Null partial URLs with fragment IDs: spec vs behavior!

Pierre Desjardins (
Fri, 9 Jun 95 16:54:53 EDT


In putting together an application using forms functionality, I have recently
come accross viewer behavior which I did not expect and I would like to share
this with the group.

Our forms are often larger than the usual viewer window so it seemed a good
idea to exploit null partial URLs with fragment identifiers for implementing
local direct access to various parts of the form. In our case, filling-in the
form is not necessarily a sequential process i.e. some form elements might be
skipped over and filled in later by following one of the local links.

The behavior which we did not expect was that whenever we moved around in the
form using local links, the values that we had already deposited in some of
the form fields were systematically being cleared or overwritten by the form
defaults. Mosaic and Netscape behave this way (Mosaic more systematically than
Netscape which seems to be using some conditional logic to decide when to do

My assumption about the viewer's action is that when the user follows a local
link the viewer fetches the document (a text/html resource in this case) from
cache and redoes the layout -- that would explain why the entered field values
get cleared/overwritten! I always understood that <INPUT TYPE=RESET> was to be
used explicitly for that purpose i.e. resetting the form's fields. It seems
normal then to expect that simply moving around in the form-document should
not jeopardize the values that have been entered in the form fields.

What is your view on this!

-- Pierre Desjardins

Pierre Desjardins / Adaptive Information Systems
CITI / Centre for Information Technology Innovation
1575 boul. Chomedey /
Laval, Quebec / tel: +1 514 973 5820 fax: +1 514 973 5757
Canada H7V 2X2 / e-mail: