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Re: FORMs and GET

From: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
Date: Thu, 17 Jan 2002 22:13:14 -0800
Message-ID: <3C47BCFA.E7E8533D@prescod.net>
To: www-forms@w3.org
Ray Cromwell wrote:
> 
> Why not use <loadURI> to do it? 

It's somewhat of a kludge! And it will get nasty for complicated forms.

> ... It seems to me that
> these common "query" GET requests are not really
> "forms" but merely link navigations that take a single
> parameter, sort of like the old ISINDEX or <AREA> and
> client or server-side image maps. I see Google's
> "form" as nothing more than an <ISINDEX>

A form is a user interface. I don't see why a user interface used to GET
information instead of POST information is no longer a form. When I go
to a Sushi restaurant I fill out a form and get back some sushi. Isn't
it a real form? They aren't storing the data. It's a pure query.

> Google nor eBay would ever use GET to collect "real
> form data", including shipping, billing, or other
> database oriented information, for several reasons.

Why is some form data "real"? What is the other type of data? A form is
a user interface. It should send the information it collects where-ever
I need the information sent!

>...
> Finally, just because Google, eBay, and everyone else
> uses GET for these purposes doesn't mean that its a
> good thing, just that there was no alternative.  

The Web designers explicitly and knowingly supported GET and POST since
day one. They could have merely left out support for GET (in fact the
whole method attribute). But they wanted to give developers a choice.

The Web is a much richer place because developers typically make the
right choice of which to use. GET is for things that are idempotent and
the advantage is that you get back bookmarkable URLs. POST is for things
that modify their target and thus are not supposed to be bookmarkable.
This is a major feature of the Web that was explicitly designed in!

Here's the result of a form that I might want to forward to a friend of
mine (as a URL):

http://personals.yahoo.com/display/personals?ct_hft=table&cr=Los+Angeles&ce_p=Man&ce_g=Woman

How do I do that with a POSTed form?

> ... Does
> Google still use GET if the user is SHIFT-JIS
> encoded?

I don't know. I would hope future browsers would support something like
this:

http://www.w3.org/International/2001/draft-masinter-url-i18n-08.txt

Until that happens, the XForms group should push the problem (if one
remains) up to the W3C TAG and IETF. Millions of GET requests go across
the Web every day and there is no reason to believe that there will be
fewer of them in the future. You could also document the limitations in
the XForms spec as a compatibility note. Deprecating GET doesn't help to
get the problem fixed and the Web simply will not work without GET.

 Paul Prescod
Received on Friday, 18 January 2002 01:15:06 GMT

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