Configuring and Using FormMail

Configuring and Using FormMail

What is FormMail?

This script is one from Matt’s Script Archive which we have installed and preconfigured for your domain. FormMail is a generic www form to e-mail gateway, which will parse the results of any form and send them to the specified user. This script has many formatting and functional options, most of which can be specified through the form. This means you don’t need any programming knowledge, nor do you need multiple scripts for multiple forms. This also makes FormMail the perfect system wide solution for allowing users form-based user feedback capabilities without the risks of allowing freedom of CGI access.

Note: If you wish to use FormMail on a secure server please see the special instructions.

CLICK HERE for the script author’s formmail documentation.

How do I use it?

There is only one form field that you must have in your form, for FormMail to work correctly. This is the recipient field. IMPORTANT NOTE: The recipient field must specify an e-mail address from the domain that the form resides on (in other words, if your domain name is fred.com, the recipient value must specify a fred.com e-mail address — specifying an e-mail address from another domain will cause the form submission to fail.) Other hidden configuration fields can also be used to enhance the operation of FormMail on your site.

The action of your form needs to point towards this script, and the method must be POST in capital letters. Here’s an example of the form fields to put in your form:

<FORM METHOD=POST ACTION=”http://yourdomain.com/cgi-bin/formmail.cgi”>
<input type=hidden name=”recipient” value=”whoever@yourdomain.com”>
<input type=hidden name=”subject” value=”Order”>
<input type=hidden name=”return_link_url” value=”http://yourdomain.com/”>
<input type=hidden name=”return_link_title” value=”Back to Main Page”>

The following are descriptions and the proper syntax for many of the fields you can use with FormMail.

Recipient Field

This form field allows you to specify to whom your form results will be mailed. Most likely you will want to configure this option as a hidden form field with a value equal to that of your email address.

Syntax:

<input type=hidden name=”recipient” value=”email@yourdomain.com”>

Subject Field

The subject field will allow you to specify the subject that you wish to appear in the email that is sent to you after the form has been filled out. If you do not have this option turned on, then the script will default to a message subject: “WWW Form Submission”.

Syntax:

If you wish to choose what the subject is:

<input type=hidden name=”subject” value=”Your Subject”>

To allow the user to choose a subject:

<input type=text name=”subject”>

Email Field

This form field will allow the user to specify their return email address. If you want to be able to return e-mail to your user, it is strongly suggested that you include this form. This will be put into the From: field of the message you receive. If you want to require an email address with valid syntax, add this field name to the ‘required’ field.

Syntax:

<input type=text name=”email”>

Realname Field

The realname form field will allow the user to input their real name. This field is useful for identification purposes and will also be put into the From: line of your message header.

Syntax:

<input type=text name=”realname”>

Redirect Field

If you wish to redirect the user to a different URL, rather than having them see the default response to the fill-out form, you can use this hidden variable to send them to a pre-made HTML page.

Syntax:

To choose the URL they will end up at:

<input type=hidden name=”redirect” value=”http://yourdomain.com/to/file.html”>To allow them to specify a URL they wish to travel to once the form is filled out:

<input type=text name=”redirect”>

Required Field

You can require certain fields in your form to be filled in before the user can successfully submit the form. Simply place all field names that you want to be mandatory into this field, separated by commas. If the required fields are not filled in, the user will be notified of what they need to fill in, and a link back to the form they just submitted will be provided.

To use a customized error page, see ‘missing_fields_redirect’

Syntax:

If you want to require that they fill in the email and phone fields in your form, so that you can reach them once you have received the mail, use the syntax like:

<input type=hidden name=”required” value=”email,phone”>

Env_report Field

Allows you to have Environment variables included in the email message you receive after a user has filled out your form. Useful if you wish to know what browser they were using, what domain they were coming from or any other attributes associated with environment variables. The following is a short list of valid environment variables that might be useful:

REMOTE_HOST– Sends the hostname making the request.
REMOTE_ADDR – Sends the IP address of the remote host.
HTTP_USER_AGENT – The browser the client is using.

(Note: In our case, both REMOTE_HOST and REMOTE_ADDR are the same, since our servers don’t do the reverse DNS lookup needed to generate the true REMOTE_HOST string).

Syntax:

If you wanted to find all the above variables, you would put the following into your form:

<input type=hidden name=”env_report” value=”REMOTE_HOST,REMOTE_ADDR,HTTP_USER_AGENT”>

Sort Field

This field allows you to choose the order you would like your variables to appear in the email form that FormMail generates. You can choose to have the field sorted alphabetically or specify a set order in which you want the fields to appear in your email message. By leaving this field out, the order will simply default to the order in which the browsers send the information to the script (which is usually the exact same order as they appeared in the form). When sorting by a set order of fields, you should include the phrase “order:” as the first part of your value for the sort field, and then follow that with the field names you want to be listed in the email message separated by commas.

Syntax:

To sort alphabetically:

<input type=hidden name=”sort” value=”alphabetic”>To sort by a set field order:

<input type=hidden name=”sort” value=”order:name1,name2,etc…”>

Print_config Field

print_config allows you to specify which of the config variables you would like to have printed in your e-mail message. By default, no config fields are printed to your email. This is because the important form fields, like email, subject, etc. are included in the header of the message. However some users have asked for this option so they can have these fields printed in the body of the message. The config fields that you wish to have printed should be in the value attribute of your input tag separated by commas.

Syntax:

If you want to print the email and subject fields in the body of your message, you would place the following form tag:

<input type=hidden name=”print config” value=”email, subject”>

Print_blank_fields Field

print_blank_fields allows you to request that all form fields are printed in the return HTML, regardless of whether or not they were filled in. FormMail defaults to turning this off, so that unused form fields aren’t emailed.

Syntax:

<input type=hidden name=”print_blank_fields” value=”1″>

Title Field

This form field allows you to specify the title and header that will appear on the resulting page if you do not specify a redirect URL.

Syntax:

If you wanted a title of ‘Feedback Form Results’:

<input type=hidden name=”title” value=”Feedback Form Results”>

Return_link_url Field

This field allows you to specify a URL that will appear, as return_link_title, on the following report page. This field will not be used if you have the redirect field set, but it is useful if you allow the user to receive the report on the following page, but want to offer them a way to get back to your main page.

Syntax:

<input type=hidden name=”return_link_url” value=”http:// yourdomain.com/index.htm”>

Return_link_title

This is the title that will be used to link the user back to the page you specify with return_link_url. The two fields will be shown on the resulting form page as: Back to Main Page

Syntax:

<input type=hidden name=”return_link_title” value=”Back to Main Page”>

Special Notes about Using FormMail.cgi with the secure server

If you are using formmail.cgi through the secure server, you can still place your form anywhere on your webspace you want to, but you MUST use the following URL as the ACTION of your form: https://machinename.safe-order.net/cgi-bin/formmail.cgi

Here’s an example of how the first parts of your form might look:

<FORM METHOD=POST ACTION=”https://machinename.safe-order.net/cgi-bin/formmail.cgi”>
<input type=hidden name=”recipient” value=”whoever@yourdomain.com”>
<input type=hidden name=”subject” value=”Order”>
<input type=hidden name=”return_link_url” value=”http://yourdomain.com/”>
<input type=hidden name=”return_link_title” value=”Back to Main Page”>

It is still important that you call your order page through a secure URL in order for it to work properly. You must use: https://machinename.safe-order.net/yourdomain/order.htm. If you call formmail.cgi through the secure server, you must also call the order form through the secure server. Otherwise, a “bad referrer” message will result.