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6.2. The <input> Tag

Use the <input> tag to define any one of a number of common form elements, including text fields, multiple-choice lists, clickable images, and submission buttons. Although there are many attributes for this tag, only the type and name attributes are required for each element (only type for a submission button). Each type of input element uses only a subset of the allowed attributes. Additional <input> attributes may be required based on the specified form element.

You select the type of element to include in the form with the <input> tag's required type attribute and name the field (used during the form-submission process to the server) with the name attribute.

The most useful (as well as the most common) form-input element is the text-entry field. A text-entry field appears in the browser window as an empty box on one line and accepts a single line of user input that becomes the value of the element when the user submits the form to the server. To create a text entry field inside a form in your HTML document, set the type of the <input> form element to text. You must include a name attribute as well.

The size and maxlength attributes allow you to dictate the width, in characters, of the text-input display box and how many total characters to accept from the user, respectively. The default value for size is dependent on the browser; the default value for maxlength is unlimited.

A text-entry field is usually blank until the user types something into it. You may, however, specify an initial default value for the field with the value attribute.

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