#") character, consists of additional
   reference information to be interpreted by the user
   agent after the retrieval action has been
   successfully completed.  As such, it is not part of
   a URI, but is often used in conjunction with a URI.

the fact that using the hash is wrong is exemplified by the behavior of any browser when attempting to submit a form who's action is simply "#".  it will submit the form to the server at the url for the page containing the submitted form.  it's also wrong because as a fragment identifier it should contain a properly formatted fragment after the hash.


the fact that the current w3c validator doesn't catch this does not make it any less wrong.

let's not even talk about using a select for navigation.

> Believe it or not, there are people in the world that
> don't have access to back-end services that would allow
> them to do a "proper" form.

some might say that if you don't have back-end services, you shouldn't be using things in your html that require those sorts of things.  however, there are plenty of free back-end services available for people to use should they choose to look.  these were all found in less than 5 minutes of looking at the search results on google (http://www.google.com/search?q=free+hosted+cgi+redirect):

http://www.cgiforme.com/ > Jump-O-Rama
http://www.yourcgi.com/ > J-Box

> Using JavaScript is a /reasonable/ alternative to offer
> form functionality.

javascript should not be used as an alternative, but rather an enhancement to pre-existing server-side functionality.

> And specifying action="#" allows a page to validate --

for now, though it's technically not valid.

> and it doesn't use the javascript: pseudo protocol.
> Besides, its shorter than including the page URL, and
> adding a "return false" to the script.

but a "return false" still needs to be added to the onsubmit event handler or the form will submit.

i still stand by me opinion that using a hash in the form action is wrong -- just as wrong as using it as the value of the href attribute to make a link do "nothing".


jeff at members.evolt.org

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