Experimental forms

The redesign of the forms on this site started as an attempt to help you provide consistent information the first time, by getting your computer to do the boring checking.

As anyone who's ever done programming for the Web will have guessed, it then descended into the nightmarish land of browser incompatibilities. That's why the content-checking routine includes an escape hatch - the click to ignore option at the bottom of the pop-up message.

Please help us (me) debug the forms by trying them out. If you manage to send the form at all, it will include full debugging information.

But I especially need to hear from you if you can't send anything! If so, please don't just grumble, but take a moment to send an email saying:

  • what "operating system" your computer runs - e.g. Windows ME / Win98 / Win95 / Mac OS 9 / Mac OS X / Linux...
  • what "browser program" you are using to look at these Web pages, and its version number - e.g. Netscape v4.x / Netscape v6.x / Mozilla v0.9.9.x / Internet Explorer version 4.x / Internet Explorer version 5.x / Opera v5.x / Opera v6.x / AOL v4.x / ...
  • what form you were trying to fill out
  • what error message you saw or what else happened

Known bugs 2006-02-27:

  • On Opera v6 the new pop-up windows are very short. They resize reasonably in Opera 5.12. If you or the other user can help...
  • Both Netscape v4.x and IE v4.x on the Mac seemed to report spurious contradictions in the input data. Ouch. So they probably won't do any checking at all now.
  • Feeping creatureitis [see Hacker's Dictionary] means that some curious things now happen on 640*480 monitors.
  • In January 2006 the interest calculator and collect-o-matic forms suddenly stopped working in the Safari browser on the Mac, which refuses to disclose more details. Minor pedantic corrections in February may have fixed this...

If anyone wants to donate a function isStateHoliday(date,ISO3166countryCode), that would be nice...

Note for fellow-geeks

Why did I do this the unusual way, with a script running on the user's machine not on the server? Firstly, because I already know client-side JavaScript and didn't want to deal with new conventions or administrivia on the server side. And I like different.

But then actual advantages became apparent. Particularly, users with dial-up connections can hang up the phone while they fill in the form. Secondly, it can be much more responsive in giving feedback: see the "pondering..." / "sending..." / "not sending" messages. This is how online forms should be, I think.

Send queries about licensing the scripts, etc to me!

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