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Displaying the Number of Words Typed Into an HTML Form Field

By William Bontrager

While programming Master Reciprocal Links Pro (which should be ready for release soon), I needed to limit and display the number of words in a link request form field.

I did a quick search on the Internet to see how others might have done it and found only examples of how to limit and display the number of characters. I needed to do it with words.

So I made one without the time saving benefit of example.

This article and accompanying demonstration at URL show you how do to it, too. Copy and paste and specify your preferences.

The JavaScript can limit the number of words, the number of characters, or both.

And it can display the number already typed, the number still available, or both.

The JavaScript works with you to display only what you want to display. It has eight places where you can specify your preferences.

The demonstration form and JavaScript are commented for easy integration into your custom form.

Because this is JavaScript, it can be turned off and the limits bypassed. But then your form handling CGI program should catch the attempt.

There are several reasons I wanted to display the number of words and monitor the limit with JavaScript:

With JavaScript, the user can be constantly apprised about how many words/characters have been typed and how many are still allowed.

This is much better than saying, "Describe your site with 50 words or less" and then leaving it up to the user to do the counting.

Although Master Reciprocal Links Pro will catch attempts to bypass the site description word count limitations the webmaster has specified, it is easier and less frustrating for the user to receive JavaScript error messages than to submit the form and only then receive CGI program error messages.

That's because JavaScript can have a near immediate response. CGI requires submitting the form and the program sending an error page back which, depending on user connection speed and domain server speed, might be several long seconds.

I like JavaScript and I like to make things user-friendly.

When you need to limit the amount of text a user may type into a form and display the count for the user, is where to find a working example.

Will Bontrager

Copyright 2004 Bontrager Connection, LLC

About the Author:

William Bontrager Programmer/Publisher, "WillMaster Possibilities" ezine

Are you looking for top quality scripts? Visit Willmaster and check out his highly acclaimed Master Series scripts. Some free, some for a fee.