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many FORM elements, web application

Posted on 2001-08-21
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Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I have a web application that will require lots of form elements (input boxes, drop-down lists, textareas, etc).  It will be programmed on a J2EE platform with JSP, servlets, EJB.

However, I am reticent to use a straight DHTML front-end because the form elements will be rendered differently on each browser/platform.  An input box with width=20 could be 50 pixels on one brower/platform, 25 on the next, and 55 on another.  This makes designing pages with lots of form elements problematic, unless each element is placed on a separate line (which would take up too much space and not look very nice).

I know that Flash 5 allows for exact size, color, etc. for form elements.  In sample pages these perform very well and can even scale to the browser window size.  However, using LoadVariablesNum and other methods for database connectivity within Flash 5 is not the best.  I'm not sure how well a large-scale application could be developed with a Flash front-end.

Has anyone had experience with this issue?  What are my other options?  I have seen, for instance, a web  application from WindowOnWallStreet that was developed with ActiveX, I believe.  Java applets also use the browser/platform form elements too, unless Java provides other options that I am not aware of.

Any examples of well-programmed/designed web applications with lots of form elements would be appreciated!  Thanks for your assistance!!

(listed in programming software & languages and web development)
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Question by:brettstil
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cheekycj earned 100 total points
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You can design your form to be built dynamically using Java.

A lot of the repetitive display can be resolved with using Arrays or Collections.

You can create a Hashmap or Hashtable or an ArrayList of Objects that will populate your form information too.

CJ
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by:webwoman
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A Flash front end is much harder on the users -- if they don't have the appropriate plug-in they can't use your page, if they have any type of visual impairment they can't use the page, and it won't comply with any of the US Gov't accesibilty requirements (if that's important to you).

The most important thing about the form is that it's usable -- it's not a print document, and there's no requirement that elements display EXACTLY the same in all browsers/platforms.

If you're worried about it resizing -- put the form elements in a table and set it for absolute pixel sizes. That won't do anything about the browser differences in how the elements display, but the general layout will stay the same.
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by:bruno
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use classes on the form elements, and then use a different style sheet depending on the browser and/or platform.

ex:  in your IE stylesheet your class "formElement" might have width: 50px;

but in your NS stylesheet it might be width: 40px;

in your Mac stylesheet width: 45px;


kind of a pain to maintain all the seperate .css files, but can be a big help with layout.
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