Question about Forms

What do you call the thingies on an HTML Form where you enter data in some way shape or form?


Input Thingies?

What is the formal name for Text Boxes, List Boxes, Check Boxes, Radio Buttons, etc.


all of the above are valid

well i dont know that ‘thingies’ is a proper technical term.

I believe the phrase you are looking for is ‘form fields’.

Based on W3C, maybe Input Elements is the best term.


That’s the term I’ve always used.

or even form controls - I’m not sure there is a “one size fits all” answer

Strictly speaking, input elements would be things contained within/defined by <input> tags. TextAreas and Select Boxes would be excluded from this definition.

:scratch: I’m not so sure.

I would have thought that textareas and select lists are still effectively inputs from the user, albeit the user input from select lists is limited to the list’s options. But does it really matter? :rolleyes:

Maybe the easiest thing is to just collectively call them “form thingies” :lol:

Well if (as the original poster did) you’re going to use the W3C standard, they define an “input element” as the attributes of the <input> tag. So by said standard, ‘input elements’ would be a collection of <input> tags.

Well this is what W3C says…

HTML Forms - The Input Element

The most important form element is the input element.

The input element is used to select user information.

An input element can vary in many ways, depending on the type attribute. An input element can be of type text field, checkbox, password, radio button, submit button, and more.


the w3schools website is not run by the W3C and has nothing to do with it.

And in any case, those " w3c standards" are simply recommendations. They are not enforcable in any way.

Well the reason i said form fields, is because there is a container for elements in a form. It’s called the <fieldset> tag. As in… a set of fields. in a form. Form… fields.

and there is nothing wrong with “form fields” just like there is nothing wrong with “form controls”.

Off Topic:

The w3schools like with many of its markup examples/explanations or definitions are usually inaccurate or poorly defined. Using some of those form examples would also lead to invalid markup. And there is a difference between XHTML and HTML forms unlike what they say. :nono:

Form “controls”, is the correct generic term used for; buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, menus, text input, file select, hidden controls and object controls and so forth.

Though typically if you use them in a sentence you would say which particular one you were talking about, e.g. checkboxes. If you were talking about a line of code you may then also refer to whether it was associated with INPUT, TEXTAREA or SELECT element, etc.

When talking about screen readers, “form controls” includes legends and labels, which I’d think most developers wouldn’t consider the same as inputs.

Interestingly, Javascript considers “fieldset” to be a “form element” but not the legend or the labels.

I personally say “form controls” and if I really mean only the actual inputs I will call them “inputs” (to include all types of form inputs).

The only reason to know which term is the “best” is to know which one you want to use when searching for something on teh googles.

Imho the w3schools website, although not affiliated with the W3C, is a very good resource for anyone learning html, php and javascript.

Probably the writing style is good but it is riddled with inaccurate information.

I always thought it is pretty accurate.

Can you post some links to pages where the info is innacurate and state what the coorect info should be.

On that page; those are not samples of HTML markup.

Nitpicking: the forms should also contain a fieldset and legend or a block level element let alone labels. Labels are assigned for “form controls” that don’t have their own ‘text’, i.e. INPUT

Yes, minor issues but worthy of note.

I was asking because I was working on some Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) and I was looking for a good name to generically call those items.

For my need, it doesn’t matter whether the terms being thrown around are HTML vs XHTML vs whatever.